Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Climate Negotiations in Bonn

UNFCCC International negotiations on climate change strategies concluded last week in Bonn. Writing ahead of the conference, the reported on the main issues of concern for the structure of a future international climate agreement in 2015.

The final decision by all countries at COP 17 in Durban recognized that current GHG-reduction pledges are not adequate to keep global average temperature below 2 degrees C (the limit science says is necessary to prevent climate change’s most disastrous impacts). In Bonn, experts will put forth new ideas on how to ratchet up ambition in the short-term. Country representatives will also highlight best practices and success stories, in particular, the role that land use could play for enhanced mitigation and adaptation policies.

The April Bonn session is scheduled to discuss more specifically the core elements for establishing an international climate action agreement by 2015. We’ll be looking for clarity and answers across five key elements:

“Spectrum of commitments”
Ratchet mechanism
Architecture of the Agreement

Legal form

This negotiation session did not provide big breakthroughs, but fleshed out possible approaches to the final agreement structure. Fairness and equity are prime concerns. The Daily Kos reported that "the rare focus on a single track of negotiations (as opposed to multiple tracks going on at once) seems to have allowed countries to hold more productive conversations about the issues at hand without getting stymied by how various pieces will fit together." The UNFCCC's May 3 press briefing is here.

Business Green has reported that one concrete development from Bonn was the launch of a new prototype registry, managed by the UNFCCC, which will provide a central database for recording all the "Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions" taken by governments:

The searchable database is intended to make it easier for countries to track each others' progress towards cutting emissions and share policy best practices. "I am proud that the UNFCCC Secretariat has delivered this registry tool for Parties, which is designed specifically to empower developing countries and providers of support to identify greater partnership opportunities for mitigation," said Figueres. "They can then implement greater action together." The database could also prove a useful resource for businesses, providing them with a snapshot of how different countries are promoting climate action and clean technologies through policies and investment.

A Global Call for Climate Action is being undertaken by TckTckTck on their website, and their project with respect to the Bonn conference is the "Adopt a Negotiator" project, which represents the voice of the younger generation left out of the negotiations:

So why do we leave the most important decisions in the world to a few hundred people? Why doesn’t everyone know about it? Why aren’t we all having our say? And what can we do about it? These are the questions we asked ourselves. And we came up with an answer: Adopt a Negotiator. We thought it was time to let our leaders know we are here and we are watching them and we are going to take our future into our own hands.

It's an excellent place to track the issues and the dialog around the Climate Change negotiations. They're linked to another great site, RTCC, which banners the consensus that the world is on track to break the 2 degree Celsius temperature change barrier, which leads us all into irreversible climate change if carbon emissions are not drastically reduced.