]Summary of the Current status/situation
Greetings from day 4 in Bonn, where it seems like countries have entered into working mode and started negotiating their detailed plans for the year and what countries want to deliver by Durban on each of the elements and issues. The discussions on the LCA track and on the Kyoto track have begun on Tuesday afternoon, and on the LCA track they are now proceeding in closed meetings on the different key areas (adaptation, finance, mitigation, etc.), while the negotiations on the Kyoto track will continue tomorrow. In the meantime, the subsidiary bodies have also seemed to kick off with the SBI agenda debates finally resolved and the SBSTA beginning its substantive discussions. A workshop on NGO participation took place under SBI yesterday where NGOs and negotiators exchanged views on future improvements. Those in Bonn today and tomorrow will be keeping an eye on workshops on developed and developing country mitigation actions. They are a continuation of workshops in Bangkok where countries started to speak about mitigation plans and how they calculated their targets. This is an opportunity to quiz laggard countries how they plan to increase ambition levels, and we hope progressive parties will ask some good questions.
A debate that was known as “LCA agenda debate” and that was reportedly resolved in Bangkok seems to continue here in Bonn as it has moved into other venues. The question at the core of that debate is: do we spend the year ensuring what was agreed in Cancun gets operationalized in Durban, or do we also put equal focus on other elements that are considered important by various countries and NGOs. It has trickled down into the focused discussions on key building blocks, where parties are spending quite some time figuring out what’s on and what’s not. Yesterday, for example, the US and Canada got Fossil of the Day awards for blocking a discussion about sources of long-term finance that other parties felt was important to have. This and other examples show that some of these “relocated” agenda discussions are about legitimate concerns and sometimes also very much in our interest, but overall we are also dealing with a speed and spirit that might not get us where we need to go in time. That’s why AOSIS was awarded with a rare Ray of the Day on Tuesday, applauding their plenary intervention that reflected a constructive and positive spirit.
The Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period remains high on everyone’s agenda. Rather than entering the technical and substantive discussions, so far developing countries have preferred to focus on the political aspect of the debate, addressing the concern that there could be a gap between the first and second commitment periods. But seeing the lead negotiators of the EU and Bolivia having fun together in the hallways might be an indication that the EU and the G77 are talking behind the scenes, probably starting to explore a deal that would allow them to move ahead together on the second commitment period. In the meantime, NGOs in Bonn have been discussing different messages that can be conveyed to countries and that express our views on the future of the Kyoto Protocol and the overall agreement in Durban. These discussions are on-going, but there seems to be overwhelming agreement that we want to see the Kyoto Protocol moving forward as part of a package in which countries outside the Kyoto Protocol also commit to strong actions on the LCA track, reflecting their responsibilities and capabilities. Whatever we decide to do in the end, it’ll have to bring us closer to an effective global response to climate change.
What is happening?
Two key players in these negotiations are currently busy with domestic debates about their emission reduction targets: Japan and the EU. In light of the unfolding nuclear catastrophe resulting from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year, government and parliament are revisiting the country’s climate bill and energy plans, with pending decisions on future energy sources and legislation to promote them. GCCA partners in Japan are fighting for a massive increase in renewable energy and against a future in which the country would still depend on nuclear energy or fossil fuels. These debates and choices are closely linked to the UNFCCC negotiations, as the Japanese target of a 25% cut in emissions by 2020 is up for debate. Prime Minister Kan recently re-confirmed his support for the target, but in parliament members of his own party have argued to drop it.
The 3-months anniversary of Fukushima on Saturday will be an important moment in this context, as thousands of people will take to the streets all over Japan, supported by marches abroad and by petitions launched by our GCCA partners (below more on how to support this). Assisted by GCCA partners on policy messaging and latest intelligence from Japan, the youth in Bonn are handing over little origami peace cranes with haikus about the 25% target in order to help move things along. We will also try to build a bridge between Japan and Bonn at the NGO press conference tomorrow, and we are placing an op-ed co-authored by Oxfam and Greenpeace leaders Jeremy Hobbs and Kumi Naidoo in leading Japanese wire Kyodo.
The EU target for 2020 is also up for debate. GCCA partners are working to move it from currently 20% against 1990 levels to at least 40% (of which at least 30% would have to be achieved domestically). We are working with the UKYCC and other youth networks here in Bonn to support their Push Europe campaign which is calling for a low carbon transition, new green jobs and a stronger EU target. Various efforts including op-eds in European papers and actions planned for next week here in Bonn are underway, at their heart a UKYCC campaign aimed at collecting CVs and job applications for future green jobs from young people all over Europe, which will be sent to EU member states and handed over to representatives of the incoming and outgoing EU presidency (Poland and Hungary) here in Bonn.
Message for the day
Our demands for negotiators in Bonn haven’t changed, as Cancun gave them a helpful basis to deliver real progress in Durban, and Bonn must be about making headway in this direction. Linked to this discussion, we try to infuse some German spirit into the Japanese debate about targets and energy choices, and highlight the gigatonne gap and the EU target debate in the context of mitigation workshops here in Bonn.
What you can do today?
Help mobilize for the pro-renewables and anti-nuclear marches in Japan on Saturday. GCCA Board Chair and Greenpeace leader Kumi Naidoo is in Japan and will join the demonstrators, as hundreds of organizations run events all over Japan and elsewhere. And if you speak Japanese, don’t forget to add your name to the WWF Japan petition that calls for a new Basic Energy Plan for Japan with a 100% renewable energy target and a gradual nuclear fade-out.
Please also support the Power Shift campaign by European youth networks. Upload your green CV and ask your friends to do the same, and no matter what age, as everyone loves a green job: http://pusheurope.eu/.
A few other relevant materials
About the authorChristian Teriete
Christian is the Communications Director at the GCCA where he thinks a lot about reframing climate change communications to grow the climate movement and strengthen the mandate for political action.