Bonn climate talks: Technical issues turning political as countries try to hash out clear options for Paris rulebook

8 May, Bonn: With just two days left to conclude the Bonn intersessional meetings that will set parties on course for a successful COP24 in December, countries must use the time well to advance progress on several key issues.

Alden Meyer, Director, Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists:
 “
I would say that COP24 in Katowice is probably the most critical meeting since Paris. The world will be watching to see if countries are serious about implementing and strengthening the Paris Agreement. We have a mandate to adopt a package of rules to implement the Paris agreement across a range of issues. Those rules are essential to build confidence and trust in the system and facilitate greater ambition by both developed and developing countries,” said Meyer.
“Second, we need some clear political signals and a process going forward from COP24 on ways to enhance the ambition of the nationally determined contributions that countries have submitted under Paris. We don’t’ have to wait for the IPCC special report in October to know that what’s on the table now and being implemented falls far short of what’s needed to stay on track with temperature goals that countries agreed to in Paris.
And we have to figure out how to capture the very constructive spirit of the Talanoa Dialogue groups here on Sunday going into the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue process in Katowice. “

While the Bonn meetings have seen countries engaging substantially on all fronts, actual progress on some issues is lagging. This includes the vital question of finance.

Tracy Carty: Climate Change Policy Lead, Oxfam International: “At the end of this year there is going to [need to] be agreement on finance accounting rules. It’s very technical but what we’re talking about there is the rules that will govern what counts towards the US$ 100 billion commitment and these rules really need to build confidence that that commitment will be met in a way that is fair and in a way that is robust. And one of the key things on that front is it needs to include a commitment to grant equivalent accounting. And that’s a major issue because loans make up a massive portion of climate finance. In 2016, Oxfam estimates it was around two thirds and the vast majority of that was being counted at face value not taking account of repayments or interest paid and our estimate is that essentially amounted to an overstatement of the net assistance to developing countries by around US $ 20 billion per year.”

There are still sharp political differences to be overcome that have a potential to be carried forward in upcoming ministerial moments.

Li Shuo: Senior Climate & Energy Policy Officer, Greenpeace: As negotiations enter the second week, the progress and challenges for various rulebook issues are becoming clear. In general, Bonn has managed to advance these issues, but the different features of these issues also require tailor-made solutions. Finance and NDC would benefit from higher level political attention. Transparency will require more negotiation time. Other issues such as compliance and Global Stocktake are ready to move into text based negotiations.

As the session approaches its conclusion, a way forward is needed to transition the process from a technical to a political phase. The COP Presidencies have a unique role here in steering Parties out of the technical ‘forest’ towards a clear agenda for next session and a shared vision for Katowice.”

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