UNFCCC climate talks resume in Geneva

The first round of 2015 UNFCCC negotiations resumed on Sunday in Geneva, where countries are working to advance the key elements of the future climate deal ahead of the 21st Conference of the Parties to be held in Paris later this year.

In Paris, parties are expected to agree on a climate agreement, which will commit all countries to undertake climate change actions from 2020.

Opening the session, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, reminded delegates that “We must peak global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, trigger a deep de-carbonization of the global economy and eventually reach a climate neutral world in the second half of this century”.

The starting point of these talks is the outcome of the Lima conference, that took place last December and delivered the “Lima Call for Climate Action”, which includes a draft negotiating text. The first two days of the meeting were devoted to collect suggestions and options for the Paris climate deal from all participating countries in order to improve the text, which has been further divided according to main discussion topics. This led to an increase in the number of pages that, as in the case of “mitigation”, tripled in size. Parties are currently working to explore ways to streamline it.

Christiana Figueres, informing the media on Tuesday, admitted that the huge size will certainly “increase the challenge for June”, when then next round of talks are going to reconvene, but she confirmed the process is on course for reaching an agreement by the end of this year.

The work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) will close on Friday (Feb. 13) and will reconvene in Bonn on June 1st. In the meanwhile, some countries are expected to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) by the first quarter of 2015.

(Image: Geneva Climate Change Conference, Opening ceremony, February 2015. Photo credit: UNclimatechange on Flickr)