Bonn climate talks: Finance and trust key to success for COP28

15 June 2023

Talks dominated by impasse on agenda exposes lack of trust in wealthy nations on delivery of finance  

Bonn, 15 June 2023: The 10-day ‘agenda fight’ which dominated the UNFCCC Bonn climate talks brought to the fore the glaring lack of finance that is essential for climate progress.
Decades of mistrust on the delivery of finance, for instance with the $100bn due in 2020 still unfulfilled, forced open a conversation on the need for actual money on the table for poorer countries to implement their climate action plans to phase out fossil fuels and make a just and equitable transition towards renewables.

To keep the world on track to limit warming below 1.5ºC we need rapid far-reaching emission cuts and the finance to make this possible.

COP28 in Dubai must be the moment to signal the end of the fossil fuel era and ensure countries commit to a plan for fair, fast and funded phase out from fossil fuels alongside commitments to scale up renewable energy and energy efficiency.   

Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy, Climate Action Network International:  
“The Bonn Climate Conference laid bare the glaring hypocrisy of wealthy nations, showcasing a remarkable indifference to the struggles of developing countries. Let’s be clear: without honouring their financial pledges—directly tied to their historical role in driving the climate crisis—these affluent nations lack the moral authority to exert pressure on poorer countries. Developing nations face the monumental task of eradicating poverty, fostering green development, and coping with escalating climate disasters. They deserve unwavering support, not undue pressure.”

Fernanda de Carvalho, WWF Global Climate and Energy Policy Lead:
“We came to Bonn to prepare for a COP that delivers on all fronts: phasing out fossil fuels while phasing in renewables; strengthening adaptation and loss and damage and support to the most vulnerable; and a strong stocktake that keeps a 1.5˚C future within reach. Instead, what we saw here was disappointing: process issues delaying action and a lack of trust between countries.
This doesn’t match the urgency and the need for rapid and deep cuts in emissions highlighted by science. We must get on track for COP28 to contribute to closing the ambition, adaptation and finance gap. The scale of political will needed from world leaders is as enormous as the global climate crisis. The world can’t afford to waste any more time.”

Teresa Anderson, ActionAid International’s Global Lead on Climate Justice: 
“UN climate talks this week exposed a gaping hole in the funding needed to pay for climate action. Developing countries are being pushed deeper into debt by the costs of climate disasters, but the promised funding to cope with climate impacts and scale up green technologies still hasn’t appeared. Meanwhile, rich countries are trying to artificially inflate the numbers with loans and carbon markets, which are likely to do more harm than good to communities on the ground.
It’s not surprising that developing countries are reluctant to negotiate further commitments if they suspect they won’t get the funding to deliver them. After all these years of broken promises, developing countries no longer want to take that leap of faith.  

“All eyes are looking ahead to COP28 climate talks, in the hope of finalising a new fund to address loss and damage. The same crunchy questions around cash will need to be resolved if climate talks are to have a chance of really helping people on the front lines of the crisis. 

“Unless the upcoming Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris next week leads to unconditional debt cancellation and scaled up grant-based finance then it is unlikely to deliver the breakthrough that is so urgently needed. 

“Agriculture negotiations in Bonn were another major disappointment, with governments unable to agree to anything, let alone real solutions for food security, smallholder farmers and the climate. Instead, we saw some countries trying to push a horrifying buffet of corporate agriculture approaches such as biotechnology and artificial intelligence in agriculture.”

Andreas Sieber, Associate Director of Global Policy,
“COP28 President and oil CEO Al Jaber says at the UN climate talks that fossil fuel reduction is unavoidable. it’s time for action, talk alone is cheap. Al Jaber must step up by presenting a solid plan and selecting a pair of ministers to facilitate and elevate discussion on energy transition. COP28 cannot conclude without committing to a complete and equitable fossil fuel phase-out and setting ambitious renewable energy targets.”

Sébastien Duyck, Senior Attorney; Campaign Manager Human Rights & Climate, Center for International Environmental Law:
The UN climate talks are going in the wrong direction, and we do not have time to waste. It is hard to imagine Sultan Al Jaber advancing an agenda for a full, fair, funded, and equitable fossil fuel phaseout and respect for human rights at COP. UAE’s history of repression and surveillance creates justified fear for climate advocates planning to attend COP28.
We must reset the table. For climate policies to deliver just and effective action, the voices of those most impacted by climate harms and the fossil economy must be at the negotiating table, and we must end corporate capture of policy making at these negotiations.”

Susann Scherbarth, Head of Climate Justice, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND e.V.):
“The path towards the global climate conference in Dubai this November remains uncharted. Instead of taking responsibility for curbing the climate crisis and providing trillions to support the poor and vulnerable, wealthy nations such as the United States and the European Union have pointed fingers at poorer nations for impeding progress. As a result, the upcoming climate negotiations in Dubai find themselves engulfed in a big sandstorm of uncertainty.
But it’s crystal clear what needs to come out of the world climate conference in November: a fast, fair and funded phase out of all fossil fuels and secured substantial financial commitments in trillions from wealthy nations. These funds are crucial to empower and support the poor and vulnerable in effectively tackling the climate crisis in a way that leaves no one behind. Wealthy nations like Germany need to end their shopping sprees around the world, where they fill their bags with gas and colonial patterns.”

Alex Rafalowicz, Executive Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty:
“We are in the midst of a climate crisis happening here and now. Some governments are taking this seriously like Fiji which publicly called for a fossil fuel treaty. The COP presidency, UAE, notably shifted and said that the phase down of fossil fuels is inevitable. So the question for these negotiations is how we are going to make that transition happen faster and fairer. The signs coming out of Bonn are concerning.
During the climate talks, the United States and other countries that are some of the biggest producers of fossil fuels actively blocked proposals for full consideration of the just transition issue. If we can’t talk about just transition and how we work together, we are not going to accelerate that transition to meet the deadline that we have. For that reason people across the world have declared that they are going to fight back and fight for the end of fossil fuels, fast, fair and forever.”

Jazmín Rocco Predassi, Climate Policy Coordinator, Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN):
“SB58 was supposed to deliver the first steps of the new Sharm el-Sheikh joint work on implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security, including a roadmap and future workshop topics. Instead, it provided a glimpse of the difficulties to address this complex sector in the climate negotiations that we have seen over the past few years, as it was only able to come up with procedural conclusions. It is yet to be seen how much this four-year joint work can provide for concrete solutions to the climate and food crises, and whether trust can be rebuilt among Parties and Observers at COP28.”

Marlene Achoki, Global Policy Co-lead Climate Justice with CARE International:
“COP28 in December this year must deliver a milestone for operationalising the Global Goal on Adaptation, as agreed 2 years ago in Glasgow. This must come along with a clear increase for adaptation finance on the way to doubling the overall amount by 2025. It is critical that impacted communities have access to resources that enable them to lead adaptation efforts and thrive in these uncertain and changing conditions. Disappointingly, the Bonn climate talks have not delivered the progress we all very much need on the Global Goal on Adaptation and governments are not on track to reach a real breakthrough at COP28.”

Mariana Paoli, Global Advocacy Lead, Christian Aid:
“If rich countries want to be taken seriously they need to ensure their funding of the Loss and Damage Fund is done far, far more quickly. The avenues for raising their contribution to the fund are numerous, from taxing the war profits of the fossil fuel companies to a frequent flyer levy or wealth taxes.   It’s worth remembering that after these two weeks in Bonn, the people on the front line of the climate crisis remain in a perilous state.  Talk is cheap. We will only get on track to a safe and prosperous world with concrete action.”

