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Civil society concern as Bonn climate talks close

Non-governmental organisation (NGO) observers called out the juxtaposition between growing real world momentum for a 100% renewable energy world and the slow pace of the UN climate negotiations which came to a close in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, June 11, 2015.

Jaco du Toit, climate change officer, WWF
Jaco du Toit, climate change officer, WWF. Photo credit: www.wwf.org.za

In the negotiations toward a new global climate agreement due to be signed in Paris this December, countries will agree that the the co-chairs in charge will produce a new draft for senior politicians to review. This will allow them to tackle crunch issues over the coming months before talks resume in August. The co-chairs will also set forward initial ideas about how a Paris package covering finance, mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage should be structured. And after difficult negotiations, all countries have come forward with proposals to achieve more ambitious and immediate emissions cuts over the next five years – another key element of the Paris package. A work programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation also closed, providing guidance to those working in the field.

Officials of member organisations of the Climate Action Network (CAN) International have been commenting on the development.

Jaco du Toit,  climate change officer, WWF: “The reality is that we need much faster progress on the post-2020 negotiations, that we need to ramp up what we are doing already, that we cannot ignore that impacts are already hitting people everywhere, and that the solutions, from falling renewable energy prices to low carbon transport are out there, waiting to be scaled up.”

Mohamed Adow, senior climate change advisor, Christian Aid: “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.”

Jake Schmidt, director of international programme, Natural Resources Defense Council“All around the world, we are witnessing a groundswell of climate action – from companies, governments and financial institutions. Now there is a clear path for our leaders to make the necessary, bold decisions in the coming months that will ensure historic international action on climate change.”

Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics, Greenpeace: “The Luddites of climate action in the coal and oil industry should take note of the signals coming from G7 and progressive business leaders.   The negotiators in Bonn should take note too, and make more rapid progress in the upcoming formal and informal meetings.  The Paris climate protocol should accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels, building in new commitments from major emitting countries every five years,  so that we can achieve the vision of 100% renewable energy by 2050.”

Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy, Union of Concerned Scientists: “From floods and droughts to hurricanes, typhoons and heat waves, the impacts of climate change are increasingly evident all over the world. The world expects an agreement in Paris that accelerates the shift away from a global economy based on polluting fossil fuels towards one based on clean renewable energy sources, and that helps vulnerable communities deal with climate impacts.  Ministers and national leaders must actively engage with each other over the summer to provide the political guidance that will enable their negotiators to pick up the pace when they return to Bonn in late August.”

Jan Kowalzig, climate change policy adviser, Oxfam: “Negotiators avoided a show-down over crunch issues like finance and increasing near term emissions cuts, but they are only delaying the inevitable. A clearer mandate from Heads of State and ministers is needed to ignite the talks and ensure key questions are answered. Upcoming events like the Financing for Development meeting in Addis, the UN General Assembly in New York or the G20 in Turkey offer the perfect opportunity for high level political signals to be sent. Political leaders need to give a clear steer on how to address the inadequacy of current emissions reductions pledges, but also on the urgent financial support needed for the most vulnerable countries and populations.”

Niranjali M. Amerasinghe, director, climate & energy programme, Center for International Environmental Law: “The conclusion of the work program on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation provides a little more clarity on safeguards reporting and the importance of promoting the multiple benefits that forests provide, but it is minimal. Now all eyes are on finance and implementation, and we will have to be vigilant in tracking whether safeguards are actually respected on the ground.” 

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