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Climate Change Talks Conclude in Bonn

© ENB15 June 2009: The Bonn Climate Change Talks, which concluded in Germany on 12 June 2009, consisted of the 30th sessions of the UNFCCC's Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA); the sixth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 6); and the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Protocol (AWG-KP 8).

The main focus in Bonn was to enhance international climate change cooperation, including in the post-2012 period when the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires. The long-term issues were considered by the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, which are both scheduled to conclude their work by the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15), to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.

AWG-LCA 6 concentrated on developing negotiating text, using a Chair's draft (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/8) as a starting point, and completed the first and second readings of the draft. The main outcome was a 200-page draft negotiating text that will be forwarded to the AWG-LCA's next meeting. The draft covers all the main elements of the Bali Action Plan namely: a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology.

AWG-KP 8 continued considering Annex I parties' further commitments under the Protocol. Discussions focused on proposals by various parties for Annex I countries' aggregate and individual emission reduction targets beyond 2012. No agreement was reached on the targets.

The main outcomes from the SBI included agreement to reconstitute the Consultative Group of Experts on Non-Annex I National Communications. Under the SBSTA, the main issues considered included research and systematic observation, various methodological issues, technology transfer and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD). Overall, these meetings resulted in the adoption of 31 conclusions and seven draft decisions that will be forwarded to COP 15 or to the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP/MOP) in December 2009, for their consideration.

At the conclusion of the meetings, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer stated that an ambitious and effective agreed outcome in Copenhagen “is in sight,” highlighting that governments had made clearer what they want to see in this agreed outcome. He also called for an increase “in the level of ambition” regarding the emission reduction targets discussed by the AWG-KP, warning that the negotiating group was still far from the range set out by science to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Michael Zammit Cutajar, AWG-LCA Chair, also pointed to the accelerated pace of negotiations, explaining that the next steps would be for parties to refine and streamline the text and to begin drafting at the Group's next session in August. John Ashe, AWG-KP Chair, reported that although good progress had been made on options for the treatment of land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) to reduce emissions, the group still needs to decide on the aggregate emission reduction target for industrialized countries, along with individual targets. [IISDRS Coverage] [UNFCCC Press Release]