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A new opportunity to increase ambition in the UN climate talks

Tomorrow a new round of climate negotiations begins. The meeting, which takes place in Bonn, Germany, is the first meeting since the climate summit last year, COP18. Every time parties meet, they have a chance to move the talks forward, to increase ambition and to show the world that climate change is taken serious. What can we expect from the coming week in Bonn?

Not much, I am afraid…

Even if there is an agreement from COP18, many parties are disappointed. Ambition was not raised, compared to previous meetings, and even where there was progress, the actual agreement was weak, which makes further steps uncertain. As an example, it was agreed to move forward with “loss and damage”, one of the main calls from both Least Developed Countries and the small island states, but the textopens up for difficult negotiations for where to end.

Since COP18, the group of Likeminded countries has statedthat they want to broaden the agenda of the current negotiations, which western countries are expected to oppose strongly. They may lead to a conflict about the agenda.

Russia, and a few other countries, are frustrated about the COP18 result, and it is uncertain if they will raise their concerns, before further talks can take place.

Clearly, negotiations face various challenges in the coming week!

…But there is hope

In spite of a worrying background, there is still hope. Since COP18 the US president, Barack Obama, have declared that climate change will be in focusin his second term.  If US increase ambition, with a clear aim to reach results in dialogue with developing countries, negotiations may move into a new dynamic. The recent joint statement between USA and Chinamay be a step in this direction, and it will be interesting to observe possible changes in rhetoric and action the coming days. Recent statements from IMF and the World Bank are also supporting a change in the climate debate.  

Even if climate negotiations have shown to be complicated and difficult, with little progress in recent years, we must keep in mind that everything is possible. If we can contribute to increased global temperatures, we can also contribute to decreased emissions and increased focus on adaptation. Politics do make a difference. Let us hope the coming week deliver progress!

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