June 11, 2015

Countries Start to Engage on Paris Package, but Need to Pick Up Pace

Science Group Comments on Outcome of Climate Talks in Bonn

BONN (June 11, 2015) – The second round of 2015 United Nations climate talks wrapped up today in Bonn, Germany. The talks focused on refining the draft negotiating text for the post-2020 agreement expected to be reached at the Paris Climate Summit in December. Negotiators also discussed ways to accelerate action on climate change before 2020, and reached final agreement on guidelines for activities to reduce deforestation in developing countries.

Below are statements by Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), who has been an active observer at the international climate change negotiations since they started in 1990, and by Doug Boucher, director of UCS’s Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative.

Meyer’s statement:

“From floods and droughts to hurricanes, typhoons and heat waves, the impacts of climate change are increasingly evident all over the world. To limit these impacts, we need a strong, science-based agreement in Paris that sets the world on a path to fully phase out emissions from fossil fuels by mid-century, and to build a global economy based on clean renewable energy sources.

“We saw leadership from the G-7 countries on this front at the beginning of this week, as they called for decarbonization of the global economy and committed to develop their own national long-term low-carbon strategies. But much more needs to be done, both by these and other leaders, if we are to make this necessary transition a reality.

“Negotiators made some progress these past two weeks on refining text for the post-2020 climate agreement, but it’s now time to move to a higher gear. There remain deep and long-standing divisions on key issues—among them, how to ramp up action to reduce emissions, how to substantially increase climate finance for both mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries, and how to help vulnerable communities deal with the climate impacts they will continue to experience in the years ahead. Ministers and national leaders must actively engage with each other over the summer to provide political guidance on these and other key issues, so that their negotiators can pick up the pace when they return to Bonn in late August.”

Boucher’s Statement:

“The three REDD+ decisions, on social safeguards, non-carbon benefits and integrating mitigation with adaptation in the forest sector, are the final elements of a process that started 8 years ago in Bali. They bring to fruition the effort to agree on how to preserve forests so as to reduce the emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This successful conclusion will not only carry forward one of the most successful and cost-effective climate solutions we have, but also can serve as a model for how negotiators can reach agreement on the broader climate issues in Paris. So it’s good for the climate, good for the world’s forest and good for international cooperation.”

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