Posts by: Joshua Wiese

Every year in late spring, government negotiators from all around the world gather in Bonn for two solid weeks of work toward forging multilateral solutions to climate change issues. While not as prestigious as the annual Conference of Parties (COP), being hosted in Warsaw this November, the Bonn Climate Change Conference is a crucial annual meeting where much of the work that manifests as treaties, protocols and COP outcomes actually gets done.

That meeting started Monday, and we’ve got a four person team on the ground to tracking government negotiators and helping you follow the proceedings as they decide whether and how countries will mitigate and adapt to climate change. Meet the team:

Sébastien Duyck – Europe / @duycks on twitter
Seb is originally from France. He’s a perpetual student (currently studying/teaching environmental law and human rights in Finland and other places) and happily engaged in capacity building and outreach around climate politics across Europe. Seb acted as our negotiator tracker on the ground in Bonn in April when the 2013 climate talks first got underway. He’s offered this ‘curtain-raiser’ to fill you in on what’s happened so far this year and what to expect in the coming weeks.

Tariq Al-Olaimy – Bahrain / @tariqal on twitter
Tariq is a veteran AaN fellow based in Bahrain, who helped us track the negotiations during last year’s COP in Qatar. He is a social entrepreneur and biomimicry specialist; co-founder of a social impact consultancy called 3BL Associates focused on the MENA region; and he helped found and helps coordinator the Arab Youth Climate Movement in Bahrain. Tariq will work with Seb in Bonn to help us keep tabs on the big picture as this round of climate negotiations unfold.

Munira Abdelkader – Saudi Arabia / @munirasustain on twitter
Munira is another AaN veteran who helped us track the negotiations in Qatar. Munira works for a sustainability consultancy in Jeddah – helping businesses adopt more sustainable practices. She also helps coordinate the  Arab Youth Climate Movement in Saudi Arabia. Munira is in Bonn to help us launch an Arabic website to track climate politics in the MENA region. 

Michalina Golinczak – Poland /  @mgolinczak on twitter
Michalina is new to the AaN team and like most Polish people she’s also relatively new to the UNFCCC (check out her first post). She’s a social activist, co-editor for a Polish non-profit socio-political journal called “Recykling Idei” and a member of the newly established Polish Youth Climate Network. With Poland playing host to this year’s COP, Michalina will use this round of negotiations to help Polish readers get better acquainted with the UN climate talks and Polands role in unlocking climate change solutions. She’ll help us launch a Polish website dedicated to tracking climate politics. 

I’ll be supporting our team remotely, discussing each day’s news on daily live-streams at 1800 CET broadcast on the AaN homepage (tweet your comments and questions to @adoptnegotiator) as well as helping send daily email updates on the state of play from our wider GCCA team (sign up here).

Meet our team on the ground in Bonn to tracking government negotiators and helping you follow the proceedings as they decide whether and how countries will mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Read post

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue co-hosted by the governments of Germany and Poland concluded in Berlin earlier today, with some indications that it was a useful continuation of the discussions that took place in Bonn on a 2015 global climate treaty and what has to happen to increase climate action before any future treaty takes effect.

We’re assuming the 35 participating countries are a who’s who of who the Germans think are key for moving the climate solutions agenda forward. For those of you who couldn’t identify the minister’s and high-level government officials by face in the pictures released yesterday, Germany’s environment ministry just published the list of participants.  A few interesting titles on that list:

  • Saudi Arabia’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources – perhaps further indication of what KSM views as the most significant climate impact on their country, climate solutions and demand for oil.
  • Peru’s director general for climate – Peru was one of two main contenders for hosting next year’s COP, though rumor has it they aren’t having much success in finding supporters to back their bid.
  • US’ special envoy for climate change – though not a surprising appearance, Todd Stern is the face of the US government’s push for a bottom-up 2015 deal. 

We’d love to read your thoughts on which countries on the list stand out and why. Feel free to put them in the comments below.

It terms of the actual substance of the 2-day talks, it’s difficult to draw conclusions. Co-chairs Marcin Korolec & Peter Altmaier produced a political summary which will be fed into the UNFCCC process later this year. None of the ideas referenced in the summary are new, but their showing up in this context could influence what gets increased traction going forward.  

Notably, there was an increase in the profile of energy efficiency and renewable energy. There was reference to Ban Ki-Moon’s 2014 leaders summit as a key moment for governments to increase their pledges for climate action. Ministers stressed that “without engagement from the general public and their acceptance for practical solutions proposed, the impetus behind more climate action will be lost and successful implementation will fail.” To that end, there were suggestions of that some sort of major stakeholder engagement could take place at the next Conference of Parties (COP) in Warsaw later this year.

