Bonn: progress in climate change fight

Bonn: progress in climate change fight

The 23rd Conference of Parties (CoP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which concluded in Bonn earlier this month, had mixed results, but the outcome was more on the positive side than on the negative. It was meant to be a preparatory meeting for other meetings to be held in the run-up to the implementation of the Paris agreement in 2020. According to the agreement, a stock-taking meeting
has to take place in 2018, and the Bonn meeting managed to finalise the agenda of this "Facilitative Dialogue". That meeting will assess whether the promises of all countries under the Paris agreement will result in keeping the global temperature from rising less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This meeting will be held alongside the next CoP to be held in Poland next year. The climate change negotiation process is used to hard bargaining and incremental gains. But the Bonn meeting also had something to show.  

Developing countries wanted the next meeting to discuss not only the actions of developed countries in cutting emissions during the pre-2020 period but also their efforts in extending finance and technology to poor countries to help them fulfil their promises. This is a key part of the world's strategy to fight climate change. This has been included in the agenda, and the developed countries have agreed to submit a report by March next on the progress made by them on their pre-2020 commitments. But this may not mean that all promises of transfer of finance and technology will be fulfilled. Their failure, however, will lead to tensions before the Paris pact comes into force. A full picture may emerge only in the next six months. Developing countries are happy with another agreement on steps to help agriculture cope with climate change, as they have a big stake in this matter.  

One major achievement of the meet was the reaffirmation by all countries to abide by the Paris accord after the Trump administration's decision to pull the US out of it. There was a feeling anyway that the impact of Trump's decision would be limited because many states, businesses and companies in the US have agreed to support the Paris agreement and work to meet its objectives. The conference also saw a 'coal alliance' deciding to work for a quicker phase-out of coal-based power generation and the India-led Solar Alliance setting higher targets than before for installed capacity. The rules for implementation of the Paris agreement will have to be finalised next year. Some progress towards that has been made in Bonn.

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