As we previously reported, the Bonn Climate Change Conference was held for 11 days in June 2022 to prepare for COP27 which will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 7 to 18 November 2022.
So what did it achieve?
UNFCCC point of view
In a final press release Patricia Espinosa, who will soon retire as Executive Secretary of UNFCCC which organised the conference, said “While much work remains, Parties have made progress in several technical areas here in Bonn. Such steps are a key part of negotiations and important to achieve our overall goals. The world is moving closer to an overall shift towards implementation of the Paris Agreement. Major political decisions, notably on finance for Loss and Damage, need to be taken at COP27. We now need to ensure that Sharm el-Sheikh will truly be the place where important promises of the Paris Agreement are turned into reality.”
Key outstanding issues that still need to be resolved relate on the one hand to building adaptation to the inevitable impacts of climate change, which include ever more frequent and intense heatwaves, flood and storms, and Loss and Damage, along with the necessary financial support. On the other hand, important work has been launched on urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation.
Delegates at the Bonn Climate Change Conference undertook the first technical dialogue of the Global Stocktake, designed to review collective progress towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Marianne Karlsen, the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) said: “The Global Stocktake and other discussions at the Bonn Climate Conference have demonstrated the many gaps that exist in climate action, but also the opportunities. I am heartened that governments and numerous stakeholders have been showcasing solutions, opportunities, innovations and best practices from throughout the world. And we have seen unprecedented engagement on the part of non-Party stakeholders who have a key role to play in helping governments achieve their climate goals.”
At the Global Stocktake, Hoesung Lee, Chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reported that human activities have warmed the planet at a rate not seen in the past 2,000 years, putting the world on a path towards global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades. The Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), Tosi Mpanu Mpanu said:
“Science has been a central focus of this year’s Bonn Climate Change Conference. It is vital that the reports presented by the IPCC, as well as the science-policy interface, are reflected and that negotiators heed the call on the urgency of the climate challenge. We have seen some good progress here in Bonn. But governments need to more urgently act on the stark warnings we have been hearing.”
Many participants at the Global Stocktake and in other forums of the Bonn meeting highlighted the need for increased financial support.
“The international community has yet to live up to its commitment to mobilize USD 100 billion annually in climate finance for developing countries. And these countries are calling for an overall substantial increase in finance, especially finance for adaptation and loss and damage, which is crucial to build a more sustainable and resilient future,” the UN’s top climate change official Ms. Espinosa said. “At COP27, progress needs to be demonstrated clearly and convincingly, along with the alignment of financial flows with the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” she added.
World Resources Institute point of view
In its statement the Institute said that the negotiations in Bonn concluded with mixed results.
Vulnerable countries and civil society expressed disappointment that more progress was not made to provide funding for vulnerable countries to deal with losses and damages from climate change. The pressure is now on for leaders to make more decisive progress at diplomatic gatherings and elsewhere leading up to the COP27 Summit in Egypt.
David Waskow, Director International Climate Action, World Resources Institute said “This UN meeting elevated the severe losses and damages that vulnerable countries face from climate change higher than any negotiations have before but failed to clarify how to address the problem. While developed countries acknowledged the need to deal with such damages, they rebuffed requests from vulnerable nations to work toward establishing a new funding mechanism.
“Perhaps the most decisive outcome from these talks is that developed countries now realize that the chorus calling for solutions to loss and damage is only getting louder and addressing this issue is a central measure of success for the UN climate summit in Egypt.
“Now the pressure is on for leaders to pick up the slack and use upcoming diplomatic gatherings to deliver the political momentum that is needed ahead of COP27. Key opportunities include the G7 Summit and Petersberg Dialogue.
“Heightened attention to growing impacts must also lead to stronger climate action across the board, from dramatically cutting emissions and protecting forests to providing support for vulnerable countries facing the increasingly severe consequences of an overheating world.”
Climate Home News point of view
In an article, Joe Lo said “The sense of urgency that emanated from Cop26 continued to fizzle out this week, as the climate diplomacy hardcore gathered in Germany for the Bonn climate talks.
“In the baking glass conference centre on the banks of the Rhine, talks moved slowly. The UN-authorised protests reminded negotiators that this isn’t just some trade show – this stuff actually matters.
“Climate-vulnerable developing countries tried to inject some urgency. Instead of a three-year “talking shop” on how to arrange funding for climate disaster victims, they demanded a funding facility be set up by Cop27 in Egypt this November and the issue be on the agenda.
“But that was too much for the EU and others, who blocked those proposals. Publicly, they say they want to improve existing aid systems rather than setting up a whole new finance architecture. Privately, they’re not sure how much cash they can get out of their finance ministers back home.
“Rich countries like to say that the quicker emissions are reduced, the less loss and damage climate change will cause. On this territory, they were much more comfortable in Bonn trying to pressure China into more emission reductions by trying to include references to “major emitters” in informal notes. That didn’t fly with Beijing.
“Bonn saw good-byes too. UN climate change head honcho, Patricia Espinosa, is stepping down next month after six years in the job. In an exit interview with Climate Home, she said she’d generally aimed for a good cop, bad cop routine with UN secretary-general António Guterres. While he described countries increasing their fossil fuel production “truly dangerous radicals,” she diplomatically held the consensus-based system, on which the climate talks are based, together.
“Ayman Shasly, the veteran chair of the Arab Group, made a much quieter exit by not turning up. He was replaced by Albara Tawfiq, whom, climate observers hope, could soften Saudi’s style of negotiations, if not the substance.”