October Bonn Climate Talks Update #1

Co-Chairs produce a "US text" which is roundly rejected as developing countries mount a fight to save the process. Meanwhile, civil society research exposes EU, US, Russia, Japan as ultimate climate laggards.


  1. Welcome back to the circus everybody!
  2. Here we are again, in the belly of the beast at UN climate change negotiations, meeting for the final time before the crucial COP21 meeting in Paris. There, countries are supposed to culminate a four year process which has taken place along two negotiation tracks: one to ramp up climate action in the short term, before 2020, and one to create a new Agreement under the Framework Convention which would apply to all countries and begin...
  3. ...in 2020.
  4. A full 9 years after the process began and a full 30 years after the Convention was set up. Because of serious downplaying of the scale of the challenge within the scientific comunity, even the best efforts in 2020 are likely to be too little too late.
  5. And unsurprisingly, the efforts are not quite all that...but we'll return to that later.
  6. Progress in the talks has been frustrated and trust between Parties and the co-chairs has gradually eroded. A little late in the day (October 5) American and Algerian co-chairs of the talks released a draft of the negotiations, which they hoped would be taken as a basis for textual negotiations in this Bonn meeting.
  7. It was not.

  8. Before the session even started, developing countries made it clear that they considered the draft is so unbalanced as to be unacceptable.
  9. Their reasoning was pretty sound and reiterated by civil society groups in this brief circulated on Monday morning
  10. (here's the twitter friendly version for those of you reading on your phone)
  11. We could do a whole story picking apart the many flaws of the text, and the myriad ways it attempts to undermine the Convention and engineer a great escape of responsibility to let the rich polluting countries off the hook. The draft included no emission reduction targets for developed countries (a step back from the Kyoto Protocol). Which is essentially suicidal.
  12. Not only that, the draft went backwards in terms of climate finance too--including no targets and shifting the responsibility over to "all Parties in a position to do so [provide]." Similarly, there is no support in the form of technology transfer or enhanced capacity building, which makes it hard if not impossible for developing countries to implement any agreement.
  13. The draft proposed a facilitative and non-punitive compliance mechanism—less rigorous than under the Kyoto Protocol. Instead of a review to improve pledges in the near future, it proposed a "global stocktake" which would not take into account implementation of the Convention or the adequacy of the long-term global goal. It would not take place until 2023 or 2024, and so would have no bearing on efforts to strengthen contributions during the Agreement’s first period following 2020.