The UN Climate Forum: A Pacific Conference on The Rhein Shore

The global UN Climate Change Conference (СОР-23) is starting on November 6 in Bonn (Germany). While no cardinal decisions are expected to be made in the course of the summit, civil society activists anticipate that the event will show the world the unanimity of countries in the acknowledgement of the climate change problem and ways of its resolution. Russian NGOs have approved a Position, addressed to COP23 and national official delegation http://rusecounion.ru/eng_rseu_position_bonn2017

In order to outline the soonest plans under the Paris Agreement and effective work in the course of the Bonn session, the Secretariat of the UN Framework Climate Change Convention (UN FCCC) put all the discussion issues into a consolidated table named “Paris Agreement Progress Tracker.” The main purpose of the negotiators and governments is to enhance countries’ ambitions on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate activities in this direction; in order to “incentivize” this process the “Dialogue-2018” will be organized.

The Bonn summit is called the “Pacific Conference.” While COP-23 is taking place in Bonn, the event is chaired by Fiji, a small island state, extremely vulnerable in terms of climate change.  This predetermines the accent of the event on the interests of island states and issues of “losses and damages” caused by climate changes. 

It is expected that the Bonn conference will give a good tempus in the work under the “rules” of the Paris Agreement. The unprecedentedly quick coming into effect of the Paris Agreement stipulated that the rules of its realization should be developed two years earlier than initially scheduled and adopted next year at COP-24 in Poland. In the course of the present year, the countries have been submitting their proposals. The “skeleton” was developed and decisions in several thematic directions, namely, adaptation, “transparency” of the financial support, global progress review, facilitation of the monitoring of countries’ abiding their obligations, etc., are to be incorporated into it.

There are several important questions in the discussion of which “many horns will be locked.” Intensive debates are expected in the discussions on the issues of so-called “mechanisms of sustainable development,” i.e., market instruments which countries will use for emission reduction. The idea is to outline approaches including, for instance, the possibility to transfer emission reduction units which got the name of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMO, “prevention units”).

The issue of global evaluation of quantative results of countries’ efforts on greenhouse gas emissions reduction will also be touched in Bonn. They will discuss at COP-23 issues of “transparency” (provision of detailed and verifiable reporting), which is important for an adequate assessment of countries’ activities on emissions in both 2018 and 2023.

 In the last years, the countries focused on the development of the long-term strategy, namely, the Paris Agreement. However, the developing countries and civil society organizations raise the issue of “immediate actions,” i.e., the soonest climatic plans for the period till 2020 (the beginning of the Paris Agreement enforcement).  

For the climate actions, the “non-governmental” input of the cities, provinces, states of countries, business associations, research and public organizations, etc., is vital. Their activities and successes (environmental, social, technological, and commercial) will be also presented at the Bonn Climate Change Conference.

 СОР-23 participants should show the entire world that the countries are unanimous in their acknowledgement of the problem of the anthropogenic climate change and understanding of the ways for its solving, public activists believe. This is not an easy task, to solve which all countries should use the constructive approach to negotiations and not mere declarations or lobbying of their internal interests.  In this regard, expectations concern the high-level segment (meetings of the state leaders, ministers, and heads of delegations) scheduled for November 15-16. The leading politicians will exchange their opinions on the progress in the activities of UN FCCC as a whole and prospects for the future.

On the eve of the Conference of the Parties in Bonn, Russian environmental organizations came up with the Position for the Bonn СОР 23. Representatives of Russian civil society advocate the 20-30% increase of the national goals on the greenhouse gas emissions for 2030: presently, those still do not follow the “2оC” way. The goals were developed three years ago, and main changes have taken place in the past period: RESs became cheaper, global emissions stabilized and abandonment of coal power production started; these conditions should be incorporated into the strengthening of the goals. The Position also shows the importance of adoption of a special goal on forests, given their importance for climatic regulation of the planet. Emission reduction goals should be coordinated with activities in the energy sphere.

Not only official negotiations will be taking place under the СОР 23 frames: thousands of activists will come to Bonn for “civil climate mobilization.” Actions protesting against coal projects and a climate march named “People’s Climate Summit” will take place. 

The year 2017 proved to be unprecedented by the number of natural cataclysms. While the Bonn Summit, most likely, will not be as dramatic as some of the preceding ones, it, however, is taking place in a tense for the planet and the humanity moment. The international community should get united: the Bonn Conference might be the “moment of political truth” in the matter of the Parties’ acknowledgement of the urgency of measures adequate to the level of the climate change problem.