National delegates gathered in Bonn, Germany this week to develop “a cohesive text of a new draft climate agreement” that will be tested in Lima in December and then refined throughout the course of 2015 until the COP21 in Paris.
The UNFCCC meeting runs from Monday (Oct. 20) to Friday (Oct. 25), and constitutes the sixth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), the body in charge of arranging a global climate deal under the UN Climate Convention to be implemented from 2020, and of setting a workplan in order to enhance pre-2020 efforts. This last round of negotiations prior to the UN climate conference in Lima “plays a decisive role” in the process towards the 2015 agreement, as delegates are asked to “clarify and advance the content of the deal” and the main focus this week will be on the operational aspects. At the moment, there are a number of outstanding issues to be discussed on the legal side of the deal. These include how institutions can serve the agreement, the governance of the agreement, interim or transitional arrangements and aspects of final provisions such as when the agreement enters into effect.
Parties to the UNFCCC agreed to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) by March 2015. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres is optimistic about meaningful commitments, given the momentum on climate action that has characterized 2014, (as shown by the meaningful participation to the UN Climate Summit in September). However, some countries would prefer a flexible legal instrument. The US climate change special envoy, Todd Stern, on Tuesday (Oct. 14) stated that the United States wants to broker a global agreement on climate change that would contain some legal elements but would stop short of being legally binding on an international level, Reuters reported.
The second focus of the ADP negotiations is on enhancing pre-2020 actions, and technical expert meetings are being run to examine measures and options with high mitigation potential. Two technical meeting are being run in Bonn this week, one on carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) and one on addressing non-carbon dioxide (non-CO2) greenhouse gases, like methane and hydroflurocarbons (HFCs), replacement gases in products like refrigerants that are friendly to the ozone layer but are powerful global warming gases.
(Image: View of the plenary hall in the World Conference Center, Bonn. Photo credit: IISD)