In the nice introductory note my editor made on my first post, he concluded by saying that I “will be covering the international climate talks for Dispatch.” While I’m not sure how I will do that between now and the Tianjin talks in October, I had enough material to draw on from the conclusion of the Bonn conference for another post.
At the beginning of the climate conference in Bonn, Germany, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres called on delegates to do what was “politically possible” and make “incremental” progress. By most accounts, the Bonn talks fell short of even these modest goals. Rifts between poor countries and rich nations that were papered over in Copenhagen reopened leaving delegates with more to debate at the final climate conference in Tianjin, China before the year-end Cancun summit and less common ground from which to begin discussions.
Contentious topics grew more heated and previously settled issues were reconsidered. China continued to claim that international monitoring of its emissions would interfere with its sovereignty. Developing countries sought to make the emissions targets they’d agreed to in Copenhagen voluntary, while insisting that rich countries’ reductions remain mandatory. Some poor nations also sought to increase the amounts of money pledged for climate change mitigation from the long-term goal of $100 billion a year by 2020 and short-term goal of $10 billion a year by 2012. (Although US deputy special climate envoy Jonathan Pershing said they were seeking “staggering sums out of line with reality,” the pledged figures now seem less substantial when compared with China’s plan to spend some $70 billion a year for a decade on renewable energy investments and the costs of rebuilding after climate-related disasters in Pakistan and Russia.)
Each dispute added contentious pages to the climate text under discussion, which must now be whittled back down in the Tianjin talks in October. This “tit for tat” diplomacy, as the European Union’s co-lead negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger described it, caused the working draft to double in size from 17 to 34 pages.
The only thing all negotiators seemed to agree upon was that their efforts in Bonn had been unsuccessful.
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Photo credit: hans.gerwitz (via Flickr)