Bonn meeting - slow progress

The latest round of UN climate talks started in Bonn 29 May.

With the latest UNFCCC talks having just finished in Bonn, it will surprise no-one to hear there is substantial work needed in many countries to increase political will and create the conditions for a worthwhile global treaty.  Whilst there have been some good discussions in Bonn with countries slightly less set in their positions there are also some bad signs.  Below is a review of the talks to date – yet another small step in a long process.  The next step is the Petersberg process – a meeting of selected Environment Ministers which formally starts on Monday May 6 in Berlin.

It is widely considered that the next 12 months will be crucial as countries are deciding the approach they are going to take to develop the 2015 agreement.  At present, it looks like the US views on pledge and review are gaining momentum and although many are pushing back against this, it is a dangerous time.

CANA members interested in influencing the international talks will need to plan how we can work together to get Australia to take a more progressive approach on emissions reductions and on climate finance.  We need to make sure our Government uses our much touted position as a “key middle power”.  Please get in touch if you want to take part in collaborative actions – over the past year we’ve lobbied Government and opposition as well as worked together to engage our supporters and the general public.

The talks are facing the classic conundrum – is it better to have a weaker deal with the biggest polluter in or hold out?  China is showing indications that it might be moving towards the US proposal on pledge and review, but others are pushing back strongly. But how can a review system create the right degree of checks to ensure there is enough ambition to create emission reductions that will meet the scale of the changes needed?  As UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christina Figueres points out "The process is not on track with respect to the demands of science."

At these talks there has been further signs that recently emerged groups are continuing to speak out – including the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) who think that emerging economies can do more to take action; or the Like Minded Group, of Non-annex 1 countries which has more of a traditional view about responsibility for action.

Brief daily summaries compiled from ENB/UNFCCC website:

Day 1 - Monday

At the opening of ADP 2 delegates adopted the agenda (FCCC/ADP/2013/1) and agreed to the organization of work (ADP.2013.1.InformalNote) and agreed the next set of workshops to be held in June [so no agenda fight this time!].  Co-Chair Mauskar informed delegates that the ADP would decide on Friday whether to establish a contact group co-chaired by the ADP Co-Chairs.
On Monday afternoon and evening, a workshop took place in relation to workstream 1 on the scope, structure and design of the 2015 agreement.  The workshop opened with expert presentations on challenges in designing the agreement, on national climate-change related legislation, on ways to allocate responsibilities and on equity and fairness. Governments then engaged in a 4-hour discussion on general design aspects of the future agreement, on the relationship between the UN process and national policy, on the question of commitments, and on how to combine fairness and effectiveness in the agreement. You can see the presentations given at the workshop here.

The launch also came against a background of steeply rising global greenhouse gas emissions and a growing sense of urgency to take action to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Day 2 – Tuesday

On Tuesday, the workshop on low-emission development opportunities took place, facilitated by Alexa Kleysteuber (Chile).  It included expert presentations by LEDS Global Partnership and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and a panel discussion with the UK, Kenya, China, UNEP for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, China, C40 Cities: Climate Leadership Group and Norway.  These were followed by general discussion, which continued in the afternoon.

On Tuesday afternoon, two roundtables also took place.
On workstream 1 (discussing options towards the 2015 global climate agreement):  Responding to the Co-Chairs’ calls for more focus, governments delineated clearly and concretely their ideas about the contours of the 2015 agreement. Although many complex questions remain, signs of convergence were clearly visible in the statements given.  Many governments are seeking a system, in the context of the Convention and its principles, that integrates bottom-up and top-down approaches, using best elements of both.  In particular, a strong interest emerged to create an innovative "menu" or "spectrum" of commitments compatible with national circumstances, as well as a mechanism to regularly ratchet up ambition to meet the requirements of the 2 degrees goal.  The next step is to discuss what is needed from the 2015 agreement to enhance, complement and add value to action on mitigation, adaptation, means of implementation and transparency.

On workstream 2 (raising ambition to combat climate change now):  delegates looked at how low-emission development strategies require the right enabling environment and effective inter-ministerial cooperation as well as sufficient financial means of implementation in order to achieve transformational change. Consensus emerged that broad involvement of all stakeholders as well as support at the highest political level are critically important for low-emission development implementation.

