Sounds frustrating? It is, indeed.
The third and last intercessional in Bonn has finished on Friday, August 14th and again leaves loads of unfinished business behind. I don’t want to repeat what has been said before a million times, but just wrap up what the results mean for us, using the statements of those who should know best, including a short summary of my chat with Nicole Wilke, our German Lead Negotiator.
Yvo de Boer (the guy who is the boss of this whole thing: executive secretary of the UNFCCC):
For any hope of a deal, he said, “the speed of the negotiations must be considerably accelerated at the [next] meeting in Bangkok.” And: “If we continue at this rate, we are NOT going to make it.”
Well – speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, US’ lead climate negotiator, Jonathan Pershing, added to the warnings:
“If we don’t have more movement and more consensus than we saw here, we won’t have an agreement.”
Dessima Williams, the permanent representative of Grenada to the UN and chairwoman of the Alliance of Small Island States, translated, what this means for us.
According to Williams, the commitments currently on the table from industrial countries will only reduce emissions between 10 and 16 percent from 1990 level. Simply put: these pledges will lead to temperature change of more than 3 degrees Celsius. The consequences of a 3 degrees warming (in case we do implement those far too low goals, which is not even guaranteed) are shown in this short film by National Geographic:
Interestingly, the G8 and MEF members have just recently agreed on a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius in L’Aquila, Italy. So now what? Why can’t they come to an agreement more quikly?
To answer those questions, I have asked Nicole Wilke, our German lead negotiator at the UN Climate Talks, to translate to someone, who is merely a blogger & neither a Climate Change scientist, nor a professional Diplomat.
Ms. Wilke quickly reminded me that in this week in Bonn, we are again talking about 2000 delegates from 192 countries, not merely 8 or 17 (as given at the G8 and MEF). Also, what we’re talking about was a profound change of industrial civilization that would affect hundreds of different, but intertwined economic interests.
According to Wilke, it would be too easy to judge a meeting like this one in Bonn by just looking at the current numbers on the table. “It’s not black or white”, Wilke said. And I guess, she’s right. This time, we are talking about a strategic meeting, about small and informal groups that try to come to an agreement on details that are often not even known by the public. And some countries simply don’t want to give an inch at this point, because they fear others taking a mile.
Meanwhile, Anders Turesson, Sweden’s lead negotiator and chairman of the EU working group, also saw glimmers of hope in the current round, such as a collective agreement on what should be done. The fact that this agreement does not automatically lead to a concrete and binding political statement, is, according to Turesson, not surprising: “It would be surprising if there weren’t stumbling blocks.”
Ms. Wilke compared the negotiations with a big family that wants to go on vacation: Everyone wants to go. Everyone knows the others also want to go. And they do want to go together. But the details are tricky: Do we wanna go on an adventure trip? To the beach? By bike, car or plane?
And I guess, some of those countries negotiating threaten others to stay at home completely, unless everyone follows them?
To read the German post on this issue, check ClimateBlogger.de