Logjam on Paris climate “rule book” forces extra UN talks


BONN: A gathering of almost 180 nations made slow progress on a “rule book” for a global climate accord at talks in Germany ending on Thursday and agreed to a new round of negotiations to break a diplomatic logjam before a year-end deadline for a deal.

Disagreements at the two-week talks in Bonn included about how rich nations will raise finance to a pledged $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing nations cope with rising temperatures and cut their emissions.

“We can’t say failure. But overall we’ve been having slow progress,” said Gebru Jember Endalew, chair of the group of least developed countries which are among those most vulnerable to droughts, floods and rising sea levels.

Delegates agreed to hold an extra week-long session in Bangkok in September before environment ministers meet in Katowice, Poland, in December when the rule book for the Paris pact is due to be agreed. The Paris Agreement sets a goal of slashing man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

“We have to be very, very clear that we have a lot of work in the months ahead and that we have to improve the pace of progress to achieve a good outcome in Katowice,” Patricia Espinosa, the U.N. climate chief, told a news conference.

She said progress had been “satisfactory” in Bonn.

A robust “rule book” is a test of the commitment by other nations to the Paris Agreement since President Donald Trump said in June he will pull out, doubting that climate change has a human cause.

Elina Bardram, of the European Commission, said clear rules were vital to bring the Paris agreement to life. “Parties must now urgently accelerate the pace,” she said.

The 2015 Paris Agreement set a sweeping goal of ending the fossil fuel era this century with a trillion-dollar shift toward cleaner energies such as wind and solar power.

But it was vague on details, such as measuring financial flows to developing nations, how countries will report and monitor their curbs on greenhouse gas emissions and ratchet up national goals every five years to limit global warming.

Current pledges put the world on track for a warming of about 3 degrees Celsius (5.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, far above a Paris goal of “well below” 2C (3.6F).

Mohamed Adow, of Christian Aid, said the talks made some progress by telling two co-chairs, from Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, to streamline hundreds of pages of text before the Bangkok meeting in September.

“This gives a much better chance to agree the rule book in Poland,” he said.