| Mariette Le Roux |
PARIS (AFP) – A month after world leaders pledged to curb the threat of climate change, their words will be put to the test when talks for a new global pact resume in Bonn next week.
Negotiators will gather from Monday, tasked with ironing out differences over how to save Earth from potentially catastrophic climate damage.
The six-day meeting must lay the groundwork for the annual round of ministerial-level UN talks in Lima in December.
In turn, the Lima forum has to pave the way to a historic pact in Paris in December 2015, uniting 195 nations, rich and poor.
“There’s so much that needs to be done… if we’re to remain on track for an ambitious agreement in Paris which meets the needs of those countries most vulnerable to climate change,” Ronny Jumeau, spokesman for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) told AFP.
A special summit in New York on September 23, called by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, marked the biggest top-level climate gathering since Copenhagen in 2009.
Heads of state and government queued to renew vows to seal the 2015 deal as demonstrators rallied outside.
Taking effect from 2020, the accord would seek to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels and channel hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to poor states.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that on current trends, the planet could be up to 4.8 C warmer by 2100 and sea levels up to 82 centimetres (32 inches) higher.
Conflict, hunger, floods and homelessness would be the likely result, and risks of conflict amplify as nations joust over resources.
Another scientific team, the Global Carbon Project, reported in September that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and cement production grew by 2.3 percent in 2013 to a record 36 billion tonnes. It predicted a 2.5-percent rise for 2014.
Yet nations have squabbled for more than two decades over how to share emissions curbs, which requires a costly shift away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy use.
The New York meeting has revived political interest in this long process.
But, say analysts, many technicalities – some of them nightmarishly complex – remain.
What will be the pact’s status under international law? How will it be binding? Will there be sanctions for countries who fail to meet their targets? And who will monitor compliance and measure if the global effort is falling short?
The talks in Germany will be the first chance to discuss a rough 22-page outline drawn up by working group leaders and distributed for scrutiny in July.
“In Bonn, we will start understanding where everybody stands, what are the potential obstacles, and what are the points people agree on,” said Seyni Nafo, an African bloc spokesman.
The meeting must also start narrowing down what data countries must provide when they submit emissions pledges, including whether they should include financing commitments. The goal is to have these pledges on the table by the end of 2015’s first quarter.