Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bonn 2012: So We Have an Agenda, Now What? Hotline 5.31.12

US Climate Action Network

Bonn 2012: So We Have an Agenda, Now What?

It seems like the spirit of cooperation demonstrated by parties at the end of the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban was not carried over to the 2012 Bonn intercessional meetings held May14-25. The two weeks of agenda fights and deadlock in Bonn regarding how to move forward on the Durban Platform make that famous “huddle” or “indaba” in the wee hours of the morning at COP17 in Durban almost irrelevant now .  Parties in Bonn eventually broke the deadlock and agreed on an agenda that will guide the Durban Platform negotiations through 2015. Countries made some small strides, albeit inadequate, toward the provision of support to developing countries on technology transfer, finance and capacity building to adapt to climate change. Countries also made modest progress on decisions related to the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol. It is now very clear that we have a difficult four years ahead of us of negotiating the Durban Platform, an agreement that will bind all nations to curtail greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.

Scientists warned us again in Bonn that the door to avoiding a maximum 2 degrees Celsius global average temperature rise is about to close. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached a record high and would need to peak no later than 2017 for the world to have a chance of staying below the 2 degrees Celsius target. However, countries are simply not acting fast enough and we are at risk of making this a lost decade in terms of ambition. It is no surprise that one of the most significant disputes in Bonn was about what happens to curb greenhouse gas emissions before 2020: who does what, and how? With the current mitigation pledges on the table, scientists warn that we may now be heading for a 3-5 degree Celsius increase in global warming. The future of the only binding treaty that addresses climate change through 2020, the Kyoto Protocol, is in peril. Australia and New Zealand have still not told the world if they will commit to a second period of the protocol, nor have they submitted their required carbon budgets. Hope that the European Union will increase its current pledge before 2020 is declining, and Canada quit the Kyoto Protocol entirely. Worse still, Japan sends mixed signals on whether or not to expect a reduction in their current pledge.
Bonn Climate Talks 2012 Picture

Now that we have an agenda, what does this mean going forward in swiftly responding to the science and increasing mitigation ambition from/by countries? It took five years to negotiate Kyoto, and countries are faced with a formidable task of negotiating a new treaty in just three to four years. Later this year, COP18 in Doha will surely see a continuation of the tumultuous negotiation processes. The UNFCCC process is a classic example of the difficulties of achieving collective action at such high level processes, and more so if domestic politics are out of sync with what needs to happen globally.  A renewed push for increasing ambition in the short term will have to be fostered in our home nations, in our capitals and elsewhere, particularly for those of us living in the countries that are the major global emitters of greenhouse gases. Parties were willing to set aside their hard-line positions and thankfully, the Durban Platform work plan adopted in Bonn guarantees that attention is given to the 2015 agreement, as well as to efforts to address ambition before 2020. Some countries are already taking action. Mexico, host of the G20 talks this year, passed a law ratifying their COP15 pledges (namely a 30% pollution reduction below business as usual by 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050). Emissions trading is scheduled to begin in South Korea in 2015, as well as in Australia and China. Peru announced that in the absence of an international treaty, it would implement a climate change law of its own. South Africa also announced its plans for a program, which is currently unique to the continent. The message coming from these countries is crystal clear:  We cannot wait until 2015 (and most certainly not until 2020) to embrace the advantages of low-carbon, climate-resilient sustainable development.

Susan Matambo, International Policy Coordinator, US Climate Action Network.

Photo Credit:  Creative Commons Flickr UNclimatechange

Action Alert:

Tell Your Senators:  Reject Attempt to Void Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants and Protect our Children’s Health

US Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) continues to come the rescue of big industrial polluters, this time by using the obscure Congressional Review Act (CRA) to try to kill EPA’s clean air standards for curbing mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants.  If Senate Joint Resolution 37 passes, this cynical procedural ploy will not only kill EPA clean air standards, it will also unwittingly cost thousands of Americans—especially children—their health and  lives.

EPA’s mercury and air toxics rule will:

-Save as many as 11,000 lives;

-Prevent as many as 130,000 asthma attacks among children;

-Prevent as many as 4,700 heart attacks each year.

Corporate polluters and their lobbyists are working hard to block these life-saving clean air standards. It’s time to do the right thing and protect our kids, families and communities from mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other toxics pouring out of dirty power plant smokestacks. It’s time for the polluters to clean up their act.

Tell your US Senators to vote NO on Senate Joint Resolution 37 and protect our childrens’ health.

Click here to see full action alert and how to contact your Senators.

If you are a member organization, please consider sending an action alert to your members.

For additional information and/or talking points, please contact Lara Levison at llevison@climatenetwork.org.


Featured Resources:

International Climate Negotiations: Cutting the Gordian Knot, The Huffington Post, Blog, 5.29.12

India Scores a Crucial Victory, Times of India, 5.26.2012

Stymied Climate Talks Heat Up, The Courier-Mail, 5.26.2012

Climate Forum Offers a Chance for Qatar, Gulf Times, 5.26.2012


Climate Action Hotline is the weekly update by the US Climate Action Network. Let us know what you think.