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Qatar Climate-Change Negotiations May Spur Gulf Effort, NGO Says

Climate-change talks due to be held in Qatar, the first of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to host the annual event, may spur Middle East nations to boost environmental efforts, the Climate Action Network said.

“The Doha meeting is a huge opportunity for the region, and I’m optimistic that Qatar will take steps in the right direction,” said Wael Hmaidan, head of the umbrella group for campaigners including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

Qatar, the largest emitter of carbon dioxide per head, may set targets to cut emissions and pay into a fund for emission-reduction programs and defenses against the effects of climate change “to show leadership,” Hmaidan said today in Bonn. The Middle Eastern country is “very eager” to make the two weeks of ministerial meetings from Nov. 26 a success, he said.

Non-governmental organizations and campaigners “are going to be there and they’ll be vocal,” said Hmaidan. “Qatar needs to realize that this is OK and find a way to let it happen.”

Developed nations pledged $100 billion of annual climate aid by 2020 to be paid in part through a so-called Green Climate Fund set up at the last round of talks in Durban, South Africa. Delegates this year are working to get it up and running. Qatar is the biggest producer of liquefied natural gas, while oil and gas made up 58 percent of its economic output in 2011.

Saudi-Arabia, chairing one of the negotiation tracks, may replace its lead climate negotiator with a “more progressive” candidate, Hmaidan said at the start of UN talks in Germany.

The Arabian country, the largest crude oil exporter, is seeking investors for a $109 billion plan to create a solar industry able to generate a third of its electricity by 2032.

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