Carry on Bonn – UN climate talks come to Germany
Copenhagen it’s not, but the first UN climate meetings since December’s disappointment in Denmark began today in Bonn, Germany.
According to a report from BBC News, developing countries are strongly on board with the UN process and would like to see a binding global climate deal under the Kyoto Protocol by the next major summit, which takes place in Mexico in November and December. But political will is lacking in some richer nations, especially the US.
US President Barack Obama’s modest pledge made at Copenhagen to reduce emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020 probably does not have the political support to pass the in the US Senate. A presumably weaker bill is currently being worked on by a bipartisan group of senators.
Analyses released since the end of the Copenhagen summit suggest that without further constraints soon, it will be very difficult to keep the rise in average global temperatures since pre-industrial times below 2C, a threshold commonly cited as indicating dangerous climate change.
The major developing nations, or BASIC countries – Brazil, China, India and South Africa – form one major block, while rich developed nations – led by the US – make up another. It was a temporary alliance between these two main blocks that pushed through the frail, non-binding Copenhagen Accord.
But this time around, things are already different. Many developing countries felt left out of the deal making in Copenhagen. An article in the Guardian predicts this group, especially poor African countries, to raise its voice at Bonn.
“There is still considerable anger that a figure of 2C was reached which, if implemented, would effectively consign many vulnerable countries to an intolerable future,” said a spokesman for the least developed group of countries.
Another twist is that the EU may be lending support to the demands of developing nations for further emissions cuts by rich countries under the Kyoto Protocol. The UK has signaled that it will agree so long as developing counties do likewise. This would be contrary to the position of the US, Canada and Japan, who want a completely new agreement. One key difference is that the developing world wants history – industrialization and past emissions – to be taken into account when negotiating a treaty, while wealthy countries prefer to concentrate on future emissions.
From an article in the Telegraph:
Yvo de Boer, head of the UN body in charge of negotiations, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), doubted a legally binding deal would be reached in 2010. He expected the best outcome from Mexico would be if countries agree the basic architecture “so that a year later, you can decide or not decide to turn that into a treaty”. The 2011 meeting is in South Africa.
The Copenhagen Accord set out a plan for rich countries to give $30bn per year – growing to $100bn by 2020 – to developing countries for climate change adaptation. The meetings in Bonn will further discuss such aid plans as well as a system to protect the world’s forests.
by Graham Land