What’s happening in Bonn and why it matters for the global climate challenge

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1 June 2015

LONDON: Today negotiators from 195 countries gather in Bonn, Germany, until June 11, to draft a new working text on climate measures, which is expected to be signed this December in Paris during the UN climate talks in a bid to keep global warming under the 2 degrees Celsius threshold.

The Bonn climate talks come a week after the first-ever Climate Week Paris which was convened by The Climate Group and demonstrated overwhelming business and investor support for a strong climate deal at Paris, and takes place days before the G7 meeting in Germany, where climate change is high on the world leaders' agenda.

Governments started the 10-day long climate negotiations today primarily to lay out the basis for a smaller and clearer draft text, which will then be polished in the upcoming months and signed in Paris during the UN 21st Conference of Parties this December.

During the last climate change talks in Geneva, government representatives drafted an 86-page negotiating text, covering all the different sectors and measures that governments need to deal with when tackling climate change.

Comparing it to the first version drafted in Lima The Climate Group’s Head of International Policy, Damian Ryan, commented on the text drafted in Geneva: “While negotiators have doubled the length of the text, they have at least put a cap on what’s in there – which suggests that everyone is happy that all their issues are covered. There is lots to do and nothing certain, but I think we can be cautiously optimistic at this point.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in a statement today: "With some 200 days to the UN climate convention conference in Paris, the growing momentum for change and for action is rapidly gaining ground across countries, companies, cities and citizens. News of yet another group of stakeholders committing to long term emission reduction targets or ambitious investments in renewable energies is emerging almost daily—building confidence and a sense of ‘can do’ among nations as we enter the final six months of 2015."

Some of the non-state actors the UN climate chief alludes to include those who submitted their climate data to the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) portal. A portion of the NAZCA data comes from The Climate Group's Compact of States and Regions, which announced last week that a group of 18 governments from 10 countries that together represent a GDP of US$7 trillion, have publicly submitted their greenhouse gas emissions and inventory data to the pioneering platform. 

The French government, which is hosting the crucial UN climate talks in December, is pushing for a much shorter and jargon-free text. Ségolène Royal, French Environment Minister, commented on the procedure, saying that keeping negotiators together for two weeks is fundamental to “make sure that what was agreed the day before continues to be agreed the day after”.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also recently stated that “the goal is for us to reach a pre-agreement as early as October”, which would leave enough time to get a strong agreement signed in December and implement it from 2020.

Once the text is reduced to a more manageable size, negotiators are expected to start eliminating some of the measures proposed and lay out common thresholds and goals.

Two more meetings will follow in September and October, with all countries are due to put forwards their INDCs by October.

You can follow the UN conference live on UNFCCC’s website.

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By Denise Puca


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