中国气候变化信息网 China Climate Change Info-Net

Climate envoys regroup after rocky start to talks

(2015-10-21)Talks on a climate rescue pact got back on track Tuesday after an acrimonious start to the final negotiating session before world leaders open a UN summit to seal the deal.

The 195-nation discussions took a procedural detour Monday when developing countries accused rich ones of "apartheid" tactics, and claimed their core demands had been summarily excised from a blueprint.

France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will preside over the year-end Paris climate summit, urged negotiators Tuesday to advance. "To have success in Paris, progress must be made in Bonn by Friday," he told journalists on the sidelines of the five-day technical huddle.

After a late-night sprint to reintroduce omitted passages, the G77 bloc of developing nations - housing the vast majority of the global population - said Tuesday their key concerns were addressed.

The revised draft, expanded from 20 pages to 34, managed to "correct imbalances", South African climate envoy Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko said on the group's behalf.

This paved the way for delegates to resume their core work of line-by-line text bartering. "The majority of delegates seem happy with the agreed way forward," said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States at high risk of climate change-induced sea-level rise.

"I think we all understand that it will mean some long hours this week, but producing a party-driven text that all countries feel ownership of is a prerequisite for success in Paris."

While nearly a day-and-a-half was lost to the initial standoff, Cuba's chief negotiator Pedro Luis Pedrosa said at least "people really started listening to each other". "Now I have the impression that people, every delegation, is very much aware that now we don't have more time. Either we get it right, or we don't get it (an agreement)."

Added Alix Mazounie of the Climate Action Network NGO group: "The crisis we had yesterday was actually very important to refocus the attention of all parties on what this agreement needs to deliver to those most in need, especially on financial issues."

Missing wording on finance for developing nations was at the core of objections from the G77, which include developing giants China and India.

Averting disaster

Poor nations are demanding funding commitments from the rich world for their transition to less carbon-polluting energy, and for shoring up defences against climate change-induced sea-level rise and storms.
Fabius arrived in Bonn Tuesday to meet negotiators and assess the progress made ahead of the November 30-December 11 UN conference.

The five-day meeting must craft a workable blueprint for a pact meant to crown more than two decades of fraught climate negotiations. It will serve as a working document for ministers and heads of state who need to take the tough political decisions needed for the Paris summit to succeed.

A key pillar of the pact will be a list of national pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. But scientists warn that pledges submitted by more than 150 nations so far place Earth on course for warming closer to 3 C - a world of dangerous rises in sea levels, superstorms and the spread of disease.

The Paris agreement, due to take effect in 2020, will be the first to commit all the world's nations to climate action. UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday lamented the "frustrating" and "slow" pace of negotiations, and warned: "We don't have any 'plan B' because we don't have any 'planet B'."

Developing countries voiced anger at the beginning of the talks on Monday that a slimmed-down 20-page version of the text, created by the chairs of the negotiations, had not included key proposals on issues like helping people deal with the impacts of climate change and financing their protection.

In response, all countries were permitted to insert "must-have items". The resulting new text, issued overnight, is 34 pages long, and was described by climate experts as "manageable".

"Fears (it) would expand out of control were laid to rest," said Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, South Africa's delegate, who speaks on behalf of a key group of more than 130 developing nations and China.
Daniel Reifsnyder, co-chair of the talks, said the new text was now the "starting point of the negotiation" aimed at producing a binding agreement to curb global warming. That deal is due to be finalised by more than 190 nations at a U.N. conference in Paris starting on Nov. 30.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told negotiators in Bonn there was a need for confidence, transparency and a sense of urgency at the talks this week to ensure success in Paris.

"I am sure that a series of improvements will be brought to ensure the text is balanced and ambitious," and can be used as a starting point for the Paris summit, he added.

He said he hoped the Bonn discussions would settle some important issues and identify some key political questions remaining open.

Peter Betts, lead negotiator for the European Union, said the new draft text was a "useful tool" but there was still a long way to go before all countries agreed which essential elements should be part of the deal. Seven smaller groups are now setting to work in Bonn on discussing different sections of the draft agreement covering emissions reductions, climate finance, and adapting to extreme weather and rising seas, among other issues. Some countries said they would use those sessions to try to reintroduce certain proposals, as they were unhappy not all their suggestions yesterday had been included.


Civil society groups were furious that they will not be allowed to attend the sub-group meetings - a stance backed by Japan and the co-chairs, and opposed by Malaysia and others.

But in general, the mood in Bonn was that the new text now reflected a broader range of views from both developed and developing countries.

Mohamed Adow, senior climate change advisor with development charity Christian Aid, said a delicate balance had been struck in crafting a fair premise for negotiations, opening the way to defining clear options for ministers to grapple with in Paris.

He welcomed the reintroduction of a developing-world proposal on dealing with the losses and damage caused by unavoidable climate impacts; another linking adaptation needs with the level of temperature rises; and a long-term goal to decarbonise the global economy over the course of this century.

"Given the drama yesterday ... I am pleased to say we're far ahead into the process in terms of actually having a solid draft text that will be the basis for negotiation," Adow said. "We can now get on with the job at hand." Talks co-chair Reifsnyder said a further revised version of the draft deal would be produced at the end of Friday, when the Bonn talks close.

Date:Oct 22,2015