Next week (August 10-14) government representatives from all around the world will again come together in Bonn, Germany, for the latest round of UN climate change negotiations.

I wont be on the ground at Bonn3, but I'll still track the Australian delegation closely

I wont be on the ground at Bonn3, but I'll still track the Australian delegation closely

While I wont be on the ground during the Bonn meetings (trying to minimise air travel!), I’ll be in close contact with various NGO colleagues, Jonathan our Swedish tracker, as well as the Australian government delegation – who are all attending the talks – to bring you the latest news, as it happens.

Do you have a question that you would like to me to address to any of my contacts? If so, I want to hear from you! Please post your question as a comment on this blog.

Everyone who followed the Adopt-A-Negotiator blogs, during the June Bonn meetings, will know that the key task government delegates were set, was to get all of the ideas various countries have about addressing climate change into the one negotiating text. During the two week meeting, the negotiating text swelled from a manageable 50, to a whopping 199 pages, as everyone scrambled to ensure their ideas were included.

So, what’s on the table for the upcoming Bonn negotiations?

According to Michael Zammit Cutajar, chairman of a working group of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), negotiators have been charged with the task to edit an “indigestible” set of proposals into a manageable document for international consideration. Check out Cutajar’s ‘scenario note’ for a detailed look at what he has tasked delegates to do.

Good luck I say, turning 199 pages of “indigestible” text into something that is manageable will be no easy feat.

But, from where I sit, what is more important than the length of the negotiating text is content. We are still lacking any real agreement on the two most vital elements of any international climate deal: 1. an aggregate emission reduction target for developed (Annex 1) countries and 2. a commitment to establish a finance mechanism which will generate the huge scale of money needed to support developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions.

We need to ensure that all of the great climate protecting submissions, that address these two vital elements, remain in the negotiating text so that our delegates have a solid drawing board from which to map out a global climate change deal that will protect our planet and peoples.

If you got to have a say at Bonn, what climate tackling ideas would you want our government to ensure remains in the negotiating text?

Speaking of our government, what plans does the Australian delegation have for the August meetings?

I met up with members of the Australian government’s negotiating team in Canberra in mid June to talk all things climate. Like Cutajar, their key aim for the August Bonn meetings are to ensure that everything they want in is both included, and correctly represented, within the negotiating text. And when it comes to text inclusion, the Australian government has a very exciting opportunity to be a global leader at Bonn …

Currently there is a glaring omission in negotiating text for the Copenhagen climate change agreement – protecting the world’s forests has gone missing! Amongst all the pages, there is not one mention of forest protection under REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). Australian environment NGOs have asked the Australian government delegation to table a proposal at the August meetings that asks for the inclusion of the protection of forests in any Copenhagen climate Change deal.

Why do we think Australia can play this important role? To date, Australia has claimed to be a champion of protecting forests – especially in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. I’ll be in touch with Australian forest campaigners, on the ground in Bonn, to bring you the latest news. That way, we can all work together to keep a watchful eye on the negotiating team and ensure that Australia lives up to its’ claims.

But that’s not all the Australian government delegation will be getting up to. Before the meetings officially open, the Australians will have already done a hard day’s work. Since the June meetings, members of the delegation have been busy pulling together a seminar on the possible forms that the legal architecture of any International climate agreement could take. The seminar will be held this Friday, August 7, while this may sound a wee bit dry, legal form is immensely important. More to come on this soon.

How can you get involved?

As our government delegates take a plane to the next round of UN climate negotiations, we want to hear from you! Have your say (post as comments on this blog)

– What do you want to ask the people attending the Bonn meetings?

– What do you want our government to ensure remains in the negotiating text?

Science is now as certain as it can be of harmful climate change. The only real uncertainty is about how much climate change and human suffering we are willing to allow and bear. One thing that I am certain of, is, that by working together we can raise our voices as one to ensure that our negotiating team and Prime Minister Rudd know that we, the Australian people, want to see real action on climate change. This can start with you monitoring next week’s climate talks in Bonn.

From your tracker, with hope