Climate negotiations resume in Bonn with “urgency” as underlying theme.

This morning, a new round of climate negotiations opened in Bonn. The negotiations are taking place in the former federal parliament of Germany (before the capital city was moved to Berlin), a building made of glass in order to symbolize transparency. The co-chair of the talks emphasized the relevance of this theme as a principle to guide the negotiations. Stakeholders hope that the coming five days will provide an opportunity to move from conceptual discussions into more substantial dialogues.

During the coming five days, country delegations will meet in workshops and roundtable – format of negotiations promoting informal dialogues rather than the postures – to discuss the content of the global climate agreement expected in 2015. They will also debate solutions to increase the ambition of climate policies and approaches available to foster cooperation among all actors who are already taking actions. See my previous post highlighting the stakes of this session or the comprehensive curtain-raiser by Ed King of RTCC.

In her short welcoming statement, Christiana Figueres – the Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Secretariat – highlighted the fact that scientists are just reporting this week that the concentration of warming gases in the atmosphere will exceed the historic threshold of “400 ppm”. In this light, Christiana invited delegates to consider the urgency of climate action as the underlying theme of the coming week, a call reiterated by many parties to the talks.

Once all negotiating blocks had taken the floor, Yeb Sano – the head of the delegations of the Philippines – reminded once again the importance to consider the human impacts of climate change and the need for urgent action to curb the increase of emissions. In Doha, Yeb Sano had delivered a very powerful statement highlighting the distress of his country hit by Typhoon Bopha. Yeb Sano concluded his intervention last December asking other delegates: “I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”

The “transparency” enabled by the glass building also allows those inside the building to observe the traffic on the Rhine river of coal-filled flatboats on their way to fuel the generation of energy of the country and to damage our atmosphere. The urgent need to decarbonize our economies becomes suddenly much more concrete…