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UN Climate Talks Resume in Bonn Media Background Note

United Nations climate negotiations will resume for a ten-day session in Bonn, Germany, from 4-15 of June.

The negotiation session includes two ‘high level’ ministerial meetings, one on raising 2020 climate targets under the Kyoto Protocol, and another on the longer-term negotiations.

The longer-term negotiations, known as the “Durban Platform” and expected to conclude in Paris in 2015, are to raise current climate action (pre-2020) generally and create a new agreement for the post-2020 period.

The conference in Bonn will also include the ongoing technical work of the UN climate body, including on rules relating to accounting for emissions and a workshop on ‘long-term finance.’

It will be the first session with a large civil society observer presence since a “Walkout” of the negotiations at 2013’s Warsaw Conference, which ended with vague and ineffective decisions.

The Durban Platform negotiations will be undertaken in two “workstreams”:

  • Workstream One on developing an agreement under the existing UN climate convention, ‘with legal force’ to be agreed by 2015 for application from 2020.

o   The negotiations are supposed to be working toward ‘elaborating elements of a draft negotiating text’ in 2014, with the draft ready in May 2015.

o   There are large divisions between Governments over the process that should be used to develop and elaborate these elements.

  • Workstream Two on increasing ‘ambition’ or the level of action and commitments under the Convention to tackle climate change between now and 2020.

o   Including the need to implement past decisions and raise developed countries’ targets as well as set targets for finance.

o   A new ‘technical examination’ of opportunities to cut climate pollution, including in ‘land use’, and in ‘cities and the urban environment’.

Key emerging questions (with further information below) from the talks will be:

  1. How will the commitment by developed countries to raise pre-2020 targets be met?
  2. What should the scope of the 2015 agreement be and how should it be developed?
  3. Does the technical work on issues like carbon markets and land use create more accounting loopholes?

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