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Bonn talks end, negotiators urge action on climate change deal

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On the heels of extreme weather events globally, governments have ended two weeks of talks aimed at preparing the Paris Agreement’s operational guidelines for adoption at the yearly climate conference to be held in Katowice, Poland in December.

The guidelines are essential for determining whether total world emissions are declining fast enough to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. These include boosting adaptation and limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.Recognizing the urgency of addressing climate change impacts such as prolonged droughts and shifting rainfall patterns, and agriculture as an important source of emissions, the conference adopted a roadmap for the next two-and-a-half years.
 
This roadmap responds to the world’s farming community of more than 1 billion people and to the 800 million people who live in food-insecure circumstances, mainly in developing countries. It addresses a range of issues including the socio-economic and food-security dimensions of climate change, assessments of adaptation in agriculture, co-benefits and resilience, and livestock management.

The Bonn conference also saw an early boost to education and public awareness (called Action for Climate Empowerment – ACE) to support the Paris Agreement. A draft outcome, to be adopted at COP24, calls on Parties to appoint national focal points and develop national strategies for promoting ACE. It also calls for the integration of ACE into all emission-reduction and resilience-building activities.

“I am satisfied that some progress was made here in Bonn. But many voices are underlining the urgency of advancing more rapidly on finalizing the operational guidelines. The package being negotiated is highly technical and complex. We need to put it in place so that the world can monitor progress on climate action,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change.
 
But civil society groups believe that little progress was made on developing the guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. “The window for the negotiation of an ambitious outcome at COP24 is quickly narrowing, with little time left between now and December to finalize the process,” according to ACT Alliance.They noted the lack of leadership amongst countries to commit to supporting ambitious climate action in the negotiations has proven to be a stumbling-block in making meaningful progress. The issue of financial support is closely tied to the issue of trust between parties and trust in the process. This is extremely important because trust will ultimately affect the outcomes of the negotiations on the Paris Rulebook, and on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“We can no longer afford to lose more time on climate inaction. It is unfortunate that the international community is missing the opportunity to step-up and to take real and bold action to address climate change and its impacts on the most vulnerable,” says Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, ACT Alliance’s General Secretary.The preparatory talks will continue at a supplementary meeting in Bangkok from September 3 to 8. This meeting will consider the reflection note and the views and inputs by governments captured in various texts in Bonn.
 
The Bangkok meeting will then forward texts and draft decisions for adoption to the annual session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) taking place in Katowice, Poland, in December.
 
“We have made progress here in Bonn, but we need now to accelerate the negotiations. Continuing intersessional streamlining of the text-based output from Bonn will greatly assist all governments, who will meet in Bangkok to work towards clear options for the final set of implementation guidelines,” Ms. Espinosa said.For Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1200 NGOs, “The Talanoa Dialogue is a promising start towards fostering trust and breaking down boundaries in an unconventional setting. It showcased the substantial commitments from cities, businesses and community organisations on climate action.   It is important that this is translated into a clear political process. Talanoa has been and continues to be about raising ambition.

“The adoption of the IPCC report on 1.5°C this October will be an important moment accelerate political momentum. The report must inform the Talanoa Dialogue process in 2018 and drive in the urgency of action that is needed: to ramp up ambition by 2020 and to deliver on finance.

“Even as the impacts of climate change become increasingly devastating, the outcome from Suva Expert Dialogue to discuss finance to address loss and damage last week was disappointing. The next round of discussions must outline a clear path to mobilise money to address loss and damage ahead of the Warsaw International Mechanism review in 2019.”

Paula Caballero, Global Director, Climate Program, World Resources Institute said: “Climate negotiators kept up a good pace this week, but will be leaving Bonn with a lot more ground to cover to get to the finish line in Poland this December. At the next negotiation session in Bangkok delegates will need to maintain that same focused approach to turn the corner on the politics and policy.  

“The UN climate summit in Katowice will be the most consequential political moment for climate action since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015.  By the time the final gavel is struck, all countries should adopt an action and support package that will put the Paris Agreement fully into motion.  Success must be three-fold: finalize guidelines for implementing the Paris pact, make clear that countries will strengthen national climate commitments by 2020 and signal that support for developing countries will also continue to ramp up.

“All eyes now turn to the Polish COP presidency, who must show the forward-looking leadership necessary to drive the world to an outcome that reflects the urgency, seriousness and scale of effort necessary to tackle the climate challenge.

“The Talanoa Dialogue session was a collective reality check on the state of climate action, highlighting how far we have left to go but also the transformational solutions the world needs. The inclusive discussion was a reminder that governments cannot tackle climate change alone – they need the extra muscle of businesses, civil society and cities to turn the promise of the Paris Agreement into a reality. As a number of delegates made clear, now the Talanoa needs to lay the foundation for COP24 to signal that countries will enhance their national climate plans by 2020.  

“Leaders must demonstrate political leadership at a number of key moments this year to get where we need to go, including the Petersberg Dialogue, UN General Assembly, and the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings.”International Climate Lead, Christian Aid, Mohamed Adow said: “This gathering in Bonn was always going to be a very technical meeting and the technical negotiations around the rulebook have actually progressed largely as expected.

But what has become clear has been the need from poorer countries for much stronger signals that the funding they have been promised to implement their emissions reductions plans will be delivered.The radio silence on money has sown fears among poor countries that their wealthier counterparts are not serious about honouring their promises. This funding is not just a bargaining chip, it is essential for delivering the national plans that make up the Paris Agreement.  

For the Paris Agreement to be a success we need the Katowice COP to be a success. And for the Katowice COP to be a success we need assurances that sources of funding will be coming.”Li Shuo, Senior Global Policy advisor, Greenpeace: The Paris Agreement cannot be a one-off achievement which is left like a trophy in a box to be admired but never acted on. The box needs to be unlocked, it needs to happen in 2018 and the key to that is trust. Trust has to be built at a ministerial level through exchanges on important issues such as differentiation and finance. In the months before Bangkok, ministers must engage to start a dynamic process that leads to a robust rulebook and much greater ambition.
 
“The architecture is there for ambition to be raised, the Talanoa Dialogue, which has led to a real spirit of cooperation, getting beyond the finger-pointing to remind everyone that we all share the same planet and we all need to do more to protect it. The mood created by Talanoa has to start delivering tangible results in the form of enhanced national targets, and we look forward to the EU and China taking an early lead on this.

 


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