The clock’s tick­ing as Bonn cli­mate fo­rum thrashes out ac­cord

The China Post - - COMMENTARY - BY MA­RI­ETTE LE ROUX

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.”

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