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Daily Tck: UN climate negotiations enter their final week in Bonn

The Daily Tck: A daily dispatch from the GCCA team at the UN climate talks in Bonn. Sign up to have them delivered to your inbox during the climate talks.

UN climate negotiations

Creative Commons: UNFCCC, 2015

  • G7 leaders send clear signal that world is moving away from fossil fuels and towards a future powered by renewable energy
  • Co-chairs managing negotiations on Paris deal to put forward their own draft text later this week
  • New report measures the co-benefits of Canada and Japan increasing their climate action plans
  • Connections between human rights and climate change move into the spotlight 

It’s week two of the UN climate talks in Bonn. Negotiators kicked off with a meeting to take stock of progress and lay out a course for the few remaining days of talks, universally agreeing on the need to quicken their pace and calling for help from the meeting’s co-chairs to draft a new, consolidated, working version of the Paris agreement. According to The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Alden Meyer, “There was an unprecedented, united call by countries — the likes of which I have not seen in my 26 years of following this process — for the co-chairs who are managing these negotiations to put forward their own draft text later this week.” We expect a new text as early as Wednesday, and it could be significantly smaller than the current 86-page working draft.

While the negotiations’ co-chairs work on the new text, governments have begun a third read of the draft, focused on shrinking it further and digging into the political issues. They also agreed to increase focus on pre-2020 climate action – with the potential to deliver a draft decision on what governments will agree in Paris to bolster near-term action. “This is good news for this process,”according to Meyer, “Obviously this does not mean that there were tremendous compromises and breakthroughs on the key political issues… There’s still hard work to do, but I’m more confident than I was yesterday that we will come out of this week with a product from the co-chairs that can help parties actually start to engage in those political negotiations.”

Later on Monday, G7 leaders released the outcome of their weekend meeting in Southern Germany – sending a clear signal that the world is moving away from fossil fuels and towards a future powered by renewable energy. Here’s an excerpt from our Tree Alert:

Green groups, investors and businesses alike heralded the announcement as a positive attempt by these leaders to “shift the pattern of climate politics” ahead of important UN climate talks in Paris this December. Green NGOs praised the commitment as “another signal that the end of the fossil fuel era is inevitable”, while businesses say the communique represents the “signal urgently needed to catalyze climate action.” The G7 leaders called for a global decarbonisation during the course of the century, committed to an international greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 40 to 70 per cent by 2050, and pledged to decarbonise their own energy sectors by the middle of the century. The announcement shows that the world’s largest economies do not see a future for fossil fuels, and puts in question any new investments in dirty energy like coal power that might end up as stranded assets sooner rather than later. As for the impacts of climate change that can’t be avoided, governments agreed to protect and insure the poorest and most vulnerable people. They also pledged to accelerate renewable energy access in Africa, and recommitted to the $100 billion a year in climate finance needed by 2020 to support developing nations in their domestic efforts to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.

Today’s move by the G7 raises the bar and puts pressure on them to deliver, by turning these broad brushstrokes into real action and aligning their near-term decisions with their long-term goals. NGOs have warned that “setting the targets without scaling up their own national commitments will not cut it”, and urged leaders to “step up to the plate” ahead of Paris and to “get out of fossil fuels as soon as possible and shift to renewable energy and energy efficiency”. If these leaders follow through, they can speed up the ongoing transition from dirty fossils to clean renewables, which citizens, scientists, businesses, and investors around the world are demanding and driving. All eyes will now be on the G7 governments to live up to [this] commitment, and to help lead the ongoing UN climate negotiations in Bonn to a successful outcome that builds the foundation for a strong global climate agreement in Paris in December.

CHECK OUT THE FULL ALERT

News, links & useful grist that caught our eye

New analysis released at the G7 summit confirms that major economies stand to gain massive benefits as the result of their latest climate action pledges, with laggards Japan and Canada bucking the trend due to their weak plans. The NewClimate Institute report shows that a Japanese plan in line with a pathway to 100% renewable energy by 2050 would give the country a healthy workforce thanks to cleaner air, new jobs in a booming renewables sector, and huge savings resulting from avoided fossil fuel imports – three things that Japan desperately needs in its current economic malaise.

If the weak Canadian offer had been in line with a 100% renewables pathway by mid-century, it could have secured an enormous 600% increase in lives saved, and 60% more jobs in the renewables sector by 2030, compared to what is likely to happen under the proposed plan. We’ve pulled together a resource pack that has strategic thinking behind the analysis, a bit on methodology, sample tweets and Facebook posts – covering Japan, Canada, US, EU and China.

Speaking of China, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions could peak more than five years earlier than expected. According to a new paper authored by Fergus Green and Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, China’s emissions will likely begin to decline by 2025.

In the Philippines local and global NGOs stood side by side over the weekend to petition the UN Commission on Human Rights, calling on them to investigate major carbon polluters for human rights violations, that have or will result from the impact of climate change.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Professor John Knox, joined other human rights leaders to discuss how the issues should be embedded in the Paris agreement. Knox recently published a report, working with the Climate Vulnerable Group of Countries, that highlights the implications of the current 2 °C temperature target versus more ambitious objectives for human rights.

International youth hammered the point home with an action in the conference center reminding passing negotiators that human rights should be the building blocks for a Paris deal, as did new polling data from the International Trade Union Confederation, which shows that nine out of ten people globally want their elected leaders to do more to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Resources

The Daily Climate Matters live video show launched a new website. Check out their latest show on the Arctic Methane Emergency.

Look out for focused blogs on issues and developments in the negotiations by our Climate Trackers in Bonn here.

Find the Climate Action Network International’s Saturday edition of the ECO Newsletter here.

IISD’s reporting service has high-resolution pictures from Monday inside the World Conference Center, and more to come throughout the next two weeks. They also have a detailed overview ofFriday’s negotiations.

Useful hashtags for tracking the negotiations in real-time are #SB42, #ADP2015, and  #UNFCCC. We’ll join the conversation on twitter via @tcktcktck and@adoptnegotiator.

In addition to our Daily Tck (which is also available in Spanish), we’ll keep you abreast of developments in the wider world of climate activism and action at tcktcktck.org and publish related communications briefs at treealerts.org.

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