Friday, June 12, 2009

More Work On GHG Targets Needed Following Bonn Climate Meeting

Jun 12: The June UN Climate Change Talks in Bonn concluded today (June 12) with progress on draft negotiating texts, reflecting governments’ proposals on how to step up international climate change action [See WIMS 6/1/09]. Delegates from 183 countries meeting in Bonn, discussed key negotiating texts which will serve as the basis for an international climate change deal, to be decided in Copenhagen in December. The Copenhagen agreed outcome is to follow on the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012. The gathering from June 1 to 12 was attended by more than 4,600 participants, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said, “A big achievement of this meeting is that governments have made it clearer what they want to see in the Copenhagen agreed outcome. In my view, an ambitious and effective agreed outcome in Copenhagen is in sight -- an outcome that provides a strong and definitive answer to the alarm raised by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC].”

Michael Zammit Cutajar, Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), also pointed to the accelerated pace of negotiations at the Bonn meeting, during which he said many important elements were added to the Convention text. He said, “The next step will be for Parties to refine and streamline the Convention text and to begin drafting at the next session in August, whilst engaging on the specifics of the text." The negotiating text for consideration by the AWG-LCA, which comprises all 192 Parties to the UNFCCC, covers issues of a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation and finance, technology and capacity-building.

Another group, focusing on further commitments for industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) considered a proposal for amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, including the future emission reduction commitments of 37 industrialized countries for the second phase of the protocol (post-2012). UNFCCC said that good progress was made on options for the treatment of land-use, land-use change and forestry to reduce emissions. But John Ashe, the Chair of the AWG-KP pointed out that this group still needs to decide on the controversial issue of an aggregate emission reduction target for industrialized countries, along with individual targets. He said, “We need to get the list of commitments of developed countries finalized
so that we can fully gauge where we are in terms of emission reductions."

The UN’s top climate change official Yvo de Boer warned that AWG-KP negotiating group was still far away from "the emission reduction range that has been set out by science as a beacon by science to avoid the worst ravages of climate change: a minus 25% to minus 40% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020." Be Boer said, “Between now and Copenhagen, the level of ambition
needs to be increased. This is still possible if the opportunities for international cooperative action are fully seized."

In addition to the two working groups specifically designed to negotiate the Copenhagen agreed outcome, the “Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the “Subsidiary Body for Implementation”(SBI) also met in Bonn. A release indicated that work was "taken forward" on SBSTA on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Solid progress was made on methodologies that make it possible to monitor and report emissions from deforestation, which accounts for around 20% of all greenhouse gas pollution.

A key focus of SBI's work in Bonn was the development and transfer of technologies. The Expert Group on Technology Transfer produced three reports (on future financing options, on a long-term strategy and on performance indicators). The reports provide important input for what can be written into the Copenhagen deal on technology cooperation.

The UNFCCC gathering in Germany constituted the second in a series of five major UN negotiating sessions this year leading up to the UNFCCC (COP 15) meeting in Copenhagen in December (December 7 to 18). The next meeting, informal consultations comprising the LCA and KP work groups, will take place August 10 to 14 in Bonn, followed by a gathering in Bangkok from September 28 to October 9, and a further gathering from November in Barcelona 2 to 6. Additionally, outside of the UNFCCC process, but intricately linked, the Major Economies have a work meeting scheduled for June 22-23 in Mexico City and a "leaders' meeting" and the G8 Summit in Italy, in July 2009.

Access a release from UNFCCC (
click here). Access the UNFCCC website for links to complete details on the meetings and the negotiating text (click here). Access daily reporting from the Bonn meeting from International Institute for Sustainable Development (click here).