Bonn Climate Change Conference 2018Date: 30 April 2018
LDC Group and the UN Climate Change Negotiations
From 30 April – 10 May 2018, the United Nations climate change negotiations will convene in Bonn, Germany. The Bonn Climate Change Conference comes at a time when the urgency of action on climate change has never been clearer. In 2017, the world experienced devastating events exacerbated by climate change, from deadly hurricanes and flooding, to severe droughts, wildfires and heatwaves, creating irreversible loss and damage. Spread across Africa, southern Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean, none know this better than the 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). While the LDCs have contributed negligible emissions, they are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and many lack the capacity to adequately protect their populations.
While there has been significant international political progress in recent years, countries are still far off implementing actions on the scale required to steer the planet away from dangerous climate change and achieve the goals that have been set under international agreements. The LDC group intend to use the upcoming Conference to chart a course towards fair and ambitious outcomes that curb the growing threat climate change poses to people and the planet, to implement the UN Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, and to advance the interests and aspirations of poor and vulnerable countries and peoples.
Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, Parties set about creating the rules to translate the Paris vision into tangible action. This ruleset is due to be delivered this December at COP24, but much work remains to be done in developing a robust set of rules that will enable full and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Detailed in this note are some of the key questions that will arise in Bonn, including:
- How will support be secured for poor and vulnerable countries?
- How will global temperature goals be met?
- How will countries deal with the adverse impacts of climate change?
- How will the world transition to a clean energy future?
- How can we advance climate action in 2018?
The Least Developed Countries Group is committed to achieving fair andambitious outcomes on all of the issues arising at the negotiations, not just those listed here.
For further information, interviews, briefings or quotes on these topics or others from the LDC group please email email@example.com to be put in touch with Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC group.
1. How will support be secured for poor and vulnerable countries?
Climate finance issues proved particularly contentious at COP23 in November 2017, and these debates will continue in Bonn. A core issue is the fulfilment of the commitment made by developed countries to mobilise a minimum of US$100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 to support developing countries to both cope with the impacts of climate change and take actions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Climate finance is key to the implementation of the Convention, Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement; empowering developing countries to protect their citizens, and pursue their ambitious climate actions.
The support LDCs and other developing countries currently receive falls far short of the US$100 billion agreed. So far, US$10.3 billion has been pledged to the Green Climate Fund, while targeted funds like the Least Developed Countries Fund sit almost empty with a backlog of approved projects. Many vulnerable countries also have difficulty accessing finance that has been mobilised, so mechanisms for the disbursement of funds need to be improved to ensure support reaches those countries that need it so acutely. One of the forums in which these issues will arise in Bonn will be the workshop on long-term finance, which is set to consider how to scale up climate finance for mitigation and adaptation.[i]
Climate finance discussions will also need to consider how to meet the actualneeds of LDCs and other developing countries. More than US$4 trillion is needed to implement the current nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of developing countries, with US$200 billion needed for LDC adaptation actions costed to date alone (this figure is despite some LDCs having only partially costed their needs or not costed them at all).[ii] In this context, Parties need to decide a new collective goal on finance beyond the current ‘floor’ of $100 billion by 2025, as mandated at COP21, and the LDCs will be advocating for this discussion to begin to allow adequate time for deliberations. There is also an urgent need to agree to a definition of climate finance, so that when ‘climate finance’ is provided, parties can be confident that it is new and additional to Official Development Assistance and not double counted. This will enable the amount of money that is actually provided to support climate action to be assessed.
In Bonn, Parties will also reopen the issue of developed countries providing ex ante information on the provision of public financial resources, a topic that saw countries deliberating into the early hours of the morning at the conclusion of COP23. Such information gives developing countries the confidence to plan and implement climate actions and it is important this is addressed in 2018.
Without scaled up and predictable climate finance, as well as support in the form of technology and capacity building, the LDCs and other developing countries who have made ambitious pledges under the Paris Agreement will not have the means to implement them and contribute to global goals. There will be a number of forums in Bonn for discussion of technology and capacity building, both in the formal negotiations, as well as in sessions on Action for Climate Empowerment, the Durban Forum on Capacity-building, and the meeting of the Paris Committee on Capacity Building.[iii]
2. How will global temperature goals be met?
In Bonn, key discussions will continue around action to curb emissions to remain within safe limits for communities and ecosystems across the world. Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC – the UN’s climate science panel) highlight the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. While the Paris Agreement sets a goal of keeping average global temperatures well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,[iv] full implementation of current emissions reduction pledges made by countries in their NDCs, including conditional pledges,[v] are projected to lead to a temperature rise of 2.7-3.2°C.[vi] Global temperatures have risen 1.2°C so far and this is already having a devastating effect.[vii]
At the end of last year, LDC Ministers noted the large ambition gap with ongoing concern and reemphasised “the need for higher climate ambition by all countries in a manner that is consistent with their responsibility for climate change and capacity to respond, in order to close the emissions gap to avoid further devastating climate change impacts.”[viii] The Paris Agreement provides that every five years countries will submit a new NDC that represents a ‘progression’ beyond their current commitments, and so important discussions will be had at the Conference around how to facilitate an upwards spiralling of commitments that is both fair and proportional to the task at hand – a task that the LDC group has emphasised should occur before 2020.[ix]
As was emphasised in the conclusions of COP23,[x] developed countries need to urgently follow through on their decades-old commitments under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions and all countries must ratify the Doha Amendment if they have not yet done so to bring the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol into force. Ambitious mitigation in the pre-2020 period is essential to achieving the global temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The less mitigation that is undertaken now, the more devastating and costly the effects of climate change will be in the future.
