Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 2019
For the first time since 2005, only two subsidiary bodies will be convening during the intersessional period at the Bonn Climate Change Conference. This meeting also marks the 50th meetings of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This meeting is the first since the adoption of the Katowice Climate Package, a series of decisions that form the “rulebook” of the Paris Agreement.
Expectations for the Meeting
In Bonn, SBI and SBSTTA delegates are expected to advance outstanding issues related to the Paris Agreement that were not finalized in the Katowice Climate Package. Parties will also discuss key implementation issues for the Convention, Kyoto Protocol, and Paris Agreement.
With regard to the Paris Agreement’s rulebook, the SBI will resume consideration of common timeframes for nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The SBSTA has outstanding work related to cooperative approaches under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. This work includes internationally transferable mitigation outcomes (ITMOs), a market mechanism, and non-market approaches. The Article 6 negotiations are tied to other areas of the Katowice Climate Package. Completing the Article 6 negotiations by the 25th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) in Santiago, Chile, in December 2019, will allow other pieces of the Paris Agreement, such as the Adaptation Fund, to be ready to serve the Agreement.
There are also new agenda items for parties to discuss technical implementation issues for the Paris Agreement. Many of these issues are related to the transparency framework, including common reporting formats for national inventories, and tracking progress related to mitigation and what support has been both provided and received.
Several issues related to the implementation of the Convention are also on the agenda of the two subsidiary bodies. The SBSTA will consider the terms of reference for upcoming review of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts. Jointly, SBSTA and SBI will hold workshops as part of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, and will discuss the forum on the Impact of Response Measures as it serves the Convention, Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. The SBI and SBSTA will also consider the scope of the next periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention and of progress towards achieving it.
The SBSTA will resume discussions unresolved in Katowice on whether to “welcome” or “note” the Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming completed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Several mandated events will also take place. The mandated workshops include gender, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform, and the Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment. The facilitative sharing of views will convene to discuss developing countries’ national reports. A Technical Expert Meeting on mitigation will discuss off-grid and decentralized energy solutions for smart energy and water use in the agri-food chain.
Origins and Treaties of the UNFCCC Process
The international political response to climate change began with the 1992 adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets out the basic legal framework and principles for international climate change cooperation with the aim of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Convention, which entered into force on 21 March 1994, has 197 parties.
In order to boost the effectiveness of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in December 1997. It commits industrialized countries, and countries in transition to a market economy, to achieve quantified emissions reduction targets for a basket of six GHGs. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and has 192 parties. Its first commitment period took place from 2008 to 2012. The 2012 Doha Amendment established the second commitment period from 2013 to 2020. It will enter into force after reaching 144 ratifications. As of 8 May 2019, 128 parties had ratified the Doha Amendment.
In December 2015, parties adopted the Paris Agreement. Under the terms of the Agreement, all countries will submit NDCs, and aggregate progress on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation will be reviewed every five years through a global stocktake. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 and, to date, 185 parties have ratified the Agreement.
Recent Key Turning Points
Durban Mandate: The negotiating mandate for the Paris Agreement was adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2011. Parties agreed to launch the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) with a mandate “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties” no later than 2015, to enter into force in 2020. In addition, the ADP was mandated to explore actions to close the pre-2020 ambition gap in relation to the 2°C target.
Lima: The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, in 2014 adopted the “Lima Call for Climate Action,” which elaborated the elements of a draft negotiating text and the process for submitting and synthesizing intended nationally determined contributions, while also addressing pre-2020 ambition.
Paris: The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference convened in Paris, France, and culminated in the adoption of the Paris Agreement on 12 December. The Agreement includes the goal of limiting the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. It also aims to increase parties’ ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate resilient development. The Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances.
Under the Paris Agreement, each party shall communicate, at five-year intervals, successively more ambitious NDCs. By 2020, parties whose NDCs contain a time frame up to 2025 are requested to communicate a new NDC and parties with an NDC time frame up to 2030 are requested to communicate or update these contributions.
Key features of the Paris Agreement include a transparency framework, and a process known as the global stocktake. Starting in 2023, parties will convene this process at five-year intervals to review collective progress on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation. The Agreement also includes provisions on adaptation, finance, technology, loss and damage, and compliance.
When adopting the Paris Agreement, parties launched the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) to develop the Agreement’s operational details, including through the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), SBI, and SBSTA. They agreed to convene in 2018 a facilitative dialogue to take stock of collective progress towards the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals. This process is now known as the Talanoa Dialogue.
In Paris, parties also agreed the need to mobilize stronger and more ambitious climate action by all parties and non-party stakeholders to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals. Building on the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, several non-party stakeholders made unilateral mitigation pledges in Paris, with more than 10,000 registered actions. Attention to actions by non-party stakeholders continued through the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, launched in 2016. The Partnership aims to enhance collaboration among state and non-state actors. Each year, the current and incoming COP Presidencies appoint High-level Champions to promote voluntary and collaborative actions.
Marrakech: The UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech took place from 7-18 November 2016, and included the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1). Parties agreed that the PAWP negotiations should conclude by 2018, among other decisions.
Fiji/Bonn: The Fiji/Bonn Climate Change Conference convened from 6-17 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany, under the COP Presidency of Fiji. The COP launched the Talanoa Dialogue and established the “Fiji Momentum for Implementation,” a decision that gives prominence to pre-2020 implementation and ambition. The COP also provided guidance on the completion of the PAWP and decided that the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement, subject to decisions to be taken by CMA 1-3. Parties also further developed, or gave guidance to, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, the Executive Committee of the WIM, the Standing Committee on Finance, and the Adaptation Fund.
Katowice: The Katowice Climate Change Conference convened from 1-14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, concluding a busy year that featured an additional negotiation session to advance work on the PAWP. At COP 24, parties adopted the Katowice Climate Package. The Package finalized nearly all of the PAWP, including decisions to facilitate common interpretation and implementation of the Paris Agreement on the mitigation section of NDCs, adaptation communications, transparency framework, global stocktake, and financial transparency, among others. Work on cooperative approaches, under Article 6 of the Agreement, was not concluded. Parties agreed COP 25, in Chile in 2019, would serve as the deadline for this work. The COP was unable to agree whether to “welcome” or “note” the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming.
Climate and SDGs Synergy Conference: From 1-3 April 2019, the first Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Maximizing Co-Benefits by Linking Implementation across Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Action took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference aimed to align the climate and SDG processes, and stimulate action from stakeholders at the all levels to maximize co-benefits. The discussions will be considered as part of the in-depth review of SDG 13, on climate action, during the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which meets 9-19 July 2019 at UN Headquarters in New York.
IPCC 49: The IPCC met from 8-12 May 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. The IPCC adopted the Overview Chapter of the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2019 Refinement). A small number of delegates registered their objection to what they considered inconsistent treatment in the report of fugitive emissions from oil and gas exploration on the one hand and coal exploration on the other. This lack of consensus was reflected in the report. The reporting and review process based on the common use of the inventory guidelines is key to the trust necessary to implement the Enhanced Transparency Framework under the Paris Agreement. It will be the UNFCCC parties who will have to decide on the use of the 2019 Refinement as the technical basis for GHG reporting.
Tenth Petersberg Climate Dialogue: The tenth Petersberg Climate Dialogue convened in Berlin, Germany, from 13-14 May 2019 under the theme “Fulfilling the promise of Paris.” Representatives from 35 countries expressed the expectation that the states will submit revised climate targets and long-term strategies by 2020.