Monday, April 12, 2010

Bonn Meeting Develops Future Agenda For Climate Talks

Apr 11: The first round of UN climate change talks since the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 concluded Sunday, April 11, in Bonn with agreement to intensify the negotiating schedule in order to achieve a strong outcome in Mexico at the end of the year. The first round of UN Climate Change Talks in Bonn in 2010 (April 9-11) was attended by more than 1700 delegates from 175 countries.
    In addition to the negotiating sessions already scheduled for 2010, governments decided at the Bonn April meeting to hold two additional sessions of at least one week each. The additional sessions will take place between the 32nd session of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies from May 31 to June 11, 2010 and the UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico from November 29 to December 10,  2010. The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) invited its Chair to prepare, under her own responsibility, a text to facilitate negotiations among Parties, in time for the May/June sessions in Bonn.
    UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said, "At this meeting in Bonn, I have generally seen a strong desire to make progress. However, whilst more meeting time is important, it is itself not a recipe for success." De Boer has already announced his resignation which take effect in July. The UN's top climate change official called on governments to overcome differences, and work for greater clarity on what can be decided in the course of 2010 in the UN Climate Change negotiations. He said, "We need to decide what can be agreed at the end of this year in Cancún and what can be put off until later."
    De Boer indicated that negotiators must tackle three categories of issues in the course of this year: (1) issues which were close to completion in Copenhagen and can be finalized at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún at the end of the year; (2) issues where there are still considerable differences, but on which the Copenhagen Accord can provide important political guidance; and (3) issues where governments are still far from agreement.
    He said, "The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún must do what Copenhagen did not achieve: It must finalize a functioning architecture for implementation that launches global climate action, across the board, especially in developing nations. Specifically, negotiations this year need to conclude on mitigation targets and action, a package on adaptation, a new technology mechanism, financial arrangements, ways to deal with deforestation, and a capacity-building framework." He also said, there is a necessity for high level political guidance at the appropriate time -- "We must seek political guidance where and when needed."
    Additionally, the White House and U.S. Department of State have called for another meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) for April 18-19 in Washington, DC. The 17 major economies in the MEF are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Additionally, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the United Nations generally participate in the MEF dialogue.
    In a related matter, on April 8, the U.S. Department of State has issued a Federal Register announcement [75 FR 17989] notifying the public of the opportunity to submit comments on the draft fifth National Communication on U.S. climate change actions. The document, known as the U.S. Climate Action Report 2010, is a requirement for all Annex I Parties to UNFCCC. The U.S. released previous Climate Action Reports in 1994, 1997, 2002, and 2006.

    The draft Fifth Report provides a detailed summary of U.S. actions to address climate change. The report contains descriptions of specific measures and actions, outlines of broad policy initiatives, and descriptions of activities conducted by the U.S. since the previous report in 2006, principally at the federal level. It also explains U.S. Government efforts to increase scientific understanding of climate change, and provide foreign assistance to help other nations mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. The comment period extends until May 6, 2010. The final report will be submitted to the U.N. Secretariat in the early summer after a review of public comments.

    Access a release from the UNEP on the climate change meeting schedule (click here). Access the UNFCCC Bonn meeting website for additional information (click here). Access an April 11, press briefing from the U.S. (click here). Access additional press briefing and webcasts from the Bonn meeting (click here). Access a Reuters article on the upcoming MEF meeting (click here). Access the FR announcement (click here). Access the draft U.S. Climate Action Report 2010 (click here).