Bonn Diary #2: Groundhog day
Sorry, isn’t this is where we left off six months ago? Whichever way you cut it, the non-binding “pledges” made at Copenhagen and since still don’t add up to a firm commitment to cut CO2 by 25% to 40% by 2020, needed to keep global temperature increases to below 2 degrees C.
Today, many at the Kyoto Protocol Working Group at the UN’s climate talks in Bonn agreed with China. What we have on the table are Copenhagen’s “pledges”. They’re a set of bottom-up proposals, often ambiguous, some with no clear rules, different definitions. China wants top priority given to agreeing the aggregate commitment needed to cut emissions from developed nations. A target-based, top-down approach is the only logical way forward. Then nations can make serious national contributions to a common goal.
You really can’t pull the wool over the representatives from the Small Island States. They’re truly on the climate front-line, so they need to get the data right. They estimate we are nearer to a 10% cut by 2020. Their own paper will be published for tomorrow’s KP Working Group.
In the debate today, the EU says, “How to raise the level of ambition has plagued the talks for more than a year”. Its hand stayed by the recession, the EU is unwilling to make a unilateral 30% cut in CO2 by 2020. Gambia and Micronesia want politicians involved now, not to leave the politicians to the last minute. Bolivia says pledges on the table now mean we are on a path to 4 degrees. Japan says, rightly, that only a third of global emissions come from Kyoto Protocol countries. So we need contributions from other sources: developing economies to commit to low carbon growth; reforestation projects.
Brazil reveals its frustration. The group is avoiding taking a lead. Spain tries to persuade the chair to let delegates talk hard numbers. But he is not shifting. Today he wants delegates to agree what the “issues” are: the numbers, dates, definitions and commitments, not pledges.
Meanwhile, a letter to the UN on behalf of the civil society constituencies (Environment NGOs, Women & Gender, Trade Unions, Youth, Indigenous Peoples and Local Government) expressed:
“our deep concern at the failure to allow us to make a planned intervention in the opening plenary… we do not believe civil society participation in this process should be treated as an optional add-on. This is consistent with the value placed on public participation within the framework convention and other international environmental conventions, such as the Aarhus Convention.”
Tomorrow, the ITUC’s working group on climate change meets here in Bonn to review progress. High on the agenda will be rebuilding our capacity at national level to sustain pressure on our Governments. We must build our own voice and create new alliances, as at IPPR ’s Green Jobs Summit, coming on 22 June in London.