- How will countries deal with the adverse impacts of climate change?
Developing mechanisms that assist countries to adapt the adverse impacts of climate change is imperative to an effective global response. The LDCs are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and in dire need of receiving support to build climate-resilient communities. Finance, technology, and capacity building needs to be provided to assist LDCs with the formulation and implementation of their National Adaptation Plans and other forms of adaptation planning, so that countries can prepare their economies, infrastructure and social support structures for the impacts of climate change. How to secure this support and what information on adaptation should be communicated by countries will continue to be an important discussion at the Conference.
Additionally, with a changing climate, communities who are reliant on agriculture can have their livelihoods wiped out during a single drought, while island states face the loss of homes, culture and history of entire populations. An unavoidable aspect of responding to climate change effectively is addressing impacts that communities are not able to cope with or adapt to. Recognition of the loss and damage that results from climate change as a key action area in the international community’s response was a significant achievement under the Paris Agreement.[xi]
At COP23 there were contentious debates around loss and damage. The push by LDCs and other developing countries for a permanent agenda item was opposed by developed countries, eventually compromising with a one-off expert dialogue – the Suva Expert Dialogue – that will be conducted in Bonn.[xii] This Dialogue will explore ways to provide expertise and enhance support for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage. A concrete finance plan for loss and damage is lacking and the LDC Group will continue to push for progress on genuine support for loss and damage in 2018.
4. How will the world transition to a clean energy future?
The Conference will also be an important opportunity to advance tangible outcomes by providing a platform for collaborative efforts between countries to act on climate change. Renewable energy is a key area in this regard, and has the power to place the world on a path to a cleaner, fairer and more prosperous future.
The LDCs are working hard to lift their people out of poverty and achieve sustainable development outcomes without relying on fossil fuels, and their Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative for Sustainable Developmentis an example of LDC leadership in this space. LDC Ministers recently welcomed progress and reaffirmed their commitment to the Initiative, while urging the global community to support its implementation.[xiii] The Initiative will empower LDCs to achieve universal energy access by implementing modern distributed renewable energy systems, planning for a 100% renewable energy future, and utilizing the best practice energy use and efficiency standards.
Similar initiatives are being taken up by other countries and groups of countries. The Bonn Conference is an opportunity for countries to share their experiences, catalyse support, and demonstrate they are serious about tackling climate change with real action.
- How can we advance climate action in 2018?
2018 is expected to be a busy year both inside and outside the UNFCCC negotiations. An additional negotiating session has been proposed for Bangkok in September in light of the many key issues that need to be resolved, and there are also a number of high-level events scheduled, such as the Talanoa Dialogue and a California Summit for non-Party stakeholders.
The 2018 deadline for completion of the UNFCCC’s “ruleset” to implement the Paris Agreement is fast approaching, and it is vital that this rulebook effectively addresses each pillar of the Agreement to facilitate fair and ambitious climate action on all of the issues outlined above. Parties will need to ensure tangible progress is made in Bonn to avoid a last-minute rush at COP24.
The Talanoa Dialogue, which will be ongoing throughout this year, will play an important role in providing collective guidance on how to put the world on a pathway to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. The Talanoa Dialogue must also take stock of the persistent gap in finance, technological and capacity building support and lead to recommendations on how to close that gap. At the Conference, Parties and non-Party stakeholders will have the opportunity to engage in ‘story telling with a purpose’ and reflect on where we are, where we want to be, and how we will get there. The Talanoa Dialogue will conclude with a political phase conducted by Ministers in Poland at COP24.
It is anticipated there will be a strong focus on pre-2020 action in Bonn. Pre-2020 action, support, and scaled up ambition over the next two years will be fundamental to achieving fair and equitable outcomes for all. In Bonn, the world will be watching for leaders across the globe to take serious action on climate change and the LDC group looks forward to working with all partners towards just, effective and ambitious outcomes on all issues arising at the Conference.
[i]Long-term climate finance workshop: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/bonn-climate-change-conference-april-2018/events-and-schedules/mandated-events/mandated-events-during-sb-48/long-term-climate-finance-lft-workshop-part-1.
[ii] Guardian, April 2016: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/22/climate-change-study-poor-countries-4tn-2030-avert-catastrophe-paris-agreement ; Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, page 2: https://ldcclimate.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/addis-ababa-ldc-ministerial-communique-on-climate-change.pdf.
[iv] Paris Agreement, Article 2(1)(a).
[v] The NDCs of some countries are contingent on a range of possible conditions, such as the ability of national legislatures to enact the necessary laws, ambitious action from other countries, realisation of finance and technical support, or other factors.
[vi] UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2017, page 18: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/emissions-gap-report
[viii] Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, page 1.
[ix] Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, Annex.
[x] Decision 1/ , paragraph 12.
[xi] Paris Agreement Article 8.
[xiii] Addis-Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change, page 3.