This year's United Nation's Climate Change Conference is now underway at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha. Not much is expected from what many see as a continued hesitation by governments to tackle climate change. Nonetheless, the meeting will call for nations to discuss new environmental approaches and international policies.
The terms for an extension of the Kyoto Protocol will be at the top of the agenda in Doha. Adopted in 1997, the protocol is an agreement under which 37 industrialized countries and the European community will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases. It's the only legally binding environmental treaty that exists. The first phase of the protocol is set to expire at the end of 2012.
Many scientists and politicians believe environmentally friendly technologies will be key to offsetting the growth of global emissions. Scaling up investment in this area could help developing countries fund clean technology projects. The process of separating carbon dioxide during the burning of brown coal is just one example of how technology is being used to help the environment.
Climate change has damaged the health of wildlife in the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR), along the eastern coast of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Scientists are now researching how to make coral more resilient in this new, more challenging, ecosystem.
Workers in Niger build structures designed to preserve rain water. This will encourage vegetation to grow back stronger and healthier. Agriculture is a main economic activity in Africa and 'green' funding to support such projects is scarce. 'Fast-start finance' is an initiative which helps developed countries assist other nations in meeting their environmental investment needs.
Satellite images of Hurricane Sandy show its approach to the Caribbean and the United States. Using satellites is one way of monitoring global climate change and effects of global warming. The urge to engage research and observation tools has long been a part of the agenda, but a focus that is still at the top of the list.
The primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions come from man-made technology, such as coal fired power plants. The world's most developed countries - China, the US, EU nations, Russia, Canada and India - are responsible for roughly 70 percent of emissions. What sort of overhaul will industrialized countries require to get their emission levels down?
The EU is a driving force in international negotiations on climate change. It had an instrumental role in structuring the climate change conference and the Kyoto Protocol. One of its goals is to "mainstream" climate into policy. The European Commission has proposed that at least 20% of the EU's budget for 2014-2020 should be spent on climate-relevant measures.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is a coalition of low-lying and island countries that are most vulnerable to rising sea levels and share common views on climate change. They are also some of the most structurally weak and financially needy nations in the center of the climate change debate.
A lot is expected from the US and re-elected President Barack Obama at this year's conference. Many accuse the US of taking a back seat on the Kyoto Protocol. Out of the thirty-seven parties that have signed the protocol, the US is the only signatory to not ratify the treaty into domestic law. The nation is the world's largest total emitter of greenhouse gases.
One goal in Doha is to re-look at how nations adapt to their environmental challenges. Adjustments may include building flood defenses, developing early warning systems for cyclones and exploring crops that do better under dry conditions. Here, a worker opens an irrigation tap in the Ivory Coast, hoping to improve the production of crops.
Polar bears have been an iconic symbol of a melting Arctic. The concern about the climate's effects on this animal is habitat loss and changes to habitat. The Arctic has experienced warm periods before, but the current, rapid shrinking of ice is unprecedented. Both poles of the earth will come in for special attention at the talks in Qatar.
Negotiators from 194 countries have gathered in Qatar for the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The convention is calling for governments around the world to address climate change.