The global climate change summit finished up in Bonn on Friday, with a lot of work left for global leaders to do in 2018 to meet global targets, as reported by The Guardian.
The talks were held with the aim of changing the Paris agreement into a mandatory set of rules to follow, in a bid to tackle global warming, with temperatures on course to rise by 3 degrees Celsius. The importance of the summit was highlighted by Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama.
“We are not simply negotiating words on a page, but we are representing all our people and the places they call home.” he said.
The Paris agreement rules must be completed by the end of next year, with much work left to do following the summit. Nations have come up with a range of different ways on how emissions are reported on and monitored, Though much are contradictory and will need resolving in the next 12-months.
“The worst outcome would have been to end up with empty pages, but that is not going to happen,” said one German negotiator.
There was one major issue to arise during talks, which was the lack of action by the richer nations prior to the commencement of the Paris deal in 2020. Developing nations were unhappy with not enough being done, with tensions flaring high on the issue. This was resolved with a commitment by these richer nations to take action over the course of the next two years.
Another heated debate took up the final hours of talks, with an argument over climate funding from developed nations. Developing countries called for donor countries to warn in advance how much money they will provide and when, so they can begin planning their climate change actions. Wealthy nations said they cannot make promises on the behalf of future governments.
The talks saw progress made in raising the importance of gender, indigenous peoples and agriculture in taking on climate change. Though the slow progress of talks and lack of funding promises were criticised.
“For the most part, rich countries showed up to Bonn empty-handed.” said Raijeli Nicole, from Oxfam.
Talks on coal were watched with interest, with the US promoting “clean coal”. That being said, many countries made the pledge to phase out completely the use of these fossil fuels. A coalition was formed on the subject between countries, outside of negotiations.
Poland will host the next UN climate in 2018, have ended its opposition against the passing of a climate commitment called the Doha amendment. Under severe pressure Poland, who rely heavily on coal, withdrew opposition to the agreement which will put laws in place before 2020.
Germany were unable to provide a commitment to the phasing out of coal use, due to their mammoth coal industry. Though Barbara Hendricks, outgoing German Environment minister, said it makes sense to wean out the use of coal, both economically and environmentally. She remained confident a new government would make these changes.
The US officials in attendance were said to have held a neutral position during talks and have not blocked anything, despite Donald Trump’s decision to pull out on the Paris agreement. The Bonn summit closed without any major problems and the focus will now shift to making things final during 2018, with tough decisions expected.
“The planet is at a crossroads. The decisions we make today set the foundation for 2018 and beyond. Countries must increase their ambition to put us on a path to a 1.5C future.” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environment minister.
“The Poland summit [in 2018] will be tough...We expect to make progress, but it is not going to be easy.” he added.
“There is no time to rest on our laurels, we are not on track. If we are serious about tackling climate change, everyone will need to step up and put forward ambitious climate commitments between now and 2020.” said Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate ambassador.