Before Paris, comes Bonn

IMG_5490The last negotiation session of the ADP before COP21 began today in Bonn, home of the UNFCCC Secretariat.  The goal of this meeting is to produce a new agreement text that delegations may take home to their national leaders for final preparations for Paris.  The ADP Co-Chairs issued a “non paper” (meaning it hasn’t been endorsed by the Parties and so lacks legal status) two weeks ago that cut the 90-page Geneva Negotiating Text down to a more manageable size (9 pages) and offered draft COP decisions (11 pages) that would implement it.

But the route to Paris was bumpy today.  All Parties found fault with the text.  As a Greenpeace advisor put it, “there is no question that this new text will definitely anger some parties, or all parties in some ways.” While each one applauded brevity, at the same time all Parties sought to bring desired provisions back in.  Today’s ENB recounts well the morning session’s focus on process, and the afternoon’s review of the draft agreement text article by article.  Three negotiating groups – the G77+China, Africa Group, and Like-Minded Developing Countries –  refused to proceed with the day’s scheduled negotiations in smaller “spin off groups” using the Co-Chairs’ proposed starting point.  South Africa, the G77 coordinator this year, drew an apartheid analogy when saying that developing countries – 134 strong in the G77 – were disenfranchised by the non-paper.  Despite concerns expressed by developed countries like the U.S., New Zealand, and Switzerland about taking a road back to Geneva rather than forward to Paris, the four-hour afternoon session saw everyone reading the draft agreement article by article and adding back “must have” provisions that would enable them to proceed.  IMG_5469

The language of differentiation ran through many of these proposals, notably on finance, mitigation, and reporting requirements to permit transparency. References to Annex 2 Parties brought back the “bifurcated” approach of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol.  Regular references to historical responsibility for climate change were made as the basis for obligations under the new agreement. Some Parties roundly rejected the “in light of national circumstances” language used in the Lima Call for Climate Action (coined a month earlier in the US-China bilateral climate change announcement).  Brazil declared that “CBDR is contradicted when it is subordinated to national circumstances.”  For a more detailed account of the four-hour discussion, read ENB’s measured note taking here.

As I left the hall tonight, the G77 was holding a coordination session. The revised text was due to the website by midnight Bonn time.  Still no new document, and tomorrow’s daily programme of sessions is notably blank.  But as WRI said yesterday, “what happens in Bonn can pave the way for a universal agreement in Paris that can be the turning point on climate action that the world needs.”

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

UPDATE:  The revised agreement text came out at 4am this morning local time, and has grown from 9 to 24 pages.  This version includes some “light touch editing” by the UNFCCC Secretariat staff, as requested yesterday by the Parties.  Nonetheless, the Secretariat also posted the rough cut version here, considered to be more of a compilation document.  It shows that the pre-dawn editing was indeed very light, for this version looks to be only a paragraph longer.