To be continued in Lima...
The energy generated by the climate march seemed to be evident during at the start of the October Bonn climate talks. Expectations were high and many were hoping to untie the political knots and deliver a much stronger mandate from capitals to negotiators at the session.
But this energy waned as negotiations were once again stuck in bifurcated discussions of developed and developing country demands. Though there was a small flicker of hope from certain countries to try and compromise, the results of Bonn left us feeling disappointed.
The task in Bonn had three main elements: 1) Finalize the draft decision text on WS2, 2) agree on the components of INDC information requirement decision text in order to be adopted in Lima and 3) work towards fleshing out elements of the draft negotiating text to be finalized in Lima.
Draft decisions were not finalized in Bonn and were punted to Lima, but the bigger concern is that the texts are interlinked in sequencing and with respect to ambition. In order to have a successful outcome in Lima the ADP co-chairs need to switch into higher gears.
The debates within the negotiations ranged from how to ensure WS2 looks beyond the technical expert meetings (TEMs) and focusses on the primary task of closing the gigaton gap. TEMs have been useful, they have played a handy informational role but now this needs to evolve into a role that supports real world implementation and action.
In this pre-2020 phase, countries must improve their existing mitigation and financial commitments, as these commitments provide the platform on which post-2020 ambition rests. Lower ambition in pre-2020 will aggravate trust issues between developed and developing countries and also add additional mitigation responsibility on countries for their post-2020 mitigation ‘contributions’.
During Bonn the Parties fiercely debated the draft information requirement text on INDCs - an element considered by some to be at the heart of the new agreement. There is no clarity from Parties as to what elements should be dealt with within the INDCs versus the broader 2015 agreement.
A mitigation component within INDCs is essential but other components, including adaptation and finance are equally important to some Parties. Debate over how initial contributions will be reviewed, assessed and increased should they fall short of the requisite ambition was heated. If the contributions are not sufficiently ambitious - rather than going the route of WS2 where we have to deal with closing the gap - we would preempt the gap and ensure overall ambition is in line with well below 2-degree pathway.
While some progress was made on the draft elements of the negotiating text the remaining areas still requires Parties to do a great deal of work on compromise, ambition and boosting current institutional structures. Although countries did work on various elements there was no conclusive convergence on key issues such as mitigation, finance and technology.
The ADP Co-Chairs did produce new texts for WS2 as well as for INDC information requirements, but the text for the draft decision on elements of the 2015 agreement was not revised. A few countries in the closing plenary commented on the lack of progress and called for the need to move on from discussion to negotiation mode.
The talks will continue in Lima.. The results of these discussions are unknown, although it is expected in Lima that Parties will kick it into high gear to hopefully adopt these decisions texts and not waste time. All eyes will be on the Lima COP to lay the foundation of the 2015 agreement..
Negotiators will have to agree on the contours of this agreement during the first week in order for ministers to agree in the 2nd week. No pressure, Lima!