BONN, Nov. 17, 2017 (IPS) — “The Bonn climate talks were foundational, paving the way to finalize the rules that underpin the Paris Agreement next year and setting the stage for countries to commit to enhance their national climate plans by 2020. On both counts, the climate talks in Bonn were a success. However, negotiators have plenty of homework to do to get there.
“An appeal for developed countries to ramp up their climate efforts before 2020 became an unexpectedly prominent topic at the talks. Delegates reached common ground by agreeing to form special stocktaking sessions to review progress towards curbing emissions and delivering on climate finance in the immediate term.
“Today, the Fiji Presidency unveiled a roadmap for the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue, a year-long process to assess progress and identify opportunities for countries to make bolder commitments. This process will conclude at the climate summit in Poland next year. As the birth place for nationally determined contributions (NDCs), Poland can uphold its legacy by facilitating a smooth path to the next round of national climate commitments.
“As climate change intensifies, so too will its devastating impacts on the world’s most vulnerable people. Climate finance is critical to help developing countries respond to climate change. Support is and will continue to be an important issue in these negotiations.
“Outside the negotiating rooms, a broad range of voices continue to show strong support for climate action. We heard from companies like HP Inc., Mars, and Wal-Mart, which are among over 320 major companies that have committed to or have already set science-based emissions targets.
The Global Covenant of Mayors brings together 7,500 cities and local government with the potential to reduce the equivalent of 1.7 billion tons of emissions.
“Having already abandoned its leadership role, the Trump administration appears to be living in an alternate universe with its ill-advised focus on fossil fuels. And now that the United States is the only nation that is not on board with the Paris Agreement, the Trump Administration should carefully consider whether being completely isolated on the climate issue really benefits their agenda.
“While the U.S. official presence was subdued in the negotiations, the surge of subnational action in the U.S. is undeniable. The America’s Pledge report shows that a coalition of U.S. states, cities and businesses — equivalent to more than half of the U.S. economy and population – are carrying U.S. climate action forward.
“We are living in unusual and alarming times. The latest studies show that global emissions are again on the rise and the world is off track of where it needs to be. People are feeling the impacts from climate change that have long been predicted — from mega-storms that struck Florida and Texas, to hurricanes in the Caribbean and massive flooding in parts of Africa and South Asia.
In the coming months, we need a greater sense of urgency to make the deep shifts needed in our economies to address the global climate challenge. 2018 needs to be the year for countries to step up.”