Drafting a universal climate change agreement enters critical stage of negotiations and streamlining of agreement text
Bonn climate change conference will be held at the World Conference Center Bonn (Photo courtesy:iisd.ca/)
essential for sustainable development of developing countries. From producing food to building houses and low-carbon infrastructure, carbon space will be required for the billions in Africa, Asia and Latin America to come out of poverty.
- Legal nature of the agreement: The text from the previous ADP session in Geneva, held in February 2015, preserves the option of adopting a protocol—an agreement with the highest legal rigour under international law. But there are doubts about the eventual shape of the agreement.
Treaties and protocols are legally binding, but they require ratification by governments of member states—a long process which doesn’t always take place. A legally binding deal doesn’t necessarily mean legally binding emissions targets. Promises to reduce emissions may not be included in the legally binding part of the deal.
- Scope and adequacy of the INDCs: A number of countries, particularly some of the major economies like the US, EU, Russia and Canada, have submitted their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions).
Questions will be raised about the adequacy of the INDCs—for instance, the US mitigation target amounts to barely 15 to 17 per cent below 1990 levels and is even less ambitious than what had been pledged in Copenhagen. The Canadian INDC, which seems even more weak, amounts to just 21 per cent below 2005 levels and just 2 per cent below 1990 levels if LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry) is not taken into account.This is when science clearly tells us that the emission reductions have to be substantially higher to limit global warming to under 2°C. Most INDCs have also focused only on mitigation, although the text from Lima had urged countries to include adaptation, finance and technology transfer in the submissions.
The timing of the Bonn session acquires special significance considering that there is a rising frequency of extreme weather events across the world. Just the last couple of months have seen unseasonal rains, followed by extreme heat wave-like conditions in India which led to thousands of deaths. Southeast Brazil and California are facing one of the worst droughts ever and there are predictions that El Nino conditions could see Australia face one of its worst droughts ever.
These events underscore the fact that the world needs to take bold, ambitious and urgent steps if it is to limit global warming to under 2°C and prevent irreversible and catastrophic impacts of climate change.
|Agenda for the 11-day ADP session at Bonn
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