The Bonn conference was also the venue for the third Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage. Photo: AmiraGrotendiek/UNclimatechange/Flickr

Inequity looms large as Bonn conference reaches half-way mark

CarbonCopy rounds up five key highlights at the Bonn climate change conference so far  

The two-week Bonn climate change conference, which began on June 3, 2024, reached its half-way mark last week. The issue of climate finance, however, still continues to be a sticky subject between developing and developed countries. Ahead of the talks, UN climate head Simon Stiell had asked all participating countries to “make serious progress” towards setting a new climate finance goal, expected to be finalised at COP29 at the end of the year. 

But little progress has been made so far, with negotiators having their task cut out in the second week of the conference. “Negotiators from the global north at the Bonn climate summit risk undermining the key outcomes from COP28 last year. Developed countries are backtracking on their commitments made in Dubai to accelerate discussions around climate finance,” said Mohamed Adow, Director, Power Shift Africa

Slow progress on new climate finance goal

This year’s COP29 at Baku, Azerbaijan, is largely going to focus on the new collective quantified goal (NCQG), which will replace the $100 billion annual climate finance goal. Developing countries, such as The Arab group, Cuba and African nations, are pushing to get some conversation around the quantum of the NCQG ahead of COP29, but rich nations are pushing back. “The new long-term climate finance goal is the key issue at this year’s COP29 summit in Baku, Azerbaijan and talks are going at a snail’s pace in Bonn. It’s vital that countries shift gears and prioritise this issue for the second week. They need to identify a possible landing ground ahead of Baku. That is the whole point of these Bonn talks, so negotiators have work to do,” Adow said. 

Calls for clearer coordination on Loss and Damage 

The Bonn conference was also the venue for the third Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage. Discussions revolved around the mechanisms governing loss and damage, mainly the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, the Warsaw International Mechanism and the Loss and Damage Fund. Heavily attended by countries from the Global South, where climate-related impacts are most felt, the Dialogue focused on increasing coordination at both the international and national levels. Global South countries also highlighted the importance of a needs assessment so that responses are tailored to the unique contexts of each vulnerable country. 

Major differences remain on GST outcomes

The first-ever annual Global Stocktake (GST) dialogue was also held at Bonn. The GST includes a periodic assessment of how far countries have progressed towards the Paris Agreement goal—the first GST was last year at COP28. This meeting at Bonn is important because most countries are in the process of updating their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Countries are encouraged to look at GST outcomes as guidance while determining their NDCs. Moving away from fossil fuels was one of the main highlights of the 2023 GST outcome. At Bonn, however, battle lines were drawn over this particular outcome. Saudi Arabia, China, Qatar were keen on developed countries taking the lead on moving away from fossil fuels. Global North countries, such as the US, Canada, Australia, EU and Norway, said they were updating their NDCs based on GST outcomes. None of them, however, committed to leading the energy transition. 

Technical disagreements on carbon market framework emerge

Discussions on carbon market frameworks come under Articles 6.2 and 6.4 of the Paris Agreement. At Bonn, a lot of time was spent on formulating a process for countries that host offsetting projects to authorise the release of carbon credits. These approvals are important because once they are given, the host country cannot count those emissions reductions towards their national climate targets. Developing countries such as India and China want the flexibility to revoke or revise those authorisations in certain circumstances—for example, in case too many offsets are approved, which would impact the host country’s own climate goals. Some small island states and developed countries don’t want such flexibility on authorisations. 

UN pushes for biennial transparency reports

At Bonn, Stiell asked countries to submit biennial transparency reports (BTR) before COP29. Under the Enhanced Transparency Framework, countries have to submit these reports every two years. The reports have to include information on progress toward their NDCs, climate change impacts and adaptation, greenhouse gas emissions, areas of improvement. The framework also allows technical experts to review the reports. Countries can also ask questions to each other based on these reports. The first submission was due on December 31, 2024. So far, only two countries—Andorra and Guyana—have submitted their reports.

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