Bonn Climate Talks Make Limited Progress, Increased Political Engagement Essential for Successful Outcome in Katowice This December

Statement by Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy

Published May 10, 2018

WASHINGTON (May 10, 2018)—International negotiators from nearly every country met in Bonn, Germany over the last two weeks to continue their work on implementation of the historic Paris climate agreement in the in the run-up to the United Nations’ annual summit on climate change—also called COP24—that will take place this December in Katowice, Poland. 

Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), who has actively participated in the UN climate change negotiations since they began in 1991.

“COP 24 in Katowice, Poland will be the most critical meeting on climate change since the Paris Agreement was adopted, with the world watching to see if countries are serious about implementing and strengthening the historic agreement they reached three years ago. 

“All countries must come to Katowice prepared to adopt a robust, comprehensive rulebook to fully implement the Paris Agreement, and send clear signals they intend to increase the ambition of their national actions, as is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Developed countries must provide greater confidence on how they’ll meet their commitment to mobilize $100 billion in annual support for developing country actions by 2020, and actively develop strategies to ramp up assistance to the most vulnerable countries already experiencing devastating climate impacts. 

“While some headway was made in Bonn on several more technical topics, sharp political differences remain on a handful of issues, especially on climate finance and the amount of differentiation in the Paris Agreement rules for countries at varying stages of development. These issues are above the pay grade of negotiators in Bonn, and will require engaging ministers and national leaders to resolve them. The Petersburg Dialogue in Berlin and the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting in Brussels, held back-to-back in mid-June, are excellent opportunities for ministers to start providing some of that leadership.

“Although the U.S. delegation remains active in the technical negotiations, President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and renege on the remaining $2 billion of the U.S. pledge to the Green Climate Fund has hampered their effectiveness. It’s clear other countries must now provide the leadership needed to get the ambitious outcomes desired at the Katowice climate summit this December. 

“As the incoming presidency of COP 24, Poland also needs to step up its game in providing firmer guidance on ways to resolve the crunch issues, ensuring a successful meeting in Katowice. Having hosted two previous climate summits, Poland knows what the role requires; now they need to play their part.”