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UN climate talks fail to clear obstacles to Paris deal

Negotiators shuffle the pack rather than showing their hands at Bonn climate meeting

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(Image by UNclimatechange

The latest round of UN climate talks have made slow progress on refining a negotiating text for the Paris summit in December, the focal point for efforts to agree curbs on greenhouse gas emissions in developed and developing countries.

Despite two weeks of talks at an interim meeting in the German city of Bonn, most of the contradictory proposals that littered the previous 90-page document remain, meaning that the next few rounds of talks in August and October will have to shoulder the burden of distilling a negotiating text by December.   

France’s climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana said that the tough, painstaking work of refining the document could still deliver real benefits in time for Paris.

“It’s like having a baby, sometimes you don’t know exactly when the baby will be born,” she told a press conference. 

Tubiana added: “Everyone is feeling the frustration, but we should not be frustrated or disappointed because these are really necessary conditions for Paris.” 

Familiar disputes blocked progress at the mainly technical meeting in Bonn, which was being held around 500km away from this week's G7 summit in Bavaria.

G7 leaders announced a long-term, but non-binding, decarbonisation target and increased insurance for countries most vulnerable to climate change.

But in Bonn rich nations failed to give greater clarity on how rich economies will deploy US$100 billion of climate finance a year from 2020. 

Major rifts also remained on the legal basis of a future agreement, and the extent that large fast-developing economies such as China and India will be accountable for planned curbs on GHG emissions.  

There were breakthroughs on a few important elements though, including an unexpected resolution of technical issues related to avoiding the destruction and degradation of forests, making it more likely that a protection scheme can be agreed in Paris. 

Although many NGOs said they remained hopeful that a meaningful deal can be done in Paris, they expressed disappointment at the slow pace in a week that G7 leaders for the first time agreed that emissions from fossil fuel use should be phased out by the end of the century. 


“This week strong signals were sent for ambitious climate action from outside the negotiations, but they did not inspire a faster pace in Bonn,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director at the World Resources Institute. 

The two co-chairs of discussions on a future negotiating text will in July present a ‘tidied-up’ version of a text that retains many of the elements from a previous UN meeting in February.

Meanwhile, France will next month present greater detail on proposals for climate finance, an issue that will likely need to be resolved for the Paris summit to deliver a deal.  

Text 'needs a good clean'

“The text which will make up the Paris agreement is like a lens we’re all looking through to a safe and secure world.  At the moment it’s a bit grubby and hard to see through. The co-chairs of the negotiations on the Paris agreement need to go away and give it a good clean so that leaders can see what needs to be done," said Mohamed Adow, senior climate change advisor at Christian Aid. 

The Bonn meeting also failed to bridge distrust on the extent to which developing countries should commit to future emissions cuts in national climate plans that all countries are required to submit to the UN.

China’s climate plan, or INDC in UN jargon, will likely be published next week but is not expected to include an absolute cap or provide details on whether the world’s largest emitter will regularly scale up emissions targets beyond a previously-announced 2030 peak. 

National plans

The EU and other developed country negotiators want to scrutinise the extent to which developing countries cuts will be line with an overall aim to restrict growth in the global average temperatures to 2C.

However climate plans from the EU and US would also need to scaled up drastically and speedily to prevent further damage from a warming climate, say the world's most vulnerable countries.

China’s chief negotiator Su Wei said talks about the procedure for a new UN climate regime had gone so slowly there was no time to discuss how the emissions cuts were stacking up.

"It has taken us 10 days here discussing procedural matters and we have made hardly any progress," he told the BBC. "We cannot add any more items to the agenda to be discussed before Paris."

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匿名 | Anonymous

Reverse CO2e deserts poverty well before 2020 science and actual based

invited by UN USG 1996 to sit on UNCTAD UNFCCC assemblies I travelled the Planet for 5 yrs to help write Kyoto protocol. The simple solution is lower 300 yrs of CO2e build up back into the 2-4% of vegetation that sequesters CO2 to grow soil. Well planned will reverse CO2e build up and poverty Robert Vincin

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

Build solar homes with 100 panels to stop global warming.

In the last 30 years, we have seen the most progress from cities that require Utilities to pay solar home owners $0.99 kwh, who sell solar onto the grid. The famous Solar Payment Policy. More cities, like Alameda, Calif need to adopt this Policy.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

Decentralization of solar is key to giving power to the people.

We must advocate for the lion's share of the income from solar to be made by homeowners, not corporations. We do not want Shell Oil building giant solar farms and then selling energy to homes.

We want home with 100 solar panels, so they make 4X more energy than they need and have a surplus they can sell onto the grid.

We oppose the fake corporate green washing called "Community Choice Aggregation, like Marin Clean Energy. That is the wrong way to go.
In the last 30 years, we have seen the most progress from cities that require Utilities to pay solar home owners $0.99 kwh, who sell solar onto the grid. The famous Solar Payment Policy. More cities, like Alameda, Calif need to adopt this Policy.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

What each city can do, before we get to Paris 2015.

The key agreement we need to adopt before Paris, and in Paris, is that each city must build all new homes with 100 solar panels.
No new homes should be built that have fewer than 100 solar panels. People who do not understand why this is key need to have a meeting with SolarJustice.co. Please read the book: “The Solar Economy”, by Hermann Scheer.

This creates jobs and generates solar energy to displace all conventional energy. Building homes with 100 solar panels shifts the income from solar to the homeowners and the working class. This gives real power to the People. Decentralization must be our main priority if we really want to stop global warming and create millions of jobs for people.