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30-08-2015 Cop20 news

Nations Meet for Next Round of Climate Negotiations


The next round of negotiations towards a new universal climate change agreement gets underway on Monday bolstered by the fact that to date over 50 countries covering almost 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions have already sent in national climate plans.

The rate of submission has been faster than many had anticipated and many more of these Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are expected in the coming weeks.

The INDCs are meant to form a central pillar of the new, universal climate change agreement which governments will reach in Paris, in December.

“The response so far has underlined the strong will and intent of nations to reach an effective Paris agreement,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“On their own, the INDCs received before Paris are not going to keep us below a 2 degrees Celsius rise this century. But they underline a sharp and positive departure from business as usual and will form the essential foundation to reach that ultimate goal if governments agree to clearly ramp up ambition over time,” she said.

INDC Response Crosses Developed and Developing World

Over 95 per cent of developed countries have already submitted their plans, in line with their responsibility to lead the cuts in emissions.

Many developing countries from all continents, including some of the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change, have also presented INDCs, about half of these including necessary action to adapt to climate impacts.

Developed world governments, UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations, have been providing assistance to developing countries to prepare their plans.

In a significant shift, all countries so far have presented INDCs which are truly national in scope with an increased focus on quantifiable objectives. This should provide greater certainty on future action and direction.

Importantly many take a long term vision of climate action, underlining a growing understanding that dealing with climate change and unlocking the opportunities will require a transformation of economies now but also over the decades to come.

Science has underlined that the 2 degrees Celsius goal will require a peaking of global emissions in the next decade and a very steep decline after that towards the second half of the century where humans on balance add no extra emissions to the atmosphere, often termed as climate neutrality.

The UNFCCC secretariat will provide a synthesis report of submitted INDCs on 1 November 2015.

Bonn Talks Resume with New, Streamlined Document

The negotiating body under the UNFCCC charged with reaching the Paris agreement convenes in Bonn, Germany, from 31 August to 4 September.

In July, the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) presented negotiators with a new tool to help them to negotiate more effectively through the official text that they have on the table.

The document covers the substantive content of the new agreement including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building, and transparency of action and consolidates the options under negotiation into 3 coherent baskets:

  • Elements relevant to the new legal agreement
  • Elements relevant to supporting decisions that will accompany the agreement
  • Elements where Governments need still to decide on the optimal placement

With this new document, a clearer consideration of the final outcome from the Paris Conference begins to emerge while not omitting any of the options that governments put forward in their official text, which they had agreed in Geneva in February.

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