Day One at UN climate summit sees record temps, uncertainty on Kyoto

Day One of the Conference of the Parties 17 (COP 17) – the annual UN global conference on climate change – saw a report from the World Meterological Organization, the UN’s weather agency, stating 2011’s temperatures ranked as the 10th highest on record.

2011 also saw the Arctic Sea ice volume at its lowest on record. The report provided provisional figures and final updates and figures will be reported in March 2012. For more on the report’s findings, read the WMO’s full press release.

Other news from the first day of the conference, which runs through Dec. 9, included the announcement of Qatar as the host of COP 18, to be held next year. The Republic of Korea will host the pre-COP.

Much discussion before the conference -- and likely throughout -- has focused on greenhouse gas limitations and the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The protocol set binding emission targets for 37 industrialized countries.

One of the major goals set by COP 17 is to formulate a plan to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and establish parameters to evaluate progress toward that goal.

Mark Lynas, of the London-based Guardian opines “a new legally binding, ambitious treaty” is needed in order for Durban to be deemed a success.

The idea of a new global-emission agreement comes as the Kyoto Protocol is ready to expire in 2012. A story at NPR looks at Kyoto’s uncertain future, as speculation grows that Canada plans to withdraw from the 1997 agreement.

Continue checking Eco Catholic for more updates.