Bonn, May 10 (IANS) A United Nations top official said a lot of progress has been made on technical issues at the climate change talks that concluded here on Thursday but a lot of work still has to be done ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland in December.
“We have had a satisfactory meeting, but we need to be clear that we have a lot of work in the months ahead and we need to increase the pace of work to achieve a good outcome at COP24 in Katowice,” UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa told reporters here.
Chief negotiator Luke Daunivalu said: “We need to use the next UNFCCC session in Bangkok (in September) to maximum effect if we want to achieve the desired outcome, which is the work programme of the Paris Agreement.”
Climate negotiators from nearly 200 countries, including India, gathered in this German town, headquarters of the UNFCCC, for a two-week meeting to discuss the implementation of the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and how to step up action.
At the crucial inter-sessional talks, said an expert, progress was made on a number of technical issues, which include the ‘rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement, and to prepare the ground for the governments to commit to raise the ambition of their climate pledges by 2020.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to keep the global average temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The talks made progress on the rulebook, especially on common rules for the global stock-taking, the five-year review of countries’ climate efforts that will trigger increased ambition, a negotiator told IANS, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Coming as a positive surprise to many observers the parties agreed late Wednesday to give co-chairs the mandate to reconcile their positions in a text that will serve as a common basis for the next round of negotiations in Bangkok in September.
“Still, more work on key issues is needed to stay on track to meet the deadline,” he added.
Negotiators say the talks edged slightly closer to completing the Paris Agreement Work Programme, including guidelines on how to put the agreement into practice, despite rich countries persistently blocking progress on key issues like finance.
Without advances in the talks over the commitment of future financial support from rich countries to developing nations, who are already facing devastating climate impacts, it became difficult for other areas of the negotiations to progress.
Harjeet Singh of ActionAid International said: “The issue of finance underpins so many different parts of climate negotiations, because poor countries simply can’t cover the triple costs of loss and damage, adaptation and mitigation on their own.”
“But with developed countries refusing to move on finance, lots of pieces are still unfinished.”
Speaking of a growing trust deficit in the talks, Christian Aid’s Mohamed Adow said: “The silence over money has sown fears among poor countries that their wealthier counterparts are not serious about honouring their promises.”
But an optimistic Senior Policy Advisor Climate Diplomacy and Risk Camilla Born said: “Negotiations went better than expected. Parties showed they are serious about delivering the Paris Agreement so in Bonn they got down to serious business.”
“The next challenge is to mobilise the political will to get the COP24 outcomes over the line in Katowice.”
World Resources Institute Global Director of Climate Programme Paula Caballero said that the negotiators kept up a good pace this week, but will be leaving Bonn with a lot more ground to cover to get to the finish line in Poland this December.
“At the next negotiation session in Bangkok delegates will need to maintain that same focused approach to turn the corner on the politics and policy.”
Talks will resume in Bangkok from September 3-8 where negotiators will pick up “informal notes” forwarded by this session.