Govts in last-minute compromise as Bonn climate talks end

Climate negotiators at the conference in Bonn

Climate negotiators at the conference in Bonn

FOLLOWING weeks of negotiations in Bonn, governments finally reached a last-minute compromise on some key areas, which will pave way for the global agreement on greenhouse gases due to be signed in Paris this December.

The road map to a new universal climate agreement will step into a higher gear over the next two months as the governments asked the two delegates who are co-chairing the negotiations to table text in mid-July that begins shaping what will be the Paris agreement and what will be the supporting decisions—the so called ‘Paris Package’, covering finance, mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage should be structured.

Climate negotiators had been slow at the two weeks meeting till the end, as nations wrangled over the wording of an 89-page draft text. But they agreed to shift grounds at the final minute to allow the co-chairs to trim the text.This will allow them to tackle crunch issues over the coming months before talks resume in August.

The decisions will operationalize the ambition contained in the Paris Agreement which is aimed at deeper, more accelerated and long term global action to address climate change: namely by keeping a global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius while protecting the vulnerable from harmful impacts.

The co-chairs text should also make it easier for governments including ministers to identify the key political decisions that will have to be taken at and in advance of the UN climate convention conference in France.

“The path to Paris is now happening on both the political and negotiating levels and with a mood of exceptional confidence and engagement—what is being managed here is no longer resistance to an agreement but complexity, enthusiasm and an understanding that every nation is playing its part,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“The negotiations are also occurring against the backdrop of an accelerating wave of climate action from non-state actors including cities, regions, territories and companies which is contributing confidence to the process,” she said.
“Each moving part is gearing and firing up the rest to advance forward and to ensure the world remains on track to deliver in Paris,”said Ms Figueres.

“Governments are committed to reach an agreement that sets down the pathways and the supporting structures for a century-long transformation that allows all countries to reach a sustainable, clean energy future,” she added.
“What is occurring is in many ways unprecedented in the history of international cooperation in respect to vision and scale. Everyone’s concerns are being accommodated and everything has to move in parallel—it is understandably a complex but now also a very dynamic process,” said Ms Figueres.

In a statement by Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), climate change officer, WWF,Jaco du Toit said: “The reality is that we need much faster progress on the post-2020 negotiations, that we need to ramp up what we are doing already, that we cannot ignore that impacts are already hitting people everywhere, and that the solutions, from falling renewable energy prices to low carbon transport are out there, waiting to be scaled up.”

For Mohamed Adow, senior climate change advisor, Christian Aid, “The text which will make up the Paris agreement is like a lens we’re all looking through to a safe and secure world.  At the moment it’s a bit grubby and hard to see through. The co-chairs of the negotiations on the Paris agreement need to go away and give it a good clean so that leaders can see what needs to be done.”

According to the director of international program, Natural Resources Defense Council, Jake Schmidt,
“All around the world, we are witnessing a groundswell of climate action — from companies, governments and financial institutions. Now there is a clear path for our leaders to make the necessary, bold decisions in the coming months that will ensure historic international action on climate change.”

“From floods and droughts to hurricanes, typhoons and heat waves, the impacts of climate change are increasingly evident all over the world. The world expects an agreement in Paris that accelerates the shift away from a global economy based on polluting fossil fuels towards one based on clean renewable energy sources, and that helps vulnerable communities deal with climate impacts.  Ministers and national leaders must actively engage with each other over the summer to provide the political guidance that will enable their negotiators to pick up the pace when they return to Bonn in late August.” Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy, Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Negotiators avoided a show-down over crunch issues like finance and increasing near term emissions cuts, but they are only delaying the inevitable. A clearer mandate from Heads of State and ministers is needed to ignite the talks and ensure key questions are answered. Upcoming events like the Financing for Development meeting in Addis, the UN General Assembly in New York or the G20 in Turkey offer the perfect opportunity for high level political signals to be sent. Political leaders need to give a clear steer on how to address the inadequacy of current emissions reductions pledges, but also on the urgent financial support needed for the most vulnerable countries and populations.” Jan Kowalzig, climate change policy adviser, Oxfam

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