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Daily Tck: Day one of the UN climate talks in Bonn

By June 2, 2015 No Comments
  • Bonn negotiations underway, marking six months before new climate deal deadline

  • New WWF report highlights immediate steps countries should take to close gap between climate policy and climate science

  • Amidst calls for more action from major emitters, East Africa country announces 100% renewables by 2020 goal

  • Pope’s encyclical on climate to be released shortly after Bonn negotiations close


The sleepy German town of Bonn was abuzz with energy – or at least that was the feel among our partners and peers gathered at the new World Conference Center, where UN climate talks resumed Monday. Opening meetings marked the six-month countdown, of which only 20 days are ‘negotiating days,’ until the deadline for a new global climate agreement. Describing the situation in a press conference, WWF’s Jaco Du Toit said “We arrived here in Bonn with a 90 page draft [agreement] that contains options on key issues that cover the good, the bad and the kitchen sink.”

Keeping the best of the draft agreement’s potential options in play as negotiators work to streamline the text will be difficult. But with real world climate progress and growing calls for climate action showing the way, it’s also increasingly difficult for governments to get lost on the path to a fossil fuel free world. Signs marking that path featured prominently Monday – according to a major new study, 75% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are now limited by national targets. Another recent report showed that renewable energy jobs grew 18% in 2014. And news that six major oil companies have asked to work with the UNFCCC on carbon pricing is further evidence that civil society pressure is working. according to Alix Mazounie of RAC France. “They’re running scared because universal, robust climate action is coming.”

On an almost daily basis, new voices from influential business, health, and faith groups are adding their expertise and energy to push climate action; while stalwart environmental defenders continue to roll out new ideas for solutions.

Monday also marked an important time to reflect on the national climate plans. Countries responsible for 58% of the world’s emissions have put offers toward the Paris agreement so far. And as anticipated, plans from major polluters like Canada, the EU, the US are moving us away from fossil fuels – but not fast enough to limit climate change to governments’ 2ºC goal, let alone the 1.5ºC limit needed to safeguard a future for the most climate vulnerable countries. That dismal math means no shortage of continued pressure on governments in the lead-up to Parisand going well beyond. It also sharpens many of our partners’ focus on ensuring the Paris deal includes both a ‘ratchet mechanism’ to regularly assess, revisit and increase government’s climate action plans, and an ambitious long-term goal – ie 100% renewables – pointing everyone in the same direction.

News, links & useful grist that caught our eye

ActionAid’s Harjeet Singh reminded us of the urgency of responding to climate impacts, “as we sit here, India is going through an exceptional, unprecedented heatwave. Over 2000 people have lost their lives. As an early monsoon hits Nepal, those still without shelter after the earthquake are suffering. That’s why the Paris agreement needs to deliver plans to make communities resilient and deal with the loss and damage caused by these impacts.”

WWF laid out a series of steps that governments should take now to help close the gap between current climate action plans and what’s required to safeguard our future. Their latest in a series of reports called Crossing the Divide: How To Close The Emissions Abyss, focuses on the Philippines, Kenya, Turkey, Colombia, Pakistan, UAE, Russia, Poland and the UK. The first edition, released last February, focused on Japan, the EU, France, the US, Australia, India, China, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa.

The East African nation of Djibouti has announced plans to source 100% of its energy from renewables by 2020. Djibouti joins Ethiopia as leaders on the continent, setting a clear course away from fossil fuels and toward 100% renewables.

We got news that the Pope’s upcoming encyclical, highlighting the moral imperative of climate action, is due out June 16th; and will be titled ‘Laudato Sii’ (Praised Be). Climate action now spans from the top of the Catholic church to the grassroots, with the Pope offering his rare endorsement of a petition from the nascent Global Catholic Climate Movement.

In Australia, a powerful doctors lobby group began ramping up pressure on the federal government to take action on climate change.

And for a final bit of inspiration – indigenous communities in Australia filed a federal court case to challenge Adani Group’s A$12.7 billion Carmichael coal mine project – the latest example of communities on the front lines of climate impacts, taking bold steps on the front lines of climate action. The move comes just weeks after members of the Lax Kw’alaams Band in Canadarejected a US $970M payout ($267,000 per person) from Petronas Gas out of concern for the environment, shaking Asian markets in the process.

Resources

We ended May with ‘High noon in June as G7 and UNFCCC meet,’ a big picture alert from The Tree that serves as a curtain raiser for the Bonn negotiations and this coming weekend’s G7. If you haven’t already, check it out.

Look for details on a huge reveal Tuesday from WWF, Natural Resources Defense Council and Oil Change International. The group’s forthcoming report shows that over the last eight years, developed country governments have channeled more than US$73 billion in public money into coal projects. Samantha Smith will have a blog summarizing the findings once the embargo lifts at 600 CET. There’s a twitterstorm planned as well – get the details here and join the effort.

If you want to brush up on any of the wonkier negotiations-related concepts and terms, be sure to check out the new Road Through Paris website by Climate Nexus. Once you’re well-versed, Climate Action Network International’s daily ECO newsletters will serve as a valuable tool in tracking the issues running each day.

You can also track the negotiations in real-time with the hashtags #SB42, #ADP2015, and  #UNFCCC.  We’ll join the conversation on twitter via @tcktcktck and @adoptnegotiator.

IISD’s reporting service has high-resolution pictures from Day 1 inside the World Conference Center, and more to come throughout the next two weeks.

In addition to our Daily Tck (which will also be available in Spanish), we’re working closely with a number of Climate Trackers in Bonn who are posting blogs that dig into individual issues. We’ll also keep you abreast of developments in the wider world of climate activism and action attcktcktck.org and publish related communications briefs at treealerts.org.

Are you attending the Bonn negotiations?

If you are attending the Bonn session and want to collaborate, please let us know. The GCCA is host daily intel and priority sharing meetings at 10am in room Bonn 3 for interested partners and peers. Email me directly or add yourself to our Bonn google group here.

In addition to daily meetings, we will have limited capacity to support with the creation of digital assets (like video interviews) to help raise the profile of your work online. Please email me with any requests.

Joshua Wiese

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