The Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58) began on Monday and will continue till June 15. Photo: UNclimatechange/Flickr

Bonn conference a boon for COP28 climate plans?

On the agenda at the conference in Germany, which began on Monday, will be the Global Stocktake, carbon markets and climate finance 

This year’s Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58) began on Monday and will continue till June 15. This is a significant pit stop on the road to COP28, which will be held in Dubai at the end of the year. With this year’s COP president Dr Sultan Al Jaber expected to attend, all eyes will be on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its plans for the November summit. 

“Al Jaber has 2 weeks to save COP28. He needs to arrive in Bonn with a plan of action that meets the demands of the IPCC Synthesis report. This is a critical moment: Bonn represents the half-time team-talk moment for any COP President. It’s vital for his credibility that he meets the challenge and ensures he’s not simply seen as a defender of oil & gas interests,” said Alex Scott, climate policy lead at think-tank E3G.

The conference didn’t get off to a promising start as countries failed to reach a consensus on an agenda for the conference. The contentious issues among parties included Global Stocktake (GST), mitigation and adaptation. But here are a few things that are likely to be discussed once negotiations begin.  

Keeping the climate action momentum 

Historically, the Bonn conference has kept the momentum going on any progress achieved in the previous year’s COP, and this year won’t be an exception. A major outcome of COP27 was the “Sharm el-Sheikh dialogue” on Article 2.1c of the 2015 Paris Agreement. This specified the need for any climate finance flows to be aligned with global warming limits set under the Paris Agreement. There has been no progress on this so far, but it will be interesting to see how the issue of finance plays out at the conference considering there is a global finance summit in Paris later this month.

Another important outcome of COP27 was the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund that will set forth a mechanism for the Global North to follow while disbursing compensation funds. In keeping with this theme, the Bonn conference will host the Second Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage, the first of which was held last year. The hope is that this discussion will help formulate recommendations for this fund to be put forth at COP28.

Resolving the question of international carbon markets

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement stipulates the use of international carbon markets for nations to achieve their climate targets. While the rules for such markets were agreed to at COP26, there are still some loose ends that need to be tied up, such as market structure, scope of the activities that fall under what the Article specifies as eligible “mitigation outcomes”. The supervisory body formed to supervise the market mechanism had recommended including carbon removal credits to be included as part of these mitigation outcomes. But this was left for further discussion after COP27 because civil society groups found the definition of removals to be too broad. This is likely to come up for discussion at Bonn.

Continuing the Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement

One of the major highlights of COP28 this year will be the end of the two-year GST as specified in the Paris Agreement. GST’s aim is to “take a long, hard look at the state of our planet and chart a better course for the future,” as specified by the UN. This stocktake, which is divided into three phases, began at COP26 with the collection and preparation of information. The next phase was the technical assessment, which is set to end at the Bonn conference. Those attending the conference will discuss the final outputs of the technical assessment and identify what is required to help get back on track to limit warming.

Envoys will have a packed schedule and their work cut out for the next two weeks. This will be the first climate negotiation after the IPCC’s latest report warning governments to radically accelerate the reduction of oil, gas and coal use by 2030 and increase investments in renewable energy. Any progress at Bonn will ensure a more productive COP28. The pressure is on. 

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