Bonn climate conference: 5 changes that could make a real difference

The journey to Paris stops in Bonn for the next 10 days, as officials from around the world gather to work on the text of a global climate deal.

The World Conference Centre in Bonn

The World Conference Centre in Bonn

Their task is to whittle a 90-page draft agreement into something that 130 countries can agree on in 200 days time.

However the central document is just one issue that will bashed out in the back rooms and conference halls of Bonn over the coming days.

Here are five other hot-topics that could have a tangible impact in the battle against climate change.

1) Big businesses are backing a carbon price

Support for an international carbon price appears to be swelling, with six of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies joining the bandwagon on Monday.

The fossil fuel behemoths authored an open letter to Christina Figueres, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, saying they wanted to be part of the solution for climate change.

They asked for “open direct dialogue with the UN and willing Governments, to create and implement a workable approach to carbon pricing".


2) How much will saving the world cost?

Countries will need to begin defining how they plan to fund the costs of mitigation and adaption to a warmer planet.

According to the World Resources Institute: “The text emerging from Bonn should clarify that there will be a shifting of the broader flows of public and private investment to achieving climate objectives.

India reportedly has a bold plan for generating that finance, promising  to table a proposal for rich nations to give $100bn of public finance every year to fight climate change.

 3) Two little?

The second day of the conference will see the presentation of a UNFCC report on whether the 2C target is low enough to truly limit the impact of climate change.

The report found that the 2C target should be sufficient, although “less warming would be preferable and efforts should be made to push the defence line as low as possible.”

However it also found that the world is not yet on track to reach the 2C target.

Another recent study warned that global warming would not be uniform across the planet and already-dry areas such as Africa would suffer the worst under a 2C target.

The report authors and a group of the most vulnerable nations have called for a 1.5C target.

4) Action must start now

The new agreement that will be signed in Paris in December will only come into effect in 2020. Therefore the Bonn meetings will see countries discuss the most effective ways effect climate action before that deadline.

These discussions will take place in a series of Technical Expert Meetings, with the focus on scaling up renewable energy supply and energy efficiency in urban areas.

India and China have also announced they will formally propose that rich nations should set pre-2020 emission reduction targets.

An Indian climate official told the Hindustani Times: “Having post-2020 emissions reduction targets has no meaning unless rich countries have emission reduction targets for 2020. Many countries have opted out of the Kyoto Protocol making it a non-effective instrument."


5) People power

The opening day of the conference was marked in the UK by a series of protests against the Tory government’s proposed ‘dash for gas’ and fracking plans.

Eleven activists from Reclaim the Power were arrested on Monday after demonstrations outside Government buildings, power stations and energy company headquarters.

Hannah Martin from Reclaim the Power said: “Until corporations are forced to loosen their stranglehold, political decisions will continue to be ruled by profit and ignore the growing dangers of climate change.

“The UN negotiations are doomed to failure as long as this remains the case. We want a safe, sustainable and more equal society. On June 1st we'll show that we aren't content to just sit back and wait for the governments to act.’

  Brad Allen


| fracking | gas


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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