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Latest Round of Climate Talk in Bonn Conclude with (Some) Progress on Loss and Damage

Climate talks concluded in Bonn, Germany last Friday “on track to produce the first comprehensive draft of the new, universal climate change agreement that governments are committed to reach in Paris, in December,” according to a press release from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“At this session, countries have crystalized their positions and have requested the Co-Chairs to produce a concise basis for negotiations with clear options for the next negotiating session in October. This means that we will arrive in Paris on time without too much turbulence– not before, not later,” said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Co-Chair of the ADP, the negotiating body tasked with reaching the agreement that must put the world on a path to stay beneath a 2 degree Celsius temperature rise.

“What Parties are looking for now is a better basis from which to negotiate. This week, we achieved an enormous amount of clarity as to where we are going which makes this possible and allows us to speed up,” said Co-Chair Daniel Reifsnyder.

Pieces of the puzzle, loss and damage: the elephant in the room

Laurence Tubiana, Special Climate Envoy for the Government of France said: “At this session, countries have clarified all the different pieces of the puzzle. Now, all pieces of the puzzle will be assembled and this will enable the negotiations to pick up pace.”

After decades of climate talks and the specter of COP15 and the aspirational “Copenhagen Accord” it produced, negotiators are well aware of the most difficult issues before them if they hope to reach a deal in Paris. The BBC reports one crucial piece of the puzzle of which negotiators have expressed optimism from the Bonn talks is “compromise on the thorny issue of loss and damage.”

Developing nations point to increasing frequency of extreme weather events from climate change caused mostly by greenhouse gas emissions from rich nations and the responsibility of rich nations to compensate poorer nations for loss and damage from these even. According to the World Bank, losses to insurers due to weather events has risen from about $50 billion a year in the 1980s to around $200 billion now.

The United States and European Union have resisted the idea compensation for loss and damage fearing an “unending string of liability.” At COP19 in Warsaw the issue was a major roadblock, leading to the “Warsaw Mechanism” intended to develop a plan to tackle the issue within two years. Developing nations propose loss and damage should “be at the heart of a new global deal.”

Despite prior resistance from the U.S. and EU, observers in Bonn report they have backed-off from their hard line attitude, instead engaging in discussion on these ideas “in a constructive and positive spirit.” A proposal from the U.S. concedes that the Warsaw Mechanism should be extended and made permanent, and they would “respond to concerns of developing countries.”

“It’s a big step forward,” Harjeet Singh of Action Aid told the BBC, “At least people are feeling a recognizing the elephant in the room, they’re not hiding it under the carpet anymore.”

“At this meeting we’ve seen positive moves that I think give us hope that loss and damage can be successfully concluded and we can agree a successful climate agreement in Paris,” said Julie-Anne Richards from the campaign group, Climate Justice. <

The next and last meeting of the ADP before the COP21 conference in Paris will take place October 19-23 in Bonn.

“I am very encouraged,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. “This session has yet again proven that all countries are moving in the direction of progress and all agree that Paris is the final destination for the new universal agreement.”

Image credit: European Commission DG ECHO, courtesy flickr

The post Latest Round of Climate Talk in Bonn Conclude with (Some) Progress on Loss and Damage appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

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Joris van Dorp's picture
Joris van Dorp on Sep 8, 2015 3:37 pm GMT

I’m getting an uncomfortable feeling about where these talks will be going.

Suppose the end result of the talks is that the tired and unworkable pipe-dreams of the category “Renewables Will Save Us, Down With Nuclear” are maintained and strengthened in their current assinine form, while the only new result is that a global scale wealth transfer regime is imposed to force wealthy nations to pay climate damages ad infinitum while the fossil juggernaut powers on as usual?

I can see it happening easily – crazier policies have been enacted in recent history – but will it?

The problem with settling for the fact that climate damages can no longer be avoided and need to be paid for is that we start focussing on repairing the damage before spending a minute to think about why we have failed to prevent climate damage in the first place. There is of course only one reason for that, namely rabid, global, well-funded, institutionalised antinuclearism.

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on Sep 10, 2015 8:36 pm GMT


Was it anti-nuclear activism, or a plunge in the price of coal?





Joris van Dorp's picture
Joris van Dorp on Sep 14, 2015 11:34 am GMT

The (temporary) plunge in coal prices was chiefly a result of the (temporary) Shale Gas Revolution in the USA, which was itself caused largely by high oil prices (shale oil/shale gas, two sides of the same coin).

High oil prices during the last decade have stimulated oil extraction to such a degree that the (increasingly) large volumes of co-produced natural gas has been icnreasingly dumped on the market at any price. Drillers were making so much money from extracting (shale)oil that they were happy to just dump the co-produced natural gas.

At the same time, the Shale Gas Boom in the USA was itself the result of successfull government stimulus of innovative shale gas technology development and implementation, enabled in the 90’s and 00’s in reaction to the looming spectre of Peak Oil (which was quietly acknowledged by the US government decades ago) and because in those years there was a very real fear in the USA that its conventional natural gas supplies were running on empty.

Moreover, global economic shocks and slowdowns in the past decade or so have kept global coal demand significantly below reference projections, which – in the mining sector with it’s long lead times – would have lead to a withering (though temporary) coal price collapse even without the Shale Gas Glut and high oil prices causing a natural gas price collapse at the same time.

All of these dynamics are temporary though – lasting only a few years or a decade at most – while investment and retirement programs are brought inline with actual market developments. Current low coal prices do not mean that coal has suddenly become cheaper to produce of course. It simply means there is (temporarily) more supply than demand.

Arguably, the situation would have been very different if nuclear power expanded globally like it should and could have throughout the last few decades. If that had happened, then the world would have had an order of magnitude more nuclear power online today than it does, there would have been no rampant global coal binge, and there would have been no need for a Shale Gas Revolution.



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