Scalpels and sutures on the table as UN climate talks open in Bonn

19 October 2015

Bonn, Germany – Monday, October 19, 2015: Today marked the opening of the final instalment of UN climate negotiations before heads of state, ministers, and negotiators head to Paris in December to finalise what should be a comprehensive and universal climate agreement. 

Ahead of the UN talks, the co-chairs responsible for the negotiations around the Paris agreement have put forward a dramatically shorter suggested draft text on which they hope the countries will begin substantive negotiations. On the opening day, country blocs like the Africa Group and G77+China pushed to add text to the draft because many of their key proposals were dropped by the co-chairs. These "surgical insertions" of critical, concise text will be integrated throughout the day, as negotiations proceed towards line-by-line discussions. 
The talks begin against a backdrop of major events like the new finance commitments, Pope Francis' world tour, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's leaders' luncheon, the US-China declaration, and the Islamic Declaration have all contributed to a growing momentum for strong international climate action. This is matched by community and business leaders who are driving the inevitable and beneficial transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy around the world.

On the ground in Bonn, CAN members made the following comments: 

“It was never going to be a totally smooth process to whittle down the negotiating text; the stakes are so high. Now, parties are beginning to take more ownership of the text–which was inevitably going to happen before Paris. With the co-chairs’ ‘surgical insertions,’ we’re seeing a delicate operation take place, and we need it to be as pain-free as possible.”
-Liz Gallagher, E3G
“We need the countries who have been vocal advocates for strong action outside of the talks to ‘walk the talk’ while they’re here and continue to call for an ambitious long-term goal that gets us to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Central to a strong Paris agreement should be a call to decarbonise the global economy and the inclusion of a robust review process, not just a talkshop, based on five-year commitment periods.”
-Jens Mattias Clausen, Greenpeace Nordic

“The co-chairs’ starting point for negotiations is currently ‘all hat and no trousers.’ There are headings, but nothing substantial underneath. Adaptation and loss and damage get separate headers, which is good, but detail on finance and other mechanisms are vague or missing altogether. This week in Bonn, country groups like the G77 will be asking to see their previous proposals on adaptation and loss and damage reflected in the iteration of the text that goes to ministers at high level events, like the pre-COP meeting in Paris next month.”

-Saleemul Huq, International Centre for Climate Change and Development
Webcast: The press conference was webcast live and is available on demand here:

CAN will be holding a press briefing tomorrow, Tuesday October 20, at 11:00 CEST. For a one-to-one interview with our spokespeople, please contact Ria Voorhaar, CAN International on +49 157 3173 5568 or email:

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: 


Support CAN

Help us build power in the climate movement by contributing a one-time or recurring donation that will go to supporting our global work as well as various activities and campaigns in communities in different regions.

Donate to CAN

Stay informed

Subscribe to receive monthly updates on the latest on the climate movement including the content from across the network, upcoming climate change events, news articles and opinion pieces on climate, straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter