Bonn climate talks: no change in parties' negotiating positions

Parties anxious to start discussions to reach 2015 agreement

 
By Uthra Radhakrishnan
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

All parties were in congratulatory mood at the closing of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-2) at Bonn in Germany. They said that the roundtables and workshops held at the session would be very useful in bringing clarity to the concepts and issues that would form the 2015 agreement. (The new, global agreement will seek to meet a UN goal of limiting global warming to a maximum 2°C over pre-industrial levels.) At the same time, they called for a “more focused and structured mode” of discussion at the Conference of Parties (CoP) in Warsaw, Poland in November.

They praised the work done by co-chairs Harald Dovland from Norway and J M Mauskar from India, and welcomed the incoming co-chairs Artur Runge Metzger from the European Union and Kishan Kumarsinghe representing Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

Now, only four formal rounds of negotiations remain before the final gathering at Paris. Parties are, therefore, anxious to advance steps towards starting to hold discussions in contact groups and draft legal texts.

The closing positions of most parties remained unchanged in their fundamental elements. G77 and China reiterated that any agreement in 2015 would have to be under the convention and be subject to its principles and provisions, particularly those concerning equity, Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) and Respective Capabilities (RC).

Australia, speaking on behalf of the Umbrella Group (all major emitting developed countries except the EU) reiterated that any agreement will have to be a global endeavour and “we must all work together.” Some parties called for ex-ante or upfront clarity on individual agreements that come by 2014. While some parties did not spell out exactly where they were looking for in terms of clarity, some did. Sandea De Wet from South Africa said, “We believe the discussions thus far are somewhat lacking in balance. Any chance of averting global catastrophe would need clear understanding of fair shares and equitable sharing of effort for each country which will also provide for equitable access to sustainable development.” He said that the 2020 agreement will need a set of rules for fair and equitable effort.

Chile, speaking for Association of Independent Latin American and Caribbean states (AILAC), proposed the need for a system for nationally determined targets. A formal discussion on whether a top-down or bottom-up approach should be used in determining parties’ contributions to the agreement is yet to be held. As parties move into more focused discussions, this issue is bound to come up again and could be the defining issue for how any future agreement will come into force.

The Arab Group, known for its not-so-constructive engagement, intervened to say that the countries within this group “will, no doubt, resume their fair share of global efforts. It (the group) will delink emissions from its growth strategies and implement new and renewable strategies.” Having said that, it issued a warning saying, “It will not accept those who want to sidestep the Convention and shift the burden to developing countries from developed countries.” It reiterated that the 2015 agreement will need to have a principled approach grounded in science and equity (see 'Group positions').
 

GROUP POSITIONS
 
G77 and China

  • Process under ADP must not lead to rewriting of the UN Convention
  • Emphasis on equity and CBDR/RC
  • Group attaches high priority to adaptation and Means of Implementation (finance and technology transfer)
  • Amendments adopted in Doha in relation to Kyoto Protocol must be ratified as soon as possible
  • Increased mitigation ambition by 2014 by Annex-I parties and comparable targets by those developed countries outside Annex-I
 
AFRICAN GROUP

  • Re-affirmed that the 2015 agreement is not an opportunity to renegotiate the principle of the Convention
  • Science and equity will be the central drive for future agreement
  • Technical paper on adaptation welcomed
  • Have started engaging on mitigation ambition, but are yet to understand how principles of Convention will be captured in finance and adaptation
 
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

  • Agreement should be a Protocol under the Convention to all Parties adopted no later then 2015 and build on foundations of the Convention including Kyoto Protocol
  • New legally-binding agreement should have universal participation
  • Guided by knowledge that unless we reduce greenhouse gas well before 2020, the goal to stay within 2°C will be lost
  • We put forward a technical proposal in this light that focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency; call parties to make submissions on this
  • Developed countries do need to take lead; untapped mitigation potential should be tapped into at home first
  • Meanwhile, all countries explore mitigation potential available
  • Process is not to shift burden but an opportunity to overcome barriers
  • Mechanism to address loss and damage in Warsaw
 
Least Developed Countries (LDC)

  • Equitable, ambitious and effective protocol to be adopted in 2015
  • Should be based on science and equity; including women, children and sustainable development for all
  • Severity of extreme weather events have potential to roll back decades of development
  • Mitigation consistent to limiting temperature to 1.5°C
 
Like-minded Developing Countries (LMG)

  • Developing countries are doing their part
  • Call on others to do their part, particularly developed countries due to their historical responsibility and capability
  • CBDR bedrock of our work
  • Concentrate on four pillars of Bali Action Plan
  • Developed countries should demonstrate leadership, in both mitigation and finance; also increase ambition to 40 per cent below 1990 levels and adopt more sustainable
 
lifestyles and provide leadership in sustainable development

  • Cautious regarding proposals put forward on mitigation. Such sectoral actions as HFC and energy must be under the Convention
  • Meaningfully operationalise institutions on technology transfer and finance
  • Clear roadmap for developed countries to fulfill financial support of $100 billion by 2020
  • IPRs should be addressed under WS 2 (There are two work streams under ADP--work stream 1 or WS1 discusses elements of the future agreement to be made in 2015 which will be implemented in 2020; work stream 2 or WS 2 discusses how ambition in the short term period (pre-2020) can be increased to close the existing mitigation gap)
     
 
Independent Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (AILAC)

  • We are bound by urgency; intergenerational equity to be considered
  • System for nationally-determined targets is needed
  • Ex-ante review is needed for fair shares considering equity and science
  • Dynamic mechanism that allows us to revisit and increase our commitment based on differentiated responsibilities and capabilities
  • Robust and effective compliance mechanism based on both incentives and structures for accountability
  • WS2 a priority. We consider inputs being put forward by parties are catalytic
  • Energy was a good starting point with many significant co-benefits
  • Work needs to be done on providing spaces, including new pledges and moving up
 
Environment Integrity Group (EIG)

  • Each party will be turning in a quantifiable objective manner, including targets and ambitions grounded in notions of fairness and equity
  • Need ex-ante clarity for what kinds of targets will come forth and timing and determining the anchoring of the commitments
  • Two steps are needed in Warsaw—what elements will have to be further developed
  • Agreeing on concrete work on elements identified
  • Progress our understanding on how 2015 agreement will reflect Means of Implementation
  • Under WS2, moment for those parties who have not yet submitted pledges to do so
  • Mitigation potential needs to be commonly understood and analysed
  • Initiatives outside of UNFCCC can contribute and complement work going on here
 
The European Union (EU)

  • Work stream 1 (WS1): We need to take further steps for a single, legally-binding agreement which must be durable and flexible
  • Emphasise upfront clarity of individual agreements
  • We need to move forward as a matter of urgency
  • Build on initiatives and proposals made under WS2 leading to a ministerial in Warsaw
  • At CoP-19, we want to achieve strong deliverable on implementation and moving towards a legally-binding agreement in 2015
  • Under WS2, need for new pledges in addition to increasing existing pledges
  • Look forward to decision on seeing UNFCCC give the mandate for regulating HFCs to Montreal Protocol
 
Umbrella Group

  • It’s only by taking genuinely global action that we can lead in taking this global endeavour; we must all work together
  • Ambition and fairness in the 2015 agreement should be achieved through a consultative process
  • Draw ideas on adaptation and Means of Implementation and how this can be reflected in 2015 package, including how this will be reflected in existing institutions
  • Need to better understand who have not yet made a 2020 pledge
  • Comparative work outside UNFCCC critical
  • Warsaw critical to a future agreement; there should be focused highlight on the real action happening on the ground
  • National actions are what will lead us to ensure that we meet our commitments

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