Doha: The Unlikeliest Climate Change Conference City in the World?

Doha: The Unlikeliest Climate Change Conference City in the World?


Doha: Small country, huge bathrooms

Qatar has one of the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, which is why some eyebrows were raised when the U.N. COP 18 climate conference was slated to take place in Doha, Qatar. Now that I’m here, some interesting conundrums are posed by having the summit in an oil-rich, fast-growing, small desert state, when sea levels are rising and “green growth” is becoming more than a buzz-word. The food at the conference center is surprisingly climate-friendly.

Even though the conference didn’t formally declare a “meat-free Monday,” there were lots of vegetarian options and they seemed to be popular. I heard this morning an Al Jazeera correspondent say that the sight of recycling bins in the conference center was rather exotic. He said he and other Qatari residents had never seen such a thing here before. The conference is also trying to go “paper smart” if not exactly paperless: documents will be printed on demand by a team of friendly young people. Perhaps needless to say: the conference center itself is new and huge and gleaming, with the fanciest bathrooms I’ve ever seen at a climate summit—or any conference.

Brighter Green’s delegation comes from the U.S. and China, and will be hosting and participating in a number of events. Among them: a panel on climate change, sustainable agriculture, and the livestock sector on November 29th with partners at HSI and WSPA. We’ve also collaborated on a set of recommendations to negotiators on animal welfare, food security, and, of course climate change.