UN climate change talks begin in Bonn

3 June 2013

LONDON: Starting today, June 3, representatives from 194 countries will gather in Bonn, Germany, for the second round of international climate talks which kicked-off last month.

The talks, which are due to last two weeks, aim to expand on the initial work of May's sessions, which focused on the scope and shape of climate action and debate around whether the 2 degrees Celsius goal formally agreed by governments at COP16 is still achievable.

The sessions will facilitate cross-country dialogue on what the precise terms of the 2015 climate agreement, due to come into force in 2020, should be. Three inter-related concepts will shape the negotiations:

  • The level of ambition
  • The type of compliance regime to be used
  • The form of participation

Rising temperatures

Much like the first sessions these talks are framed by a fresh sense of urgency, as the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide has now exceeded 400 ppm – the highest it has been in approximately 800,000 years.

Since the birth of industrialization, temperatures have risen by about 0.8 degrees, and despite it being twenty years since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adapted, the world is still warming at an alarming rate.

The global target of limiting the rise in temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius seems highly difficult unless significant changes in policy are achieved.

Increasing targets

The Bonn conference will seek to reinterpret the 2 degrees commitment through discussion of the various strategies currently available. As well as roundtable discussions and workshops for delegates, the Co-Chairs will hear proposals on June 8 from observer organizations as to how non-state actors can facilitate collective action on climate change.

It is expected that the 52-member AOSIS bloc of island nations and the group of 49 Least Developed Countries will oppose any leniency of the pledge, and even lobby for a stricter target which would aim to reduce the temperature increase to just 1.5 degrees.

However, the stance of the US and China, two of the world’s largest carbon emitters, could well be decisive.

By Alana Ryan.

Related news:

Climate talks begin in Bonn

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