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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Monday 18 February 2019

UNFCC Bonn conference makes little progress

It was a record-hot April in Germany, where governments last week concluded two weeks of talks aimed at preparing the Paris Agreement’s operational guidelines for adoption at the annual UN climate conference set for Katowice, Poland in December. A report on the ENS News site notes that the guidelines are essential for determining whether total world emissions are declining fast enough to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, which include limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C. ‘I am satisfied that some progress was made here in Bonn. But many voices are underlining the urgency of advancing more rapidly on finalising the operational guidelines. The package being negotiated is highly technical and complex. We need to put it in place so that the world can monitor progress on climate action,’ said Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, formally the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC. In parallel to the formal negotiations, the Bonn meeting hosted the long-awaited, Fiji-led Talanoa Dialogue where some 250 people shared their stories, providing fresh ideas and renewed determination to strengthen climate-calming ambitions. But civil society groups expressed dissatisfaction with the dialogue. ‘The time for stories has long since passed,’ said Meena Raman of Third World Network. ‘We live in a world with more than 1.5°C warming and the devastation is already severe. We cannot allow for that warming to go beyond 1.5°C and we need a political process to prevent that.’ Talks resume in Bangkok, Thailand on 3-8 September where negotiators will pick up ‘informal notes’ forwarded by this session. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced that he will hold a Climate Summit at UN Headquarters in New York in September 2019 to review the Paris Agreement commitments.