As the world’s biggest emitter per capita of greenhouse gases, Qatar faces a test of credibility but also an opportunity when it hosts the UN forum on climate change in December, say veteran watchers of the process.
Qatar’s population of less than two million pumps out some 53.5 tonnes per person of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year, according to United Nations statistics.
This is 20 tonnes more than the closest runner-up (the United Arab Emirates), three times more than the United States, 10 times more than China — and a massive 36 times more than the average Indian.
So eyebrows were raised five months ago when the CO2-spewing emirate was chosen to host the next meeting of ministers under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Qatar faces numerous political and logistical hurdles in this latest bid to boost its profile, said delegates attending intermediate climate talks this week in Bonn.
But they also saw a chance for Qatar to hammer home the problems of climate change in a region where the issue is dormant or dismissed.