Olha Boiko, CAN EECCA coordinator, Ecoaction, Ukraine:
“As the SBs ending, there’s already forest fires raging between Canada and Kazakhstan, there’s water shortage in the Caucasus and Central Asia and the emissions from the Russian war on Ukraine reached 120 mln tones of CO² eq. There is an expectation that the developing countries would be climate leaders and at the same time keep providing their fossil fuels and raw materials to the rich countries. We need to see clear commitments for green transition support from the developed countries leading to COP28, because fossil fuel dependency keeps deepening inequality, suffering and conflicts.”

Pratishtha Singh, Senior International Policy Analyst, Climate Action Network Canada:
“Another round of climate negotiations ended in Bonn, and the rich nation’s hypocrisy and failure to meet their Paris obligations is deeply disappointing. Without the climate finance that is so direly needed, the world will not simply not reach the level of ambition needed to limit warming to 1.5.
To the blockers, our message is clear: despite the dirty tactics, the momentum on a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels, operationalisation of the Global Goal on Adaptation Framework and strengthening the Loss & Damage Fund is unstoppable, and we will secure a COP28 outcome that gives hope, and connects the needs of people and communities everywhere with the decisions governments take in this space.”

Cat Pettengell, Executive Director, Climate Action Network UK (CAN-UK):
The second Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage here at SB58 enabled Parties to make clear their views on the central importance of the new fund for addressing Loss and Damage – which must be established at COP28 – and the need for new, additional, adequate and reliable finance for those on the front line of the climate crisis. The Transitional Committee must deliver on this by COP28, there can be no further delay in establishing a fund to enable countries least responsible for the climate crisis to address the impacts of climate change. 

Catalina Gonda, Australian Rainforest Conservation Society:
“The massive under delivery of climate finance and geopolitical tensions are eroding trust and progress in the negotiating rooms. Rich countries keep evading their financial commitments and big polluters are deviating attention from what needs to be done: a just and equitable transition away from all fossil fuels and industrial agriculture. By talking about “unabated” fossil fuels, unrealistic techno-fixes and carbon markets, they’re just kicking the can and making this crisis increasingly worse. We need the Global Stocktake at COP28 to be a major wake up call and course correction moment to get the world on track to 1.5ºC and achieve climate justice”. 

Claudio Angelo, head of Communications and Climate Policy, Observatório do Clima, Brazil:
As dystopian images of climate impact continue to flood the news, climate negotiations fail once again to connect to the real world. What was supposed to be a technical meeting in Bonn was thwarted by politics-as-usual in a week-long agenda fight. One of the chairs of the session told delegates he felt like talking to schoolchildren. That was unfair: schoolchildren do grasp the problem and its urgency, unlike diplomats in Bonn.

Ann Harrison, Senior Advocate, Amnesty International: 

Positively, we finally got some progress on the recognition of the obligation to respect and protect  the human rights of participants at UNFCCC meetings. This is an important step which will need to be followed up by effective measures, especially ahead of COP28 in Dubai, as the dismal human rights record of the UAE is causing real and justified fear among participants planning to attend and will lead to missing critical voices. We absolutely need Indigenous Peoples, frontline communities and marginalised groups to be able to participate and speak up, especially as COP28 must deliver on a fast and fair end of the fossil fuels era and the delivery of grant-based finance to less wealthy countries for climate action and loss and damage. 

Mattas Söderberg, Global Climate Lead, DanChurchAid:
While the climate crisis is accelerating, UN climate talks continue in the same slow pace as many times before. This is not only disappointing, it is deeply worrying. People and communities in vulnerable countries are already facing the effects of climate change, and there is need for urgent action around the world. That includes to ensure a just transition to a green and resilient future, including the phase out of all fossil fuels, scaled up to support adaptation in developing countries, and establishment of a new fund to address climate related loss and damage. Ministers will have a very busy climate summit in Dubai, in December. 

Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift Africa:
“The COP28 President is the CEO of a state oil company. Yet he could be the man to oversee agreement this year on the transition to a phaseout of all fossil fuels.  For people in Africa, fossil fuel driven climate change is making us suffer terribly. Let this year’s Dubai COP28 be where we begin our recovery.  A managed transition from dirty to clean energy will be in the interests of Sultan Al Jaber and the UAE.  He himself admitted in Bonn that a phasedown of fossil fuels was inevitable. The end is coming for oil and gas so why not begin the managed transition rather than a chaotic and more drastic stop that will disrupt the economies of the Gulf far more.”

Romain Ioualalen, Global Policy Lead, Oil Change International:
“Officials and civil society look to the Bonn conference as a major moment for the COP presidency to outline its summit plan. There is no room for fossil fuel expansion while limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. COP28 must enshrine an immediate fossil fuel phase out and lay the path for the end of oil, gas, and coal. People around the world will escalate this September at the United Nations in New York and beyond to secure a full, fair, fast, and funded fossil fuel phase out and massive expansion of renewable energy.”

Tom Evans, Policy Advisor at E3G:
“The big prize at COP28 is an ambitious political deal in response to the global stocktake to get climate action on track. The stocktake will measure our progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement. We know we are failing to limit warming to 1.5C and unprepared for climate disasters. Yet here in Bonn, negotiators have been playing the blame game and pointing fingers at each other’s insufficient action. Meanwhile the UAE left governments in the dark on their plans for how they hope to get world leaders rallying around a shared vision. There’s a real risk we end up with a lowest common denominator outcome if champion countries don’t step in to cobble a deal together before COP28.”

Sven Harmeling, International Climate Policy Coordinator, CAN Europe:
“The Bonn UN climate  change talks ended today with little tangible progress on the way to COP28 later this year in Dubai after days of an agenda dispute over the inclusion of the mitigation work programme.  The negotiations again laid open that we need much more ambition on emission reductions and saw sharpened attention on the need for an equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels. The EU, positively, was among those calling for more intense mitigation discussions at the session, but also needs to step up financial support to poorer countries to facilitate a quicker energy transition. This is critical in addition to increasing the EU’s own reduction targets, as also the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change (ESABCC) proposed with necessary reductions of 90-95% already by 2040.”

Rachel Simon – International Climate Finance Policy Expert at CAN Europe:
“2023 is the fourth year by which rich countries should have delivered $100 billion climate finance to support countries in the Global South, and uncertainty still remains whether it will be met. Moreover delivering the commitment in full means making up shortfalls in early years, and should equate to $600 billion over 2020-25. Against this backdrop it is no wonder that finance proved extremely divisive during the intersessionals. The EU needs to stop hiding in the shadows on the finance agenda and drive forward collective progress amongst rich countries, particularly scaling up grants for adaptation where there is a huge gap. 

The EU played a more constructive role in the second Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage, and should use the months before COP28 and the work of the transitional committee to make firm recommendations on how an equitable fund can be set-up which releases finance fast to vulnerable communities in the Global South. Another key opportunity to move forward new finance to address loss and damage lies at the New Global Financing Pact Summit in Paris 22-23 June, where countries can agree to progress fossil fuel taxation, levies on aviation and shipping which answer to global equity.”

Nithi Nesadurai, Director & Regional Coordinator, Climate Action Network Southeast Asia:
“Once again, climate negotiators representing governments worldwide have not reflected the urgency needed at these SB58 meetings to come up with outcomes which can be tabled for adoption at COP28. This will slow down the adoption of decisions at COP28 to phase out fossil fuels with just transition based on equity and financial support. The leading cause of division and loss of trust was the intransigence of developed countries to meet their commitments to provide finance. Developed countries are urged to meet their finance commitments and resolve sticky issues based on equity and fair shares in the run up to COP28 so that decisions can be taken to seriously address the current climate emergency. This includes phasing out fossil fuels.”

For enquiries:
Please reach out to Dharini Parthasarathy, Global Communications Lead, Climate Action Network International at / whatsapp +918826017830 and copy to 

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