Mar 30, 2009 - 12:22pm
Australian and international
negotiators have converged on Germany for the next round of formal
climate change talks which aim to lay the foundations for a global
agreement at the UN’s landmark conference in Copenhagen in December. The
Bonn talks, from the 29th March to the 8th of April, mark the beginning
of the move to “full negotiating mode” and the first appearance of the
new US administration’s climate change team.
The focus of talks will be on two documents (one short and one more detailed)
that have been prepared describing areas where governments “converge”
on ideas and proposals. The documents also explore options for dealing
with areas where governments “diverge” and identify gaps that may need
to be filled in order to reach agreement in Copenhagen.
formal discussion of these documents will lead to new document in June
that will form the basis of the formal agreement scheduled to be
signed in December.
A number of key issues to be discussed formally and in the corridors in Bonn are:
reduction targets: Debate will focus on what level of emission
reductions industrialised countries like Australia will take on in
Copenhagen. Most countries continue to support aggregate emissions from
industrialised countries being reduced by minus 25 to 40 per cent
below 1990 levels by 2020. The EU has suggested this aggregate target
should be a 30 per cent reduction while China and many other developing
countries have suggested that this aggregate target should be “at
least” 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
a party to both the Kyoto Protocol and the Climate Convention,
Australia will be in the centre of this discussion. Australia has not
nominated what the aggregate target should be, offering instead a
maximum of 15 per cent cuts by 2020.
the last time industrialised targets were formally discussed ,
Australia has released a White Paper that concludes that stabilising
greenhouse gas concentrations at 450 parts per million (equivalent) or
lower is in the “national interest”. Given the 25 to 40 percent
reductions that are being discussed are based on what the scientific
community says is required to meet this national interest goal, where
Australia lands in this discussion on aggregate targets will be keenly
will also be discussion of a mid-century global goal for greenhouse gas
emissions. Proposed goals range from minus 50 per cent to minus 85 per
cent reductions by 2050. There also is expected to be focus on
defining a goal for peaking global emissions within 15 years and the
emissions reduction ambitions that will be required by developing
countries like China, Brazil and South Africa to meet this.
developing country emission reductions: Ensuring developing countries
have the means to shift to low-carbon development pathways and adapt to
the unavoidable impacts of climate change will require an investment
of trillions of dollars over the coming decades. Given the scale of
investment needed, it will be necessary for the international community
to put in place a suite of measures to scale-up public funding and to
facilitate greater private sector investment. Critical discussions in
Bonn will continue to focus on how the international community
establishes at least one, if not more, mechanisms to deliver
large-scale funding as part of the post-2012 climate change accord.