Even as the global climate change summit in Bonn drew itself close to its end, representatives from multiple countries all across the world seemed confident that important progress was being made in transforming sustained political commitment into action in the real world.
Forming a set of rules that can help countries to together defeat global warming, formed from the unprecedented global agreement that was achieved in Paris in 2015, was the task of the UN talks. In what has been described as a catastrophic outcome the world is set to increases its average temperature by 3C at the current pace of global warming very soon.
Frank Bainimarama, Fiji’s prime minister and president of the summit emphasized the importance of that UN task: “We are not simply negotiating words on a page, but we are representing all our people and the places they call home.”
The efforts have resulted in formation of a skeleton for the Paris rulebook which now comprises of a set of headings that is related to relating to the manner in which action on emissions is to be reported and monitored. Details of this would be finalized next year.
“The worst outcome would have been to end up with empty pages, but that is not going to happen,” said a German negotiator.
What the rich nations were doing before start of the Paris accord in 2020 was one issue that did flare up at the talks. There were not enough steps being taken, argued the developing nations.
And a very sensitive topic – climate funding from rich nations, overshadowed the final hours of the negotiations. In order to allow poorer and vulnerable nations to plan out their climate action, the donor countries need to spell out in advance, the amount of money they would provide. While they are not unwilling to pay, the present governments can hardly pledge for future governments, the richer nations claimed.
Slow delivery of previous funding promises was criticized by NGOs. Raijeli Nicole, from Oxfam, said: “For the most part, rich countries showed up to Bonn empty-handed.”
At the summit coal – considered to be the dirtiest fossil fuel, briefly got on the centre stage after the U.S. government conducted an official side event that allegedly promoted the use of coal. But as 19 countries pledged to completely phase out use of coal, those attempts were quickly put on the back benches. But the coalition of nations against coal took place outside the negotiations. According to Camilla Born at thinktank E3G: “We have had the Paris agreement living in the real world.”
According to sources, there has been little impact of the US president Donald Trump pulling the US out of the Paris deal. The US officials had not blocked anything and had played a neutral role.
Gebru Jember Endalew, the Ethiopian chair of the 47-strong Least Developed Countries negotiating bloc, said: “Unlike immigration, you cannot protect your country from climate change by building a wall.” Sources also said that no advantage was sought by other big powers like China and India, to make use of the void left by the US.
(Adapted from The Guardian)