Day 11, Bonn climate change conference
UN climate change negotiations came to a close on Sunday. The final judgement by many of our partners was cautiously welcome the slow drumbeat building toward the international agreement due to be signed in Paris at the end of next year.
One of the key deliverables was that countries would agree a process for moving from their substance-based conversations – around cutting emissions, adaptation, climate finance, and other issues – to actual an actual draft negotiating text for the planned the 2015 climate agreement. WWF’s Tasneem Essop described the meeting as a constructive session, “We leave Bonn with a bit more clarity about what parties are expected to do in terms of work toward a draft text in Lima. So the structure and some of the positions that parties have already submitted will be captured by the chairs.”
Governments agreed to add 6 days of climate talks to their negotiating calendar in October, giving them more time to make progress before the Conference of Parties in Lima this December. According to Essop, “Now the hard work needs to happen. We’ll need to be sure that parties come here by October ready to negotiate and be in a position to have a draft text by Lima.”
The world’s three largest greenhouse gas emitters, China, the US and European Union, have all signaled that they will make concrete proposals on their national contributions to the 2015 climate treaty in the first half of next year. While that’s another step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough.
Union of Concerned Scientists’ Alden Meyer described more of the ‘hard work’ ahead: “We haven’t heard from some of the other big players about timing, so that’s a bit of a concern. We have to get more of them to say they will put their proposal forward.” Also of note, “We didn’t get an assessment phase. What happens when countries have put their proposals forward? How are they evaluated both collectively, against the 2º temperature goal, and individually in terms of equity and fairness… so that still remains to be worked out in Lima, and I think it’s going to be a very tough fight.”
The 2015 deal itself is primarily focused on the post-2020 world; but in order for it to succeed, governments need to increase climate action and accelerate emissions reductions before 2020. The Bonn meeting offered hope on that front as well. A series of meetings on opportunities to reduce emissions in cities, through land use change, and through renewable energy and energy efficiency spurred questions and ideas on how their impacts can be scaled by leveraging the UNFCCCs various current mechanisms.
In a press conference on Sunday, Essop said: “We have to see the constructive spirit of these discussions translate into real political momentum. We have to keep our focus on the pre-2020 period, and close the growing gap between the actions countries have committed to and what the science tells us we need. We have to build on the momentum we saw here in Bonn if we are to have a successful outcome in Lima.”
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In terms of building on positive momentum, the upcoming Climate Leaders Summit in New York this September is the opportunity. The Summit will be the first time a large group of Heads of State meet to specifically to talk and take action on climate change since 2009, and carries with it the potential to drive climate issues back to the top of the political agenda. A number of our partners have laid plans for a massive public mobilization in New York prior to the Summit. And partners in Bonn met to organize parallel actions and events in capitals around the world.
If you’re planning to be anywhere near New York in late September, join us. If you’re interested in organizing or participating in parallel actions elsewhere, we can connect you to others doing the same.
In the news
Both Duetsche Welle and AFP, whose story was picked up by major newspapers around the world, focused on the need for significant climate finance pledges to come out of the Climate Leaders Summit in September in order to unlock further progress.
In addition to videos of Tasneem Essop and Alden Meyer’s big picture analysis. Meyer gave us a taste of what to look for in the US in the coming months. Our Negotiator Trackers also caught up with Enrique Muartua Konstantinidis from Fundacion Biosfera, who described what Bonn and the months leading up to the COP in Lima mean for Latin America.
You can also watch CAN’s closing press conference on the UNFCCC website.