International delegates arrived Monday in Doha for a two-week climate conference. Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, elected president of the conference, said in his opening address that world leaders had a historic opportunity to address climate concerns.
"It is a turning point in the negotiations on climate change," he was quoted by the BBC as saying.
Parts of the existing Kyoto Protocol are to expire this year. World leaders have expressed concern about the effects that climate change are having on the economy and infrastructure. Hurricane Sandy, a late October storm that battered the U.S. East Coast, was said to have developed over Atlantic waters that were warmer than normal.
Jennifer Morgan, a researcher at the World Resources Institute, told the BBC the Qatari government needs to set an example at the conference.
"I think the best way they could show their intent would be to announce what action or pledge they are going to put forward as part of this entire negotiation," she said. "They don't currently have anything on the books."