No Concrete Result Reached in UN Climate Talks in Bonn

Oct 26th, 2014 | By | Category: Development and Climate Change, Information and Communication, International Agencies, News, UNFCCC

(Xinhua) — The third round of United Nations’ 2014 climate talks wrapped up in Bonn, Germany, on Saturday, reaching no concrete result and leaving heavy workload to climate conference in Lima, Peru, in December.

In the past six days, nearly 1,200 negotiators from 176 countries and organizations gathered in the city which hosts the secretariat of United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to negotiate on a new agreement addressing climate change, which was planned to be passed at the end of 2015 in Paris and come into force in 2020.

As the last round of negotiation before Lima conference, the climate talks in Bonn failed to reach a concrete conclusion on elements of the 2015 agreement and what should be included in “intended nationally determined contributions” which was requested to be submitted by governments early next year.

What has happened here, according to some negotiators, were “repeating positions” and “brainstorming-type discussion” instead of “real negotiations” over concrete terms and issues line-by-line.

“The negotiations here hasn’t deepened to core issues,” said Su Wei, China’s chief negotiator, adding that concrete discussions should start as soon as possible.

According to previous decisions, a draft text of the 2015 agreement shall be sketched by May 2015. Co-chairs of the negotiations in Bonn urged negotiators to deliver a text ready for translation into all the official languages of the UN by the beginning of April 2015.

“The Lima conference would face huge pressure,” Su said.

In a newsletter handed out in the venue on Saturday, a group of non-government organizations (NGOs) said they were concerned about the slow progress of the negotiation, and warned that a continuation of the discussion format would “almost certainly not lead to agreement”.

Submissions and statements tabled before and during the Bonn meeting showed that there were still big divergences on the information to be included in national determined contributions of countries.

While developed countries said mitigation, or emission reduction, should be focused in the contributions, developing countries insisted that adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building support from developed countries should also be included.

Some developed countries also kept regarding the 2015 agreement merely as an agreement on emission cutting. The notion was also strongly opposed and criticized by developing countries.

“Our stance is very clear,” China’s chief negotiator Su said, “the 2015 agreement must include all the elements of the Convention, and shall be guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention.”

Under the Convention, which was signed in 1992, developed countries were obliged to take leading role in mitigating climate change via emission reduction and offer finance, technology and capacity building supports to developing countries to help them adapt to and address climate change.

“These supports should also be included in the post-2020 contributions of developed countries,” Su stressed.

Another key issue in this round of climate talks on enhanced actions in pre-2020 period also made no concrete progress as developed countries showed no signs to lift their emission cutting targets and implement their previous commitments to increase supporting funds to developing countries.

By Sept. 30, only 18 countries had ratified the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, the only legally-binding treaty that raised quantified reduction targets for developed countries. A total of 144 ratification are needed to make the second commitment period, which ends in 2020, enter force.

Green Climate Fund, a UN bank to provide funds to developing countries for addressing climate change, is still waiting for the money needed for its initial capitalization.

The Fund’s leader said 10 billion U.S. dollars were needed by the end of 2014. Until now, only 2.3 billion dollars was pledged.

In Bonn, developing countries said they hadn’t yet seen the money that developed countries pledged, which was promised to be raised to 100 billion dollars per year by 2020.

A deal enacted by the European Union on Friday to reduce carbon emission by at least 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels also received mixed responses in Bonn.

While UNFCCC’s executive secretary Christiana Figueres praised the deal as providing “valuable momentum” towards the 2015 agreement, some negotiators and NGOs said the target was not as “ambitious” as the EU claimed.

According to a previous report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific intergovernmental body under the UN, developed countries as a whole must cut carbon emission by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels in order to limit global warming over the pre-industrial levels to under 2 degrees Celsius, above which scientists warned would be dangerous.

“The EU 2030 target is 10 years too little and too late,” said Claudia Salerno, chief negotiator for Venezuela.

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