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Top Line: After a week of Climate Talks in Bangkok, we’re left with a trimmed down version of what the Paris Rulebook might look like. But many options are still up in the air.
Key Issues
NDC discussions have not moved an inch in the Bangkok negotiations. Discussed under Article 3 of the APA, it is one of the few remaining elements that has not gone through a completed revision cycle (iteration) yet.
What that means: This was about as useful as a pick-up line. A lot of thinking went into it, but in the end, it was a bit embarassing.

“They are still debating when these NDCs should be implemented instead of acting now,” a delegate from the Philippines told Climate Tracker. Delegates will be spending a late night tonight trying to move the issue forward.

Adaptation Communications: After some funny discussions with African and AOSIS negotiators working on this, we’re at the Schrödinger’s cat stage of of negotiations.

What that means: We have finally made what seems like ‘progress’ on how we record Adaptation actions, after lots of delays. But it all depends on what happens on the NDC conversations (which are more mitigation focussed). Translation: If they go well, we might have text that’s close to ready for COP24. If not, they might just toss it out, and forget this week ever happened.

Kind of like Chris in his early 20’s.

Note: Some of the issues addressed are how countries should be reporting on their efforts to adapt to climate change, how stringently the finance for adaptation should be reported on and whether communications should be kept in a registry together or separately from mitigation communications.

Harjeet Singh at the #RiseForClimate action today. He’s been working on Adaptation at the UN Climate talks for years.

Quite unexpectedly, Just Transition became a hot topic at the Bangkok discussions. It is discussed under ‘Response Measures’, the idea that transition should be supported and rewarded.
“The Bangkok discussions on the topic are divided in 2 lines,” Oskar Kulik from WWF Poland told us. “The first one is whether ‘Just Transition’ should be included in this discussion, which is opposed by developing countries, the second is whether ‘human rights’ should be in there.” Arthur reported on the developments.

Fishermen and women protesting for their rights in #RiseforClimate

Talanoa on the out – When Fiji took up the COP Presidency, it came up with an ambitious and inclusive dialogue including all stakeholders. Now Poland is about to take over the torch, the Talanoa legacy becomes increasingly unclear.
Oskar (WWF Poland) told us the Presidency sees it as a priority issue, but a Fiji delegate told us that the Polish are still trying to grapple with finding a way to include Talanoa in the COP24 proces. I guess that makes it like my personal savings plan.
Loss & Damage Some surprising progress has been made on the issue of Loss & Damage (L&D) during Bangkok. “L&D is now being discussed on all the different workstreams where it is relevant, such as the Global Stocktake, finance or Technology Transfer,” Julie-Anne Richards from CAN International told us. “Although any text referring to the issue has been placed between brackets,” meaning they will still be heavily discussed at COP24.
Lily spoke with delegates on how their home countries are already being affected by climate impacts, so you would think L&D is high on the political agenda.

Picture by UN Climate change | Kiara Worth

Next Steps: Each negotiating country has a Captain or what they call a Head of Delegation. These are the men and women directly responsible for maintaining their holistic national priorities and reporting back to Ministers. As of 5pm today, they were all together, discussing the way forward directly with the facilitators.
Top of their agenda was the “next steps” – with the aim to have a nice, coherent set of rules decided for everyone at the end of the year. Right now the rulebook is 300+ pages, and full of different ideas that often contradict or oppose each other.
Options: Heads of Delegations can either opt to ‘leave it as it is’ and pick up the 300+ volume negotiating text again in Katowice, or they can suggest that the group of facilitators think through all the ideas they have heard, and try to edit it down a bit.

Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

Some people are worried. “There is not enough time in Katowice to get through all the options that are still at the table, a lot of work still needs to be done between now and then,” Sebastian Carranza, a delegate from Colombia, told us.
“Giving the chairs and facilitators the mandate to keep working on the text is one option, but I think a series of high level meetings between delegations will be the best option.”
If facilitators would get the mandate to keep working on the text, they wouldn’t want to leave out key ideas, but they might think of some Hemmingway-esque opportunities to trim the fat, and create a clearer set of rules for all these negotiators to consider over the next few months.

Arthur Wyns

About Arthur Wyns

Arthur Wyns is a tropical biologist and science journalist who writes about climate change, environment and migration. He manages Programs and Partnerships for Climate Tracker since 2017.