Update from the Bonn Intersessionals #FYEGClimateDel

Last week a delegation from FYEG arrived to Bonn to attend the Intersessionals of the UN Climate Talks. Here negotiators from all around the world are preparing for the UN limate talks in the end of this year in Lima and the new global deal, which will hopefully be reached in 2015 in Paris.

What happened in the last week:

Volveremos! We are back with greater strength and unity with other progressive groups. We had the official walk-in last Friday with other civil society groups who walked out from the corporate-captured COP19 in Warsaw. We were chanting, demanding the Ministers as well as delegations to take action and provide enabling policies to the community initiatives that we have been supporting. We also had the chance to represent YOUNGO with ENGO for the joint declaration of Volveremos presented to the Ministerial plenary through our head delegate Shenna. Check here!

There is one thing that changed the whole structure of the meeting. While the last days of a conference, normally masses of ministers arrive to resolve the last issues, which is hard to reach consensus. Now, in Bonn, the so called „Ministerials“ took place the 5th and 6th of June, so in the mid-beginning of the talks. There was hope lying in this to push the negotiations for the whole two weeks. In the end, only 46 ministers were there. It was a ministerial without ministers (CF our action #Missingministers). But from what the ministers said, you could think the climate crisis is solved. E.g. seven ministers referred to the decarbonization of the world’s economy. But most of the expressions where just said, with mostly no or to less ambition to reach this goal. Yet the decarbonization goal seems to be seriously taken in the upcoming discussion on urban planning.

ADP

The negotiations over the text for the new global deal will start soon. The body responsible for this is called the ADP, or Durban Platform. The full name of it is “Ad hoc working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action”. It has a mandate until Paris in 2015. Furthermore, the ADP is responsible for finding an agreement for the new deal to be ratified until 2020, with should contain pre-2020 ambition and lots of other things including ambition for post-2020.

Until their meeting in March, the Durban Platform was meeting as a whole. Then they began to split in Contact Groups, which are responsible for parts of the new deal, for instance adaptation to climate change, finance and mitigation (emission reductions). The discussion began with these groups. During the ongoing week, the other areas (technology transfer and capacity building) will be discussed.

Furthermore, the parties have hardly begun to discuss about INDCs, the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. “What’s this?” you may ask. At COP 19 (COP means “Conference of the Parties” and is the highest decision making body of the UNFCCC), the countries decided to submit, what they will do to solve the climate crisis. There were two discussions- the first on “commitments” vs. “contributions” and the second about the “when?”.

The first discussion was about the legal status, as commitments have higher (legal) standards then contributions, but in the end the developed nations hardly called for contributions- this is what is being discussed now. The outcome document also said that countries should present their “intended nationally determined contributions in the first quarter of 2015 but well in advance before COP 21”. It seems that this will happen in March. They are now in discussion as to what these INDCs should contain. Many developing nations together reached a proposed text, but this was not taken directly into the negotiations. Instead of this, the Chairs gave five bullet points to the delegates to reflect on them, so there is a document in the end. Understandably developing nations, are now pushing to use their text, as the UN Climate Talks are a “party driven process”.

CIVIL SOCIETY INCLUSION

There was huge interest of NGOs to observe discussions in the Contact Group, but the room was too small so only two delegates of each constituency could attend these talks. Constituencies are the overall network of NGOs and there are five of them: ENGO (for environmental NGOs as WWF, Greenpeace etc.), YOUNGO (youth), BINGO (business), INGO (indigenous people) and RINGO (research). By these networks it was seen as a try to keep NGOs out of the talks.

Another big thing was proposed by the secretariat: NGOs should pay a fee of $1000 USD if they want to make a side event (workshops that go alongside the official events), excluded in these are only YOUNGO and INGO. Currently NGOs are going on the barricades, as many of them don’t have enough capacities to pay this fee.

SBSTA TENSIONS

In the body responsible for technological and scientific advice, (one of the subsidiary bodies) huge fights are being played out. We can’t tell you more, as most of the meetings are closed. We only know that the issues relating to a new market mechanism are closed, because Parties are arguing about a so called “information sharing platform”. This should share information of the emission trading systems between countries.

Some countries seem to push now for a sentence like “this platform will lead to…” to implement a market for all the different carbon markets, which are currently existing. In the end these shall be linked. The problem is that this is like to create a market on the basis of one currency while sand, smartphones, money, hair, chairs, shells, coffee and so on are accepted as currency in the regions participating in this market. However, nearly all meetings are open to Civil Society now and it seems as they are making progress.

LOSS & DAMAGE

Loss & Damage refers to problems e.g. sea level rise and ocean acidification, which are already existing and how these problems will get financed by developing countries. In Warsaw it was agreed to negotiate this under adaption, while NGOs and developing nations were pushing to see it as a third area next to adaptation and mitigation.

In Warsaw they only set the up the “Warsaw Mechanism”, which has been strongly criticized in the past. This mechanism has now also a board yet unfortunately, the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), which are most affected by climate change, don’t have a seat in this Executive Board. Now it is discussed how this could be changed. Furthermore, Parties should have worked out a working-plan, but it is not finalized yet, so there will be a second meeting held in July/August.

GAME CHANGERS

China, USA, Mexico and some other states have changed the game here at Bonn – at least a little bit. They announced new emission reduction targets. USA is now working with EPA regulations to reduce their emissions by 30% in relation to their 2005 level. It isn’t enough, but still a bit.

China said they want to cap their emissions in the next Five-Year-Plan, which is a huge step, as China so far only announced to reduce their emissions.

Since the election of the New Prime Minister -known for his engagement against climate change- a lot of hope has been put in India as well.

And since some negotiations within UNFCCC are like the series “Game of Thrones” and to emphasise the urgency of action in the run-up to COP20 & COP21 (March is Coming!), we have organised with YOUNGO an interactive #GameOfClimate action to look for real climate champions. To get to the Iron, err, Green throne, negotiators have to possess and put on the table the following: ambition/no backsliding, commitment, participatory approach, equity, net zero carbon emissions, finance, etc. We have then crowned those who have what it takes to be climate leaders: Fiji, the Philippines & Peru.