The Bonn Climate Change Conference signaling an important milestone in shaping the agenda for the upcoming COP28 conference in Dubai. However, negotiators at the United Nations climate talks expressed concerns as the technical discussions kicked off without a finalized agenda.
The absence of a clear plan casts doubt on the optimism surrounding the 10-day meeting’s ability to establish a comprehensive program for COP28 in the United Arab Emirates. The Bonn Climate Change Conference serves as a crucial mid-way checkpoint for assessing the direction of international climate negotiations leading up to the December summit.
The absence of a clear plan casts doubt on the optimism surrounding the 10-day meeting’s ability to establish a comprehensive program for COP28 in the United Arab Emirates.
Despite months of deliberations since the previous COP27 in Egypt, there was no consensus reached regarding the adoption of proposed agendas put forth by the COP permanent subsidiary bodies for the Bonn conference. Nabeel Munir, chair of the UN Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), highlighted this lack of agreement during the opening session.
Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), acknowledged the non-adoption of the agenda and characterized it as a common occurrence in a party-driven process. During a news conference, Stiell emphasized the significance of the December conference, stating that it presents a pivotal opportunity for the world to align itself with the 2015 Paris climate protection commitments.
Maximizing progress during the 10-day Bonn conference holds immense importance. With representatives from 200 countries in attendance, the event establishes the technical groundwork necessary for the subsequent political decisions to be made in Dubai later this year, Stiell added.
Tom Evans, a policy adviser at the independent climate think tank E3G, emphasized the central issue of whether to include an agenda item on climate change mitigation at the Bonn conference. The European Union has proposed such an item, raising questions about the phasing out of fossil fuels.
Evans noted that this situation serves as a precursor to the potential tensions surrounding the same question that may arise during COP28. At last year’s climate summit in Egypt, over 80 countries, including the EU and small island nations, agreed to include language in the final outcome advocating for the gradual reduction of all fossil fuels.
However, countries like Saudi Arabia and China urged Egypt not to include this language in the final text. When asked whether Stiell would urge COP28 President-designate Sultan al-Jaber to prioritize the fossil fuel phaseout on the Dubai conference agenda, he stated that he is not in a position to instruct him.
Nevertheless, Stiell reiterated the secretary’s stance, emphasizing that halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 necessitate significant reductions and the gradual elimination or reduction of all fossil fuels. The Bonn Climate Change Conference now faces the task of addressing these contentious issues and laying the foundation for productive discussions leading up to COP28.