Governments meeting in Bonn embark on next steps following historic Durban Climate Change Conference
Bonn, 14 May 2012 - Building on the historic results of the Durban Climate Change Conference last year, governments on Monday embarked on the next essential steps required to curb global greenhouse gas emissions and help developing countries adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change.
The meeting will be the first opportunity to assess and to continue to implement the results of the Durban conference, and is also designed to prepare decisions for adoption at the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha at the end of 2012.
"Durban was a turning point, where governments agreed tasks and timelines that give the best chance of avoiding the worst of future climate change. We now need to maintain the momentum, to constantly keep turning political decisions into action," said Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.
Ms. Figueres said that the meeting in Durban had put the world on a clear path towards greater ambition, yet a gap still remained between the agreed goal of a maximum 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise and the current, global effort to stay below that level. According to analysis by the UN Environment Programme, current pledges put the world on a course towards a 2.5 to 5 degrees Celsius temperature rise.
"We have all the means at our disposal to close the gap, and the long-term objectives of governments remain attainable. But this depends on stronger emissions reduction efforts, led by industrialized countries, and a sufficient level of ambition to support developing country action, Concrete and transparent implementation, today, tomorrow and into the foreseeable future, is the answer," she said.
In Bonn, governments will work towards amending the Kyoto Protocol in Doha later this year, in order to allow the second commitment period of the Protocol to take effect from the beginning of 2013. This includes timely agreement on the length of the second commitment period of the Protocol - 5 or 8 years - and how to convert Protocol targets into quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives, the unit of binding reduction commitments.
They will also begin planning the work of a new negotiation to shape a universal, legal climate agreement, which is to be completed by 2015 and to enter into force from 2020, and they will discuss how to raise global ambition before 2020. In this context, they will begin clarifying national mitigation pledges and accounting arrangements up to 2020.
Further areas where important work will be undertaken in Bonn is on the technology and adaptation support that developing countries require to build their own sustainable energy futures and to adapt successfully to existing climate change. Also, in the field of climate finance, governments will discuss the question of how to ramp up funding support for developing nations to 100 billion USD per year by 2020.
"Progress here is essential because 2012 marks the end of the 30 billion USD of fast-start finance, and no-one wants to see a gap in support. Keeping the construction of the Green Climate Fund on schedule this year will be important so that it can become fully operational in 2013. Equally important are the operationalization of the Technology Mechanism and the Adaptation Committee, for which a three-year work programme must be decided," Ms. Figueres said.
In Bonn, governments will consider a shortlist of three potential hosts of the Climate Technology Centre, and recommend one of the three applicants for final approval in Qatar. The Climate Technology Centre, along with its associated Network, is the implementing arm of the UNFCCC's Technology Mechanism established by the Cancun Agreements in 2010.
Also in Bonn, a number of informative workshops will be held where governments will set out their views and positions. These workshops will include how to raise the current level of ambition to curb greenhouse gases and the issue of equitable access to sustainable development, which is key to building greater, cooperative ambition based on a sense of fairness between nations.
"Progress here in Bonn can give countries the confidence they need to push ahead with national climate policies" said Ms. Figueres. "In turn, many countries are beginning to adopt ambitious climate change legislation, which is sending good signals to the international negotiations. All of this can give society and business confidence to act faster themselves" she added.
The Bonn UN Climate Change Conference (14 to 25 May) is being attended by around 3,000 participants from 181 countries, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organisations and research institutions.