Keep up the climate momentum

Photo: ACT/Sean Hawkey


United Nations climate change talks in Bonn (Germany) have been suspended on a positive note, with countries closer to agreeing a new global climate deal next year that would put a reign on runaway climate change.

It follows recent signals from the US and Mexico of carbon emission cuts, as well as the decision to put the new Green Climate Fund into operation.

However, delegates have left the final session in Bonn, Germany, with a series of tight deadlines they must meet in order to prevent the process collapsing. ACT Alliance says the small successes of this conference mustn’t be lost to the bigger work ahead.

“It’s not a really bad result. We’ve seen some good progress on the different elements of the deal: a consensus that next year’s agreement should have adaptation at heart and the parties are all talking about the need to cut emissions,” ACT climate change advisory group co-chair Mattias Söderberg said. “However, we can’t let up, the hard work must continue.

“Most parties have tried to find agreement and common ground and to raise their ambition to reach agreement. There is an increasing urgency to find a global way to tackle climate change, and we must start to look for solutions rather than focusing on the problems.”

UN negotiators need to come up with the structure of the new agreement before the meeting resumes in October. By March, countries need to present the contributions each will make to a future agreement.

The contributions, known as intended nationally-determined contributions, were a major topic of debate at the talks. “Emissions reductions will of course be part of the contributions, but it is also important to address means of implementation. With no support, many developing countries will not be able to deliver concrete results. It is unfortunate that the meeting in Bonn didn’t agree on what to include as contributions. The pressure on the next meeting to deliver is now increasing, as parties need clarity before preparing their contributions in the beginning of 2015” Söderberg said.

Söderberg said he was happy there were constructive discussions about finance, and loss and damage, which are important elements of the future agreement. “Our members see the compound effect of harsher and more frequent weather disasters and the long-term effect of changes to weather patterns. Developing countries need funds for the irreversible effects of climate change on their lives. Loss and damage must be included in the 2015 agreement.”

In summing up, co-chair of the meeting, known as the Advanced Durban Platform, Kishan Kumarsingh, congratulated countries for making significant progress on the draft text of the new climate deal, and for starting to identify elements of the contributions that countries will need to make to the agreement.

“Many new ideas have been brought to the negotiating table. You have made significant progress on all elements of the 2015 text, fleshed out and clarified proposals, and have a better understanding of proposals. There is growing convergence on many issues. You have identified politically-significant choices that still need to be made.”

But countries still need to agree on the elements of the text, he said. Although countries have a better appreciation of how the parties view broader outcome of the deal to take effect from 2020, many parties have called for acceleration of implementation and the importance of building trust and confidence in the years before 2020, he said.