Day 5, Bonn climate change conference
Sunday is the new Friday in Bonn, with the week one of negotiations officially wrapped until the start of week two on Tuesday. In talks on the 2015 agreement, governments began pushing through issues related to mitigation and finance. Unfortunately, ‘began’ was the operative word. Like Saturday’s intended focus on adaptation, the substance of today’s negotiations were again delayed by procedural battles that soaked up the opening statements. This became a bit of a theme of the day, leaving many participants deeply concerned about the pace.
Among those procedural battles were the matters of when and how negotiators would start working on an actual draft negotiating text. The facilitator of the meeting announced late in the day that there would be no negotiating text while in Bonn, which annoyed a number of countries who have already shared ideas on elements of that text and are eager to get started.
There are also a number of countries who are wary of jumping into the deep end too early. Getting the 2015 deal right is an arduous exercise; synthesizing hundreds of pages of ideas into something that 195 countries can all agree to. At this stage, we’re definitely still wading in the shallow end, compiling ideas and collecting consensus. A lot of countries have begun to use the phrase “landing zone” this week, and it seems we’re still floating mid-air.
On other fronts, the UNFCCC hosted a dialogue on raising public awareness on climate change and mobilizing climate action, while Venezuela gave an update on their upcoming Social pre-COP meeting – which sounds very exclusive. Negotiations on a planned review of the overall progress made toward achieving the UN climate convention’s long-term global goals also continued today. As did focused meetings on the UNFCCC’s ongoing work in its subsidiary bodies.
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A big part of this week’s discussions focused on ‘nationally determined contributions’, which are the actions that governments will commit to as part of the substance in the 2015 deal. Amidst talk of watering down what those commitments should entail, youth activists took a stand with a creative action ensuring their views were part of the debate.
Playing on Game of Thrones, the young campaigners held banners showing the criteria countries must pass through to reach the “Climate Throne”: a global climate deal in Paris 2015. Negotiators from the Philippines, Fiji and Peru were crowned.
The Climate Justice Programme presented their discussion paper linking the companies responsible for the lions share of emissions to the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage; arguing that they should be the ones to provide funding to the most vulnerable communities suffering the worst impacts of climate change.
In the news
Flooding has hit Afghanistan, sadly killing at least 58 people. This comes in the wake of flooding in China that has forced the evacuation of 500,000 people. Lets hope this doesn’t go unnoticed in the talks on Loss and Damage.
The Guardian has reported on a study by researchers Jonathan Loh and David Harmon that draws a link between the steep declines in the world’s languages and its biodiversity; a process only compounded by the effects of climate change.
Thomas Friedman looks into Obama’s recent climate action, arguing that they leave no room for other developed nations to hide. Lets hope the likes of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan get the memo.