Key to cli­mate deal lies out­side the United Na­tions arena, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts

The China Post - - COMMENTARY - BY RICHARD ING­HAM AND MARIETTE LE ROUX

The marathon ef­fort to forge a world pact on cli­mate change now hinges on what hap­pens out­side the U.N. arena in the com­ing months, an­a­lysts said af­ter an­other fal­ter­ing ne­go­ti­a­tion round.

Whether the 195-na­tion U.N. Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC) can seal the much-vaunted post-2020 deal in Paris six months from now de­pends greatly on a flurry of meet­ings by movers and shak­ers.

The hope is that in­flu­en­tial coun­tries, sup­ported by a pro-cli­mate clamor from busi­ness and the public, start to haul the ne­go­ti­a­tions out of a deep and familiar rut.

An 11-day ne­go­ti­at­ing round ended in Bonn on Thurs­day, bogged down in try­ing to con­dense a vast and un­wieldy draft text into a man­age­able blue­print for ne­go­ti­a­tion.

But on the plus side, there was no bust up, and trust — the magic in­gre­di­ent that un­locks deals — re­mains high.

Alden Meyer, a vet­eran ob­server with the U.S.-based Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists, pointed to about a dozen meet­ings in the com­ing months of­fer­ing chances of leapfrog­ging the labyrinthine pro­cesses of the UNFCCC.

“The com­pro­mises are not go­ing to be found at the ne­go­tia­tor level,” he told AFP.

“They are go­ing to be found at the min­is­te­rial level and even at the heads of state level on is­sues like fi­nance, that’s just the way the world works.

“The hope is that over time this will cre­ate a force field which raises am­bi­tion and po­lit­i­cal will in this process and trick­les down to the ne­go­tia­tor level.”

The crown­ing con­fer­ence, run­ning in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, will be pre­ceded by two UNFCCC gath­er­ings in Bonn at ne­go­tia­tor level.

France will also stage talks in July and Septem­ber, gath­er­ing min­is­ters from sev­eral dozen key par­ties, and this will be fol­lowed by sim­i­lar talks just be­fore the Paris meet­ing.

Added to this are meet­ings of the world’s ma­jor car­bon emit­ters in July and Septem­ber, gath­er­ings of the World Bank and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund in Oc­to­ber and a sum­mit of the G-20 in Novem­ber.

‘Im­pres­sive mo­men­tum’

In Septem­ber, world lead­ers meet­ing at the U.N. Gen­eral As- sem­bly and a U.S.-Chi­nese sum­mit bring­ing to­gether the world’s two big­gest car­bon emit­ters, will be un­der pres­sure to speed things up.

“This (the UNFCCC) is not the only process and this is prob­a­bly not the best process to pro­duce the meet­ing of minds,” said El­liot Diringer, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Cli­mate and En­ergy So­lu­tions, a U.S. think tank.

“We can­not rely on this process alone to get us there, which is why the var­i­ous types of in­for­mal dis­cus­sions all play a very crit­i­cal role.”

Ox­fam’s cli­mate change pol­icy ad­vi­sor, Jan Kowalzig, pointed to a range of crunch is­sues yet to be re­solved.

They in­cluded mea­sures to beef up na­tional pledges for car­bon emis­sion cuts, and mus­ter­ing fi­nance for vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries.

Up­com­ing meet­ings “of­fer the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for high level po­lit­i­cal sig­nals to be sent,” Kowalzig said.

UNFCCC chief Chris­tiana Figueres said “a very high-level po­lit­i­cal process that is un­der­way in par­al­lel, which is per­haps not phys­i­cally ev­i­dent here” was sup­port­ing what hap­pened in the cli­mate talks.

She noted the June 7-8 G-7 sum­mit, which called for “de­car­bur­iza­tion” of the world econ­omy this cen­tury, and an up­com­ing encyclical on cli­mate change by Pope Fran­cis, which Figueres pre­dicted “is go­ing to have a ma­jor im­pact.”

Added to that, she ar­gued, was “very, very im­pres­sive” mo­men­tum from cities, re­gions and the busi­ness sec­tor on cli­mate change.

“Don’t be too impatient,” French ne­go­tia­tor Lau­rence Tu­biana told jour­nal­ists. “We will get there.”

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