Bonn III – revenge of the bad deal


The divide between supporters of the Copenhagen Accord (CA) and those countries, who favour the Bali Action Plan (BAP) became once again visible to all in Bonn. Further, the negotiation discourse was tried to be changed, again between these rival groups. One side tried to work more on a conceptual change to provide their positions with theoretical backup, while the other side points towards pragmatism. There might have been new found agreement in details. However, this rift – without being a clear cut between groups – is the determining force of the negotiations.

Copenhagen opened the door for a pledge-and-review based climate regime with NGOs describing this process as an „dismantling“ of the current regime. After the negotiation text from the LCA-Chair was drastically reduced at Bonn II, especially countries of the Global South were in protest. Some progressive ideas (e.g. 1.5% of A1-GDPs for the Climate) came back into the text but at the end of Bonn III some still demanded a „party driven text“. Countries like Venezuela also added moire to their existing critique of the outsourcing of negotiations e.g. into Ban Ki-Moon’s Finance Group, the G-20 or the Paris-Oslo-Process. Adding more spice to this, the UNFCCC reduced the number of negotiation days this year while a recent Nature-article calculated that CA-pledges would lead to an increase in global emissions by 6.5% in 2020 over 1990 levels.

Bonn’s Focus
The new Secretary Christiana Figueres pointed to five key areas for Bonn III: carry on public pledges, ways and means for climate action in the South, putting financial pledges into practise, MRV and finding a binding manner that “can be on an international level, a national level, or based on compliance rules” (sic!).
Throughout the negotiations, CA-supporters tried to migrate the flexible mechanisms into the LCA-text. This tasty flesh of the Kyoto Protocol would then be available to A1 Parties without agreeing on a 2nd commitment period. Hence, the “firewall” between both tracks (as agreed in Bali) would have been broken.

USA and Friends
Being against compliance mechanisms and instead for a „bottom-up“ and „pledge-based approach“ which bases “domestically derived mitigation commitments”, one can be happy that the US still aims at the 2°-goal. However, “aggregate targets” are discriminated agains flexibility by means „provided for under their respective laws and policies“. Also countries like Japan want to take the CA as the corner stone of a new treaty. Trying to win over hearts, Umbrella Countries search for a “bottom-up” and legally binding (and „symmetrical“) agreement to implement economy-wide (!) mitigation targets. These should take “national circumstances into account.” Further, “success in Cancun did not hinge on the passing of comprehensive legislation in the US” was the assuring phrase heard in Bonn. Nevertheless, the US pushed the CA plus an increase in MRV and more ICA (international consultations and analysis) agreement. Knowing that fair negotiations need time, they pointed to current natural desasters and demanded a “significant operational outcome” of Cancun, because South Africa might be too late.

The EU was visible in demanding an “expanded global carbon market that goes far beyond the existing [CDM]”. Their need for a “scaled-up” market was topped by the claim to have more MRV and ICA reference. It could be possible that the EU is not withholding their “30% come-out” until other major emitters follow, but rather until an agreement on new scaled-up market gives them the additional 10% for free.

Southern Parties
Africa critizised heavily the u-turn on REDD+ and pointed out that in terms of climate finance, not only the size of the funds but also the sustainability of the sources is significant. Further, they made it clear that there is no progress in only one of the tracks and even within, progress is highly linked (e.g. NAMAs, MRV and finances). These countries stand to loose the most from a bad deal, thus they try to get something out of at least some parts. This was corroborated by Egypt, stating that without a 2nd commitment period, there will be not market mechanisms („no supply without knowing the demand“). AOSIS reinstated it’s demand for a “mechanism for loss and damage”.
The BASIC-countries pushed against Umbrellas (e.g. India refuting proposals outside the LCA) while the former BRIC-partner Russia now heavily called on “major emitters and ecomonies” to be take on responsibility and targets.

Bonn III saw more spin-off groups in the LCA (on mitigation, shared vision, adaptation, and finance/technology/capacity building) and contact groups in KP (on numbers, LULUCF, and methodology/legal questions). The chair of the LCA concluded, that there are still some issues which will not be resolved in Cancun. Africa deducted that there simply is no shared vision while LDCs observed a missing of seriousness in the negotiations. The new negotiation text for Tianjin grew again to almost 70 pages…

Two concepts presented in the Worshop „scale of emission reductions“

Bolivias approach of cliamte debt and negative emissions
Bolivia wants to go ahead in the debate and present concrete numbers to overcome the abstract thinking about climate debt. The calculated “negative emissions” can hardly be taken back from the atmosphere and given to the South. Hence, finance comes in: „This is why finance is not about aid, it is about equity.“ There is similarity with our GDR-idea as well as with the budget-approach by WBGU.

  • Step one: carbon budget
    If the world wants to stay below 2°C with a 67% probablility, 750 Gt CO2 are left until 2050. Taking the 1.5°-goal, this shrinks to 420 Gt. With regard to equity and historical responsibilities, A1 countries (having 16% of global population in 2010-2050 timeframe) will get 120 Gt / 67 Gt. But under the CA-scenario, they need 13.3 Gt a year alone – this is too much until 2050!
  • Step two: historic responsibility
    This will be calculated as follows: A1 countries had 25% of global population between 1850-2010 and emittet 932 Gt (72% of the global emissions of 1.300 Gt since 1850). But they had only the right to 325 Gt. Thus, they have a climate debt of 607 Gt CO2.


Indias approach
Similar to Bolivia, India presented an “equity and global carbon budget”, focussing on per-capita emissions. Further, there is a theoretical distinctin between “entitlements or allocations” and “physical access to carbon space.” From this, they deducted three rules (basically saying the same from different angles). Like Bolivia, India demands a financial offset for “negative entitlements into the future” of Global North countries.

  • Rule one: different emissions
    There are “luxury emissions” and “development emissions”. While the latter are allowed to rise if countries are still emitting less than their fair share, “luxury emissions” have to be stopped for those countries over their threshold. The aim is to decrese divergences from each countries fair share.
  • Rule two: global carbon budget
    There should be as little divergence as possible from the global carbon budget. (This differs from the AOSIS-position of “the lower the emission, the better it is.”)
  • Rule three: per-capita emissions
    These, too, have to be narrowed to individuals “fair share.” (Despite the assurance that historical emissions will be taken accoutn of in this model, it remains unclear whether this happens at a per-capita base or onto countries.)

Leave a reply

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.