Day 3 – Wednesday

On 1 May,

On Wednesday two roundtables took place on Workstream 1 (2015 agreement).  The morning one focussed on adaptation.  There was a clear tendency to see adaptation and mitigation as "two sides of the same coin", with the need to combine both in a coherent approach to address climate change and to drive the required transformation to resilient development.  Governments are in the process of identifying how the ADP could add value to adaptation on top of existing arrangements.  Delegates also began a discussion on finance in the context of the 2015 agreement.  There was a constructive discussion, with many delegates emphasizing the need for support to enable mitigation and adaptation in a transparent manner.   Co-Chair Harald Dovland identified convergence on using existing institutions, saying they may need to be strengthened, and noted proposals, inter alia, for a workshop and a technical paper.

A roundtable on the means of implementation of climate action took place in the afternoon.  Co-Chair Muskar summarized that the discussion had addressed finance, technology and capacity building, and noted views that monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) is essential for all three pillars.  He also recalled proposals for roundtables and technical papers, saying these can be further discussed on Friday.

a workshop on opportunities for mitigation and adaptation related to land use explored the role of national

actions in increasing ambition, the role of international cooperative initiatives in strengthening these, and the role of means of implementation.  Delegates heard expert presentations including a scientific perspective on carbon conservation and sequestration, as well as an overview of experience on the ground in the area of land use and climate change.  Views were exchanged on implementation of national climate change strategies and mainstreaming of climate change considerations in policies and issues such as addressing sustainable natural resources management, territorial planning, forest monitoring and agricultural production.  There was consensus that multiple benefits, such as food security, sustainable livelihoods, economic and productivity gains, biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation represent a major driving force behind national action in this area.

Participants furthermore shared views on the importance of international cooperation and potential involvement of other international organizations and partnerships, such as FAO, UN-REDD programme and REDD+ partnership. They noted that countries that have taken ownership and shown leadership, and have engaged all important stakeholders from the outset, are making particularly good progress in the implementation of REDD+

Day 4 – Thursday

On Thursday morning, two roundtables took place.  During the roundtable on catalyzing action on pre-2020 ambition, delegates discussed various possibilities including through addressing sectors with high mitigation potential, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.  During the roundtable on mitigation in relation to Workstream 1 (2015 agreement), some delegates identified key elements for commitments in the context of the future agreement.  Co-Chair Harald Dovland (Norway) noted "numerous" references to nationally determined commitments, and suggested further discussions on these, including on possible timeframes.

On Thursday afternoon, two roundtables took place.  On transparency of action and support in relation to Workstream 1, delegates expressed their views on enhancing transparency of: mitigation action; and means of implementation, including financial support.

A roundtable on building a practical and results-oriented approach to increasing pre-2020 ambition (Workstream 2) also took place.  Parties addressed, inter alia, renewable energy, energy efficiency, HFCs, REDD+, fossil fuel subsidies, means of implementation, results- and needs-based approaches, unilateral measures and ministerial engagement.

Note from on CAN interventions at the special session on Thursday:

Mohammed Adow and Alden Meyer made a presentation to the ADP Co-Chairs during the civil society session on behalf of CAN International pushing back on the notion of a pledge and review system.  CAN is calling for an Equity Review that would occur in parallel with the scientific and political review of the pledges.  CAN is calling for a decision on the Equity Review by Warsaw and for national proposals to be submitted by COP20 to allow for adequate time to evaluate the proposals based both on ambition and on equity.  This commitment to deadlines and principles are critical to avoiding a repeat of the mistakes made by countries during the last major push for a global deal in Copenhagen.

CAN  made concrete recommendations on pre-2020 ambition to the ADP co-chairs that included a ramp up of ambition by developed countries, the Gulf countries and other advanced economies.  CAN made the point again on the need to phase out fossil fuel subsidies with the concrete suggestion that a workshop be held with developing countries that explored phasing out subsidies while advancing development priorities. They also referenced the phase down of HFCs that can be achieved under the Montreal Protocol and referenced in a COP decision, and the critically important discussion underway at the ICAO to curb aviation emissions from international fights.


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