* Extreme weather shows need for urgent action, officials
* Negotiators struggling to agree on extending Kyoto
DOHA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Extreme weather from melting Arctic
ice to Superstorm Sandy shows snail-paced U.N. climate talks
have to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the head of the
U.N. weather agency and its climate chief said on Wednesday.
"Climate change is taking place before our eyes," Michel
Jarraud, the head of the U.N.'s weather agency, said of the
shrinking of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean to a record low in
September and other extremes.
And the first 10 months of 2012 were the ninth-warmest since
records began in the mid-19th century, with early months cooled
by a "La Nina" weather event in the Pacific, according to a
report by Jarraud's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
It also documented severe floods, droughts and heatwaves, in
what the U.N. expected to add to pressure for action at the Nov.
26-Dec. 7 meeting among 200 nations in OPEC member Qatar.
"The message here for this conference is very clear,"
Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat
told Reuters of extremes and rising emissions. "Governments need
to hurry up and they need to be much more on track."
Superstorm Sandy, which struck the U.S. east coast after
raging through the Caribbean, showed the United States "is not
exempt from the vulnerabilities of climate change and that it
also needs to do something," she said.
"We have had severe climate and weather events all over the
world and everyone is beginning to understand that is exactly
the future we are going to be looking about if they don't do
something about it," she said.
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. panel of climate
scientists, said the costs of defences against higher sea levels
would rise towards 2100 and could amount to five to 10 percent
of gross domestic product of low-lying nations.
And between 75 and 250 million people in Africa alone could
face greater stress on water supplies by 2020, hitting food
output. "This would further adversely affect food security and
exacerbate malnutrition," he said in a speech to the conference.
He said polls showed U.S. public opinion had swung towards
wanting more action by President Barack Obama to slow global
warming after Sandy. "But whether that's a lasting change it's
too early to say," he told Reuters.
China, the United States, the European Union and India are
the top emitters. None have announced plans to limit emissions
at Doha despite wide pleas for action.
The U.N. meeting is struggling to overcome disputes about
how to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the existing plan for cutting
emissions by developed nations that will otherwise expire at the
end of the year.
The European Union, Australia and a few other countries are
willing to extend but Japan, Russia and Canada have pulled out,
arguing that it is meaningless unless emerging nations led by
China and India also sign up.
The United States never ratified the 1997 Kyoto pact.
Without an extension of Kyoto, developing nations say they won't
work for a global deal applicable to all and meant to be agreed
by 2015 and enter into force by 2020.
Also, coal-dependent Poland won backing as the host for next
year's U.N. climate talks after OPEC member Qatar, a double act
that dismayed environmentalists who say both oppose action to
drop fossil fuels and embrace greener energies.
"The prospect of Poland hosting the next global climate
conference is hugely concerning. At a time when action is
desperately needed, a host country should be firmly committed to
climate protection," Greenpeace's Jiri Jerabek said.