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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Governments shift gear toward delivery of new climate pact

The road map to a new universal climate agreement will step into a higher gear over the next two months as the world works towards Paris in December.

Bonn, Germany. Photo credit: destination360.com
Bonn, Germany. Photo credit: destination360.com

Governments on Thursday in Bonn, Germany at the close of the UN Climate Talks asked the two delegates who are co-chairing the negotiations to table text in mid-July that begins shaping what will be the Paris agreement and what will be the supporting decisions – the so called “Paris Package”.

The decisions will operationalise the ambition contained in the Paris Agreement which is aimed at deeper, more accelerated and long term global action to address climate change: namely by keeping a global temperature rise under 2 degrees C while protecting the vulnerable from harmful impacts.

The co-chairs text should also make it easier for governments including ministers to identify the key political decisions that will have to be taken at and in advance of the UN climate convention conference in France.

Several key ministerial meetings have been organised over the coming months including by the French Presidency of the UN climate conference.

“The path to Paris is now happening on both the political and negotiating levels and with a mood of exceptional confidence and engagement – what is being managed here is no longer resistance to an agreement but complexity,
enthusiasm and an understanding that every nation is playing its part,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“The negotiations are also occurring against the backdrop of an accelerating wave of climate action from non-State actors including cities, regions, territories and companies which is contributing confidence to the process,” she said.

“Each moving part is gearing and firing up the rest to advance forward and to ensure the world remains on track to deliver in Paris,” said Ms. Figueres.

“Governments are committed to reach an agreement that sets down the pathways and the supporting structures for a century-long transformation that allows all countries to reach a sustainable, clean energy future,” she added.

“What is occurring is in many ways unprecedented in the history of international cooperation in respect to vision and scale. Everyone’s concerns are being accommodated and everything has to move in parallel – it is understandably a complex but now also a very dynamic process,” said Ms. Figueres.


Major Impetus from G7 and Non-State Actors

During the Bonn meeting, the global commitment to keep the world below a 2˚C temperature rise received significant impetus from the industrialised G7 nations.

The G7, at their summit in Schloss Elmau, Germany, issued a final communique which emphasised that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century. They also said they would continue efforts to provide USD 100 billion a year by 2020 to support developing countries own climate actions.

Meanwhile, a new report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found that non-State climate initiatives might bring emissions savings of close to 1.8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020.

The Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA, see http://climateaction.unfccc.int/), launched at the last UN climate conference in Lima, Peru, is showcasing this wealth of city to company action in support of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA, see http://climateaction.unfccc.int/aboutlpaa.aspx).

Countries under the UNFCCC reconvene in Bonn from 31 August to 4 September where the new text developed by co-chairs Ahmed Djoghlaf of Algeria and Daniel Reifsnyder of the United States will form the basis of the next
round of negotiations.

A further round of negotiations is scheduled for October in advance of the Paris climate conference (COP 21).


Further highlights from the Bonn meeting

The Bonn climate change meeting also addressed a range of technical and implementation-related work.


Forests protection

Governments made important progress on how to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). A package of three decisions, which is to be approved by COP 21, covers the transparency and quality of
information countries must report when implementing their forest protection programmes, in particular on how they are addressing safeguards, for example those related to indigenous rights and biodiversity.


Multilateral Assessment

The second round of the multilateral assessment (MA) successfully concluded at the Bonn Climate Change Conference on 5 June 2015. This process offered Parties a unique opportunity to assess how developed countries are
implementing actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A total of 24 developed countries were assessed on how they are progressing towards their economy-wide emission reduction targets.

Countries presented their actions in an open way, outlining national circumstances, challenges and achievements. Countries agreed that being informed of the actions that others are undertaking and how significantly increased transparency and trust.


2013-15 Review report

Governments meeting in Bonn discussed a review of whether the internationally agreed goal to keep the global average temperature from rising beyond 2°C above pre-industrial levels is adequate to meet the current challenge of climate change.

A central conclusion of the report is that it is critically important to stay within 2°C or lower in order to avoid the worst climate impacts. The recommendations will be forwarded to the COP.


Dialogue on climate education and training

Governments and other stakeholders shared their experiences and ideas regarding Article 6 of the UNFCCC. Article 6, which also has been given a face-lift at the meeting by being re-branded Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), focuses on climate change education, training, public awareness, public access to information and international cooperation.

A special dialogue with key stakeholders on climate change education, training and international cooperation also took place. At the event, George Marshall, founder of the Climate Outreach Information Network and author of “Don’t Even Think About It: Why our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change”, gave an inspiring keynote address.


Gender and climate change

An in-session workshop on gender-responsive climate policy, mandated by the Lima Work Programme on Gender, took place over two days on 8 & 9 June.

Both days were well attended and many good ideas on concrete action, overcoming challenges and enhancing synergies within the UNFCCC process and in national strategies were aired over the duration of the workshop, via
presenters, panelists and participants.

Countries have requested the report to be published as soon as possible in order that the ideas and actions identified can be used by Parties in their preparations for Paris.


Work on Raising Immediate Ambition

As part of work to raise ambition before 2020, when the new agreement comes into effect, technical expert meetings on renewable energy supply and energy efficiency in urban areas took place in Bonn, building on similar meetings last year.

The meetings focused on the most promising and feasible technologies and policies that could be implemented and scaled up in the near future.

For renewable energy supply, this includes distributed power generation and key financial incentives such as feed-in tariffs.

In the area of urban energy efficiency, participants said that due to rapidly growing urban populations, trillions of dollars in new investments need to be channeled into low-carbon and greater resilience to climate change.

Experts looked at solutions ranging from energy efficient buildings to sustainable urban transport.


Climate Action Fair

At the Bonn conference, the Climate Action Fair also provided an opportunity for leaders from business, politics and intergovernmental organisations to discuss renewable energy and energy efficiency.

A key message that emerged from the fair is that business and city leaders are driving innovation and transformational change, and can do more with the right policies in place.

For example, at the fair, the furnishing company IKEA announced plans to spend 1 billion Euros on renewable energy and steps to help poor nations cope with climate change.

The information and communications industry under the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (Gesi) also showed how it can help to deliver a 20% reduction of global emissions by 2030, and over USD$11 trillion in new economic benefits.

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