Bonn Climate Talks end empty-handed

10. September 2015 HW

The latest climate talks in Bonn failed to deliver a common  basis for negotiation for the next UN Climate Summit in Paris end of this year. The talks among all UN member states were meant to deliver a paper that could lead to a new  world climate treaty to replace the expired Kyoto Protocol. Now experts fear that there will not be enough time left to see a major breakthrough in Paris.

“Unbearable tardy were the negotiations during the last week in Bonn”, complains Jan Kowalzig from Oxfam. “If the negotiator keep that slow pace the ministers at the UN Climate Summit in Paris will get an unfinished paper that they have to fix rashly. The outcome will then be most likely an extremely weak new treaty that will not save the world from climate change.”

In the former capitol of Germany the so called Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was asked to create a paper for the UN Climate Summit in Paris. After one week of negotiations they end up with a bunch of ideas and  lots of unsolved obstacles. “We cannot go on working on that basis”, says Sarah Blau who led the EU’s delegation in Bonn. “We would love to start working on a new treaty  but all options have to be on the table. Until now we have not reached that stage yet.”

Two major hurdles among the climate diplomats remain climate finance and emission cuts. Back in 2010 the world agreed on building a so called Green Climate Fund that should help developing nations to fight the impacts of climate change. The developed nations promised to feed that fond with 100 billion US Dollar by 2020 but until now only round ten billion US Dollar are in that pot. So who is going to contribute which sum by when? The climate diplomats in Bonn were not able to answer that question.

On the emission cuts it becomes more and more obvious that the existing pledges are by far not enough to keep the world under the two degrees celsius maximum warming danger level (see

Therefore the developing nations demand regular updates and adjustments on the emission cuts every five years to see if the world is still on the right track. The EU disapproves and says updates every ten years are sufficient. As there 40 per cent CO2 reduction target refers to the year 2020 their next step would be not before 2030. “We feel confident that our 40 per cent CO2 reduction target by 2020 is one of  the most ambitious goals and we do not see any need for more regular adjustments”,  says Head of EU delegation Sarah Blau.

Greenpeace warns that the EU`s ten years strategy could counteract the two degrees celsius maximum warming danger level. “It would be a catastrophe if the new treaty would freeze the existing reduction targets and pledges. We do need more regular adjustments that respect the latest climate science outcome and the development of renewable energies”, says Martin Kaiser, Head of the Climate Policy Unit at Greenpeace.

The only progress in Bonn was the wider acceptance among the UN member states to write a long term target into a new world climate treaty. But it remains unsolved if that long term target should be a zero CO2 emission target, a 100 per cent renewable energy target or just a repetition of the existing two degrees celsius maximum warming danger level.

End of september the Heads of State meet again in New York and in mid October there will be another climate meeting in Bonn to finally deliver a common paper for Paris. “We are definitely running out of time”, warns Christoph Bals from Germanwatch. “What we truly need now are clear signals from the Ministers and Heads of State ahead of Paris. Otherwise the next UN Climate Summit is most likely to fail.”

Photo: UN/Rick Bajornas