Ministers emphasized that  ”long-term, stable and reliable policy signals are essential to drive investments.” Germany’s environment minister Peter Atmaier pointed the finger squarely at the EU, calling for an urgent solution to the price decline in EU carbon credits. He suggested that saving the EU emissions trading scheme would be crucial for inspiring and encouraging other states to follow suit.

Beyond being an opportunity for key government officials to continue their engagement on climate issues, this meeting was a chance for Poland’s environment minister Marcin Korolec to show that Poland is serious about addressing the threats of climate change and will use their upcoming COP presidency to demonstrate that seriousness.  While the Co-Chairs summary failed to give any obvious indications to that end, it’s perhaps notable that most of the deadlines for concrete deliverables needed for a 2015 climate deal come not during, but after Poland hosts the COP. 

Have a look at the full summary text below. 

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue concluded in Berlin earlier today, with some indications that it was a useful continuation of the discussions that took place in Bonn on a 2015 global climate treaty and what has to happen to increase climate action before any future treaty takes effect.

Read post

While many countries’ climate negotiators headed home after the first round of this year’s Bonn Climate Change Conference closed on Friday, at least 35 high-level government delegates, including Ministers, stuck around for this week’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel co-hosted the event in partnership with the Polish Government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec. High-res & additional photos.

The Petersberg Dialogue has become an annual event, either following or preceding the Bonn Climate Change Conference that takes place every June. Ministers and high-level officials from 35 countries were invited to this year’s meeting, which aims to address four questions:

1. How can we shape an ambitious, effective and fair climate agreement with active participation from all countries by 2015, and implement it from 2020?

2. How can the UN climate process bring about more climate action at national level up to 2020, so that we can remain below the 2°C ceiling?

3. How can international climate policy create effective incentives for more private investment to advance the transformation towards a low-emission economy?

4. How can the climate change conference in Warsaw help us to achieve our main goals, and what are the most important milestones on the path to a new agreement in 2015?

Participants in this year’s Petersberg Climate Dialgogue. High-res & additional photos.

Perhaps indicative of how Poland’s government views the issue of climate change during a year they are set to host the annual Conference of Parties in Warsaw, Polands Prime Minister was invited to share the stage with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but declined. Instead, all eyes are on Poland’s Environment Minister, Marcin Korolec. In a conversation last week with RTCC’s Ed King, who covers international climate policy:

There’s a chance for him to demonstrate that he’s committed to a climate deal that’s going to have some environmental integrity. It’s a big opportunity for him to demonstrate that.

RTCC has a piece out today digging into Poland’s role on the road to getting a global climate deal in 2015.

Korolec and German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier are expected to produce a political summary of the meeting, enabling the results to feed directly into the UN negotiations. They will host a closing press conference at 13:00 CET May 7th (livestreamed here).

Merkel hosts Petersberg Climate Dialogue outside of Bonn to push key countries before talks re-open in June.

Read post

It’s the first day of the Bonn Climate Change Conference where government representatives of 195 countries are meeting for the first time this year. I met with with Sebastien Duyck in a Google+ Hangout, to talk about expectations for this round of climate negotiations and the atmosphere so far.

Sebastien Duyck shares his impressions of the first day of the Bonn Climate Change Conference in a google hangout with the Joshua Wiese

Read post

Since the year began, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres has been a tireless campaigner for climate action. In the last few months, she’s traveled to the Middle East, Asia, small and large islands across the Pacific, Africa, the Americas, and of course Europe – making the case that the coming months and years leading up to the planned 2015 global climate deal are really important. She even passed through my home town of San Francisco where she gave not one, but three major talks (here’s one of them).

This coming week, however, Christiana and many other key players in that 2015 deal will be in Bonn for the first major round of negotiations this year. To set expectations, or at least help set the tone, the UNFCCC published it’s latest newsletter prior to talks kicking off. Christiana, as you might imagine, plays a staring role. Check out her video curtain raiser, previewing the Bonn Climate Change Conference:

If Christiana’s video hasn’t sated your interest:

And of course, stay tuned to the Adopt a Negotiator website – veteran tracker Sébastien Duyck will be blogging from inside the conference halls, and I’ll be supporting remotely.

Christiana Figueres gives a sneak peak at the upcoming April session of the Bonn Climate Change Conference

Read post