COP18, or the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference, has opened in Doha. For two weeks, over 17,000 people will meet at the Qatar National Convention Center and negotiate for a new global deal on climate change. As usual, tensions will be high between richer and poorer countries, with the NGO Oxfam complaining that promises for a “green climate fund” targeted to help developing countries adapt to climate volatility have been unfulfilled. Meanwhile a central issue over “hot air” carbon permits is adding to further tension between developed and developing countries.

And of course, global criticism have shined like a laser on Qatar, which has one of the highest per capita carbon footprints on Earth. Never mind the fact that Qatar and its neighboring countries are only extracting energy for which the world is thirsty, but the pressure is on this tiny Gulf country to do more.

But whether this two week event--which seems absurdly long--will result with some concrete proposals on climate change is out of Qatar’s hands. The Copenhagen talks of 2009 launched with high expectations and ended up as a disappointment. What is more important about having these climate talks in the Middle East for the first time is that these countries will not start to feel included and engaged. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and their neighbors are in a unique position to make a difference on climate change, clean energy and international development--because let’s face it, they have the cash. So let’s work with these countries by offering them rhetorical carrots--beating them with the proverbial sticks of obvious data will get society no where.

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Photo of Katara Cultural Center in Doha courtesy Leon Kaye.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.