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Hot on the heels of the People’s Climate March and the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit, government negotiators are back in session in Bonn today to continue their vital work on a new global climate agreement. In a record-breaking mobilisation for climate action, last month, almost 700,000 people took to the streets in New York and across the world to call on governments to put climate change back to the top of the political agenda. This was quickly followed by the UN Climate Summit, where one head of government after another confirmed the need to end the fossil fuel era and recommitted to crafting a global climate agreement in Paris next year.
After the highs of last month, it is time for negotiators to get back down to business. Countries now have just 13 months before they are expected to agree a new global agreement on climate change – with all countries, big and small, rich and poor, expected to sign onto the deal. Success in Paris will mean sticking to a tight timeline over the next year, as countries have committed to put their pledges for action – or their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – on the table in the first quarter of 2015, leaving plenty of time for commitments to be reviewed ahead of December conference.
To get to this point, negotiators have much to set up for approval at this year’s major summit, COP20 in Lima, in December, where they need to put forward a draft text of the new agreement. The Bonn conference will need to deliver clarity on what countries should include in any pledges they put forward – including potential targets on mitigation, adaptation and finance – the timeframe of any commitments and how such pledges should be reviewed ahead of sign-off in Paris. Work will also continue to reach a common understanding on the nature of the new agreement – with countries having put forward their submissions in recent weeks – and how its individual components will operate.
The climate negotiations do not happen in a bubble. Next week’s session comes just a week before the synthesis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is released, which will confirm – with more certainty than ever before – that climate change is happening now, caused by us, and requires urgent action. Meanwhile, in recent months, the US and China – the world’s two largest emitters – have positively signalled they are ready to ramp up their climate ambition, and next week, EU heads of state will also meet to be the first bloc of countries to put their future climate targets on the table. Governments are not the only ones increasing their climate action; last month, health officials, faith groups, business groups, investors and philanthropies all pledged their support for the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels to a future based on renewables.
With crunch time upon us and the Paris deadline fast approaching, Bonn will be the first test of whether this building momentum and climate reality outside will be reflected inside the negotiating halls. The most recent UNFCCC session in June saw a new sense of cooperation emerging amongst countries on key issues, but this session is the time to transform this new tone into an agreement on the key planks of the global deal to be finalised next year.
We will be on the ground in Bonn over the next week, providing you with all the latest from the conference in regular Daily TCK emails. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
If you want to connect with the team in Bonn or if you have anything to be considered for our Daily TCKround-ups please get in touch at email@example.com
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In the news
RTCC reports that Sweden has called on the European Union to adopt a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 50% by 2030s, 10% higher than current proposals.
They also have a good overview of where different countries stand on what the 2030 agreement should look like.
And Reuters focuses on the US position following a talk given by US climate envoy Todd Stern this week.
The Congo’s climate envoy Tosi Mpanu Mpanu has said countries should expect a stronger Africa at the UN climate negotiations in Peru next month.
Climate Action Network has pulled together a communications pack for the upcoming meeting in Bonn.