Posted on 29 June 2019
BONN, Germany (28 June 2019) - The annual mid-year meeting of climate negotiators in Bonn, which finished yesterday, was largely procedural as expected. Key issues in the negotiations – on carbon market trading and loss and damage - progressed sufficiently towards the next round of talks in Santiago, Chile in December.
But how to respond to the alarming science of climate change was the subject of heated discussions among Parties. As temperature records fell across Europe this week, tempers flared at times in the discussions on the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, . One of the main conclusions of the report, is the big difference in negative impact on vulnerable people and nature between warming of 1.5°C and 2°C, but in Bonn Parties could not even agree on referring to 1.5°C as a goal.
WWF’s senior advisor on global climate policy Mark Lutes said: “There was some action outside of the UN climate talks this week – with the UK putting net-zero emissions by 2050 into law, Denmark committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 – but inside things were more procedural as expected.
“What did catch attention at the meeting were heated exchanges about how Parties will respond to the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C. The dispute is a sign of what’s at stake in responding to the climate crisis and the science of 1.5°C. Parties have to take on board the content of the report in revising their national climate plans.”
Many developing countries, including some of the poorest and least responsible for the climate crisis, have stated they are revising their national climate plans. There is, so far, less movement from developed and emerging economies. “But without the EU, Japan, Canada and other advanced G20 countries getting on board with zero emission goals before 2050 and revised 2030 targets in line with 1.5C°C, along with scaled up support for poorer countries, we won’t make much of a dent reducing warming and adapting to the increasingly severe climatic disruptions”, says Lutes.
Countries were feeling the pressure to deliver an outcome on the Paris Agreement’s Article 6, which deals with market and non-market measures, by COP25. They worked hard to refine the concepts throughout the text and come up with bridging proposals that will be further discussed in Chile. From a legal perspective, countries can begin transacting and using mitigation outcomes starting in 2020 on the basis the Paris Agreement already provides.
Although revision of national climate plans was not explicitly on the agenda in Bonn, it was certainly hanging over the session and a subject of many conversations and meetings. The call for decisive action on the climate crisis from youth and citizens marching in Aachen, just west of Bonn earlier in the week, contrasted sharply with the pace and lack of ambition shown by many Parties inside the conference.
WWF’s global climate policy manager Fernanda de Carvalho said: "The discussions in Bonn have shown us that there is still a lot to be achieved before COP25 in Santiago, Chile in December. While impacts are escalating, a growing number of citizens and youth are demanding climate action, but political momentum is slow, and not moving at the pace that is needed.”
“The UN Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit presents a unique opportunity for ambitious commitments to be made this year. Countries must respond to the crisis and demands ‘with plans, not speeches,’ as the UN Secretary General has said. We couldn’t agree more.’
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