Bonn Climate Change Talks Make Limited Progress

14 June 2010: The Bonn Climate Change Talks took place from 31 May-11 June 2010, in Bonn, Germany. The meeting included the 32nd sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies of the UNFCCC, the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 10) and the 12th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 12).

Approximately 2,900 participants attended the meeting, representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector and the media. One of the key issues under the Subsidiary Bodies was an agenda item under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) on scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects of mitigating climate change. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), with most other parties, called for requesting a technical paper by the Secretariat on options for limiting global average temperature increase to 1.5°C and 2°C from pre-industrial levels. The proposal was opposed by Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. No agreement was reached and parties eventually adopted SBSTA conclusions without referencing the technical paper. Many parties and civil society representatives expressed “deep disappointment” at the outcome.

The AWG-LCA focused on exchanging views on the Chair's new draft negotiating text (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/6) through a contact group chaired by AWG-LCA Chair Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe). During the meeting, several delegates commented on the constructive mood and some felt that progress was made on issues such as finance. However, AWG-LCA 10 did not adopt conclusions as parties did not reach agreement on a number of issues, including a request to the Secretariat to compile developed and developing countries' mitigation pledges. Late in the evening on Thursday, 10 June, AWG-LCA Chair Mukahanana-Sangarwe circulated the advance draft of a revised text to facilitate negotiations among parties, to be issued as an official document (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/8) for consideration by AWG-LCA 11 in August. She explained that the draft text would still be revised before the August session and that she did not wish to discuss it at AWG LCA 10. During the closing plenary, a number of developing countries indicated that the advance draft was "unbalanced," emphasizing that it could not be used as the basis for negotiations in August unless developing countries' proposals were better reflected.

For the AWG-KP, the focus was on Annex I emission reductions and other issues, including the flexibility mechanisms and land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). In particular, parties exchanged views on the pledged emission reductions and the underlying assumptions on the use of the flexibility mechanisms and LULUCF in the post-2012 period. Participants also addressed legal matters and ways to ensure that there is no gap between the first and subsequent commitment periods. Late on Friday night, 11 June, the AWG-KP agreed to conclusions (FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/L.4) requesting the Secretariat to prepare a technical paper on legal issues and organize a technical workshop on the scale of Annex I emission reductions before AWG-LCA 13. Many felt that even though the level of ambition reflected in Annex I parties' pledges remains inadequate, the AWG-KP has now made some “progress in the right direction.”

At the end of the meeting, delegates also bid farewell to outgoing UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer and welcomed the appointment of Christiana Figueres (Costa Rica) as the next Executive Secretary. De Boer called on negotiators to begin an in-depth consideration of the legal nature of any new agreement or set of agreements. He also said that it was essential to take a “cold look” at the 76 emission reduction and emission limitation pledges that have been made by developed and developing countries since the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. [UNFCCC Press Release] [IISD RS Coverage] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin Summary Report of Bonn Climate Change Talks] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin climate change coverage archives]