Baby steps at Bonn climate talks reveal lack of ambition

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Discord, mistrust and a lack of ambition from countries contributed to the disappointing outcome of the latest round of climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, ACT Alliance says.

Held under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the Bonn talks – the first global meeting since last December’s COP 17 in Durban, South Africa – revealed little progress and real division between countries.

ACT Alliance had hoped the same spirit that triggered the creation of several important agreements in Durban would prevail, allowing governments to make progress in climate negotiations.However, it took two weeks for countries to adopt the agenda for the new negotiation track, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

“There isn’t much to show in terms of a concrete outcome: just an agenda, an agreement about who should chair the negotiations under the ADP, and barely any steps forward in the technical negotiations,” says John Nduna, ACT Alliance General Secretary.

Growing tensions

There was disunity and suspicion among the parties: the rift between developing and developed countries seemed to have widened, with growing tensions even among developing countries, notably within the G77 and China.

“The disagreement wasn't really about the agenda, but about the level of ambition and effort invested in the coming years. This is what makes it so worrying,” says Mattias Söderberg, chair of ACT Alliance’s advisory group on climate change advocacy.

Lack of ambition

The same lack of ambition was shown when the EU and other parties discussed ways forward on their Durban agreement to enter a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

ACT Alliance regrets that some parties have still given no indication of the level of emissions they will cut during this period, while others have tabled significantly low commitments that represent no ambition.

The world cannot afford this foot-dragging process any longer

Governments at Durban decided that a global climate agreement – one that includes all parties – would be implemented from 2020 the latest. Bonn has now highlighted the need to ensure the creation of clear, robust agreements, ACT Alliance argues.

“We are worried that if the negotiations fail to progress in next few months, COP 18 in Doha, Qatar at the end of this year will fail, which will further complicate a very delicate multilateral process,” says John Nduna.

“Countries must now fix all the political or technical hitches that were revealed in Bonn, and embark on a progressive forward-looking negotiation towards 2015, with clear milestones that will already be visible at COP 18.

"The world cannot afford this foot-dragging process any longer. It continues at great cost, not least to the poorest communities of the world with whom ACT works.

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For further information, please contact:
Isaiah Toroitich, climate change policy and advocacy officer: +41 798 257899 /