Need Action Pre-2020 – Observers react to close of UN Climate Talks

BONN, GERMANY – As week-long UN climate talks closed, observers urged the process to take aim at climate polluting energy production.

"Red alert alarm bells are ringing in every corner of the globe - more droughts, more storms, more devastation because of climate change. This is a planetary emergency that is impacting the world's poorest first. To answer this call developed countries must scale up public climate finance and engage in proposals for a strong international mechanism to address loss and damage", Brandon Wu, Senior Policy Analyst of ActionAid International said.

This week atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide hit 400 parts per million, scientists suggest that to have a chance of limiting warming to well below 1.5C that number needs to be brought down to below 350.

"To bring climate pollution levels down, the negotiators in Bonn needed to have a serious focused conversation about how to stop the expansion of dirty energy." Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate, of Friends of the Earth EWNI said.

The Bonn talks were organised in two broad "workstreams", one focused on action pre-2020 and another on a new international agreement to come into effect post-2020.

The workstreams were launched as the "Durban Platform" in 2011. Despite a year and half passing, neither workstream has yet focused on concrete proposals, with general discussions and expert presentations dominating the week.

Campaigners demanded that governments focus on the pre-2020 work, given the urgency of the crisis.

"To get back on track, developed countries must look at the yawning chasm between where the science says their targets should be in 2020, which is 50% below 1990 levels, and where they currently are at: 13%. Instead of general discussions, the UN talks need to have specific ones that highlight how ineffective current climate pollution control proposals are." Augustine Njamnshi, of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said.

"Governments are locked in a deadly game of Russian roulette with the future of our planet and its people on the line. All governments need to agree an immediate ban on new dirty energy projects, stop the $1.7 trillion in public handouts to big energy companies and instead redirect tax payers' money to support measures that will bring clean affordable energy to all the world's people." Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate, of Friends of the Earth EWNI said.

Post-2020 Agreement

"The US proposal for the post-2020 agreement is a do-what-you-like deregulated system where no country compares its climate goals to science, its responsibility or the rest of the world and there is no check on action, only more talk. It would be laughable if it weren't so frightening. It appears the US and its allies want to rename this the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Conversations." Meena Raman, negotiation expert at Third World Network, said.

"It appears that 23 years after the Kyoto Protocol was agreed, the US and its allies want the world to take on a weaker system of international climate pollution controls even though the science is more harrowing than in 1997." Meena Raman, negotiation expert at Third World Network, said.

"The glimmer of hope in these talks was an almost unanimous agreement from governments that the UN needs to take 'equity' considerations more seriously and decide on a way to define and allocate 'fair shares' of the required international effort." Mohamed Adow, senior adviser at Christian Aid said.

The talks will reconvene on the 3rd of June when governments are expected to consider upgrading the status of the talks to allow them to generate draft text.

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