As 17,000 delegates, 7,000 representatives of NGOs and around 1,500 journalists gather in Doha, the capital of Qatar, for the eighteenth UN climate summit, this special edition of the Al Jazeera English digital magazine asks just what is at stake.
The timing of the talks could not be more critical. The Kyoto Protocol's emission reduction commitments expire on December 31 - and if it is not renewed by the end of this year many fear that the greatest attempt to date to curtail the adverse effects of climate change may result in failure.
Some of those in attendance will be working to stall a new agreement, while others will be pushing for the establishment of tougher environmental targets. But who wants what and who is likely to win out? And how will what is - or is not - decided at the summit determine the future of Planet Earth and impact those, from New York to the North Pole, who are feeling the impact of climate change?
Some of the topics covered within this issue include:
- The Battle for the Arctic - could a new resource rush be underway and what will it mean for the residents of this region?
- Twenty Years of Climate Conferences - from Rio to Doha, via Copenhagen and Cancun, the delegates have gathered to debate, but what has all the talking meant for greenhouse gas emissions?
- The Politics of Climate Change - who stands where and what do they want?
- Searching for an Arab 'Climate Spring' - could COP18 tap into the spirit of the Arab Spring and place the region at the forefront of the environmental movement or will the weakness of civil society across the region be its downfall?
- Shifting Oceans - oceans are sucking up increased carbon dioxide emissions, but could the resulting acidification lead to marine life extinctions?
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Magazines for Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera Documentary were launched earlier this year.