What negotiators must do in Bonn to ensure success in Paris
Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative, said there were three things negotiators had to focus on: Sharply reducing emissions in the next five years; ensuring the commitments made for the 5 or 10 years that follow (2020 – 2025, or 2030) match the requirements of science and fairness for limiting global warming; and finally, ensuring that the poorest communities are assisted to be better prepared for future climate change impacts.
Actions to reduce emissions in the next five years (2015 -2020)
“Clearly, the new global climate deal will mean little if emissions continue to rise in the next five years before the new global deal becomes effective. And the trend has been a significant increase in emissions unless we keep taking immediate action to reduce harmful greenhouse gases,” said Smith. She also cited the IEA’s findings earlier this year that energy-related emissions which plateaued last year for the first time in 40 years, as a direct result of clean-energy policies.
“Renewable energy and energy efficiency, for example, keep beating all predictions with the speed with which the technologies are being taken up, improved on and becoming more affordable. We know that policies to scale them up work – they reduce emissions and bring all kinds of other benefits, such as cleaner air and more jobs. This is certainly something that governments can act on immediately,” she said. By working collaboratively to scale up the rollout of renewable energy, governments can, at the same time, address developmental objectives, create jobs and start to put in place the infrastructure for a decarbonised society.
During the Bonn session, negotiators will meet in Technical Expert Meetings to discuss these issues and it is imperative that they move towards clear recommendations on what will be done, and to draft decisions on this front rather than to just continue exchanging ideas.
Actions for the decade after 2020 should match science
“Science tells us we have to peak emissions before 2020 and then sharply reduce them thereafter. That means any new global climate deal will have to put in place the necessary steps required to ensure that emissions in the decade after 2020 match the science, and this must be done in an equitable manner,” said Smith.
To ensure this, WWF would like to see the following captured in the draft agreement being worked on in Bonn:
- A mechanism to ensure a continuous review and ratcheting up of climate action in line with the science;
- Urgent and adequate resourcing for climate actions, for both emission reductions and ensuring that poor communities have the means to adapt to climate change impacts;
- A global goal for Adaptation as well as a strong operational Loss and Damage mechanism; and
- Recognition that addressing emissions from the land and forest sectors is critical.
Difficult issues to be dealt with early on
An important lesson from the Copenhagen experience is to not leave the difficult issues to the end.
“Negotiators must not put off the difficult discussions. They have to agree a clear process to discuss the crunch issues of equity, Loss and Damage, finance and the legal form of the new deal, and these discussions must start substantively in this Bonn session. Issues that need to be elevated to a political level must be addressed as soon as possible,” said Smith.
Earlier this year in Geneva we saw ‘business unusual’ among the negotiators in getting a draft text agreed to. “Now they must stay the course to ensure that leaders will have an ambitious, science-based and fair agreement to approve when they meet in Paris later this year,” she said.
- Find WWF’s expectations for the Bonn Intersessional in Bonn in June here.
- Read WWF’s two reports on how to close the emissions gap over the next five years here and here
- Mentions of 'science' refer to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
For further information, contact:
Mandy Jean Woods firstname.lastname@example.org / @MandyJeanWoods / +27 72 393 0027
Sam Smith email@example.com / @pandaclimate / +47 450 22 149
Tasneem Essop firstname.lastname@example.org