The clock’s ticking as Bonn climate forum thrashes out accord
Diplomats gather in Bonn from Monday to thrash out the draft of a climate-rescue pact to be adopted at a year-end U.N. conference in Paris.
With just 10 official negotiating days before 195 nations must seal the deal in the French capital, time is running out to bridge deep and long-standing divisions on who should do what to halt the march of global warming.
Just in recent days, there were fresh reminders of what is at stake if the world misses the U.N. goal to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. We have already reached 0.8 degrees Celsius.
Last week, U.S. government scientists declared July the hottest month in history, and said 2015 appears set to overtake 2014 as the hottest year since records began in 1880.
India and Pakistan have been hit by killer heat waves this year, and California is in the grips of a historic drought.
NASA warned this week that one meter of average sea level rise is unavoidable over the next 100-200 years due to ice sheet melt and ocean warming.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged countries on Wednesday to “accelerate the rhythm of negotiations” ahead of the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 climate conference, saying: “We don’t have much time.”
Analysts said the five-day Bonn round will show whether rankand-file diplomats are taking recent cues from political bosses.
In July, France announced that ministers had made a “breakthrough” at a huddle in Paris.
Crucially, they concurred there should be a review every five years after 2020, when the agreement kicks in, of the collective effort to curb planet- warming greenhouse gases to ensure the 2 degrees Celsius target remains within sight.
All eyes will be if the ministerial this issue filters
“Just t rying the spirit of the into Bonn would Gallagher, climate at the E3G think
Alden Meyer, an Washington-based cerned Scientists, close coordination tors and their
“Negotiators of clarifying where framing options said.
“But then it’s really the ministers and the leaders that have to find some of the landing zones, some of the compromises.”
‘No planet B’
on Bonn to see rapprochement on through. to get a bit of ministerials back be great,” Liz diplomacy leader tank, told AFP. analyst with the Union for Consaid there must be between negotiapolitical bosses. need to do the job things stand, very sharply,” he
Ministers will next meet in Paris on Sept. 6-7, and again in October in Lima at an IMF-World Bank pow-wow with climate finance on the agenda.
On Sept. 27, Ban Ki-moon and heads of state will talk climate on the sidelines of a U.N. summit in New York.
While these talks are not part of official negotiations, they should guide the pact-crafting efforts.
“The political decisions and compromises are going to be made above the paygrade of the negotiators,” said Meyer.
As things stand, the draft agreement under review in Bonn runs over 80 pages — largely a laundry list of countries’ often conflicting options, in places as many as 11 per issue, for ensuring a liveable planet. The disagreements are fundamental. How to divvy out responsibility for carbon cuts between rich nations, which have polluted for much longer, and developing countries which need to power fast-growing populations and economies?
How will developed nations meet their promise of US$100 billion of climate finance per year from 2020?
To date, more than 50 countries responsible for nearly 70 percent of global emissions have submitted carbon-curbing plans.
But scientists say the numbers do not add up and the world is on track for warming way above 2 degrees Celsius — a recipe for ever more extreme droughts and floods, disease spread and island-drowning sea-level rise.
To aid negotiators, the co-chairmen of the talks have re-packaged the draft text into three sections — the first containing the binding, overarching goal, set in stone; the second with elements that can be altered over time; and the third, by far the biggest, those that remain in dispute.
There will be a final pre-Paris negotiating round, also five days, in Bonn in October.
“It’s a race against the clock,” Fabius said at a meeting with Ban.
“Last year was the hottest on record. It seems that this year will be even hotter. There is no plan B, there is no planet B.”