At the close of the last negotiating session in Bonn, Germany on Friday, October 23 before ministers, heads of state, and negotiators meet in Paris to finalise what should be a comprehensive, ambitious, and universal climate agreement, parties are leaving with a clearer idea of the outline of the deal.
After a week of careful negotiating, there was concordance reached on some options, while discussion on other issues was taken as far as possible without the involvement of ministers and heads of state. During this session, parties took ownership of the text, building out their bloc positions and deepening a shared understanding on some contentious topics.
Ministers will begin to examine the text at the pre-COP, taking place on November 8-10 in Paris, before the discussion moves to COP21 on November 30. Support for ambitious climate action has never been higher, and leaders from the business, faith, national security, health, and justice communities around the world will assemble in Paris to display the full breadth of the movement.
“Everyone wants to play their cards late. But not everyone can have the ace of spades. This process is too important to be a high risk poker game. They need to put down their cards, and play together as a team,” says Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace.
Tasneem Essop of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), states: “Let us not underestimate what is at stake here. Impacts are already hitting home, affecting the world’s most vulnerable people and ecosystems first and foremost. That is why a Paris agreement must feature solutions to address the loss and damage caused by mounting climate impacts, affecting people and places from Manila to California.
“We know that finance is left to the last moments of negotiations and used as a bargaining chip. But governments need to know that this last moment is now. They now only have just six weeks to figure that out. We need to be clear about the scale, the predictability and additionality of the financial support needed to help countries cut emissions and adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change.”
However, Alix Mazounie of the RAC France believes that the French presidency will need to play a critical role.
His words: “Until the very last minute of the very last night of the Paris COP, they will be the gate-keepers of ambition and fairness. A success in Paris is not only about signing a universal deal, but about signing an ambitious universal deal. And while some countries may have chosen to keep us out of the room here in Bonn, they won’t be able to avoid us in Paris.
“We will be massively taking to the streets on November 28th and 29th – not just in Paris, but in cities all over the world. With our calls for climate action, we will make our voices heard throughout the talks. At the close of the COP, we will take to the streets of Paris again, reminding the leaders that we will not stop demanding progress and holding them accountable.”
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said that the draft text includes additional options that reflect the concerns of all countries. “We now have a Party-owned text that is balanced and complete. The challenge for governments is to bring it down to a much more concise and coherent form for adoption in Paris.”
French Climate Change Ambassador Laurence Tubiana said: “We have a manageable text for further work in Paris. While much work remains, the text is a good basis for negotiations and negotiations need to start from the first day of the conference.”
Both Ms. Figueres and Ms. Tubiana agreed that the political process between now and the beginning of the Paris Summit will be central to the success of the meeting.
A Pre-COP Ministerial meeting will take place in the French capital in early November to further address the high-level political issues relating to the draft agreement.
The G20 Heads of State will meet in Turkey in mid-November, followed by the Heads of State meeting of the Commonwealth in Malta just before the Paris Summit opens.