Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary

Subsidiary Bodies Meet in Bonn


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The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

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The Twenty-Second Session of the Subsidiary Bodies to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in Bonn, Germany, 15-27th May 2005. Newswatch editor Mick Kelly reports.

The Twenty-Second Session of the Subsidiary Bodies to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change began with a two-day experts' meeting. Opening the meeting, Jurgen Trittin, German environment minister, said that the Kyoto measures had "proved successful" and called for industrialized nations to meet tougher targets, a 15 to 30 per cent reduction, by 2020. Harlan Watson, chief negotiator for the United States, speaking to the BBC prior to the meeting, said that "we are still not convinced of the need to move forward so quickly.... There is general agreement that there is a lot known, but there is also a lot to be known." The United States is proposing carbon intensity targets, with reductions scaled by Gross Domestic Product. Others argue for weighting by population.

In the run-up to the meeting, Papua New Guinea proposed that forest protection should be permitted under the financial mechanisms aimed at reducing carbon emissions. "Kyoto does not allow developing nations that reduce deforestation emissions to get credit. Kyoto unfairly discriminates against rainforested developing nations who seek to participate within the world carbon market," argued ambassador Robert Aisi. "Tropical rainforest nations deserve to be treated equally. If we reduce our deforestation, we should be compensated for these reductions, as are industrial countries. The compensation we seek is access to the world's carbon markets, but on a fair and equitable basis."

Planning for a five-year work programme on adaptation began at the Twenty-Second Session, but the programme was not finalized. There was disagreement as to whether the programme should be structured by priority sectors (the United States proposal) or take an integrated approach (suggested by the G-77/China). It also proved impossible to reach any firm conclusions during discussion of the Special Climate Change Fund, particularly with regard to priority or focal areas. Delegates were urged to come to the next session with "more flexible mandates". Finally, there was no agreement on whether it was appropriate to consider whether or not the Climate Convention process might assist the Mauritius Strategy, for implementing the Programme of Action for Small Island States, and what such action might involve.

On the positive side, agreement was reached on the timing of non-Annex 1 national communications. Moreover, following lengthy negotiations, agreement on the LDC Fund, financial support for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), was reached and will be recommended to the Conference of the Parties later this year. Bangladesh, speaking for the LDCs, described the final text as a compromise and called on the Global Environment Facility to operationalize the guidance in a way that truly responds to the need to implement the National Adaptation Programmes of Action. There had been considerable disagreement over whether or not responses to short-term climate variability should be supported as well as adaptation to long-term, anthropogenic climate change. The final wording side-steps this issue.

As the meeting closed, the national science academies of the G8 nations and others, including China, India and Brazil, issued a strong statement calling on their governments to take immediate action to limit global warming. The statement has been sent to world leaders in the run-up to the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July. It is clearly intended to put additional pressure on the United States to take part in a post-2012 global emissions control regime.

"The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify prompt action," according to the statement. "It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions."

According to Earth Negotiations Bulletin, prominent issues at the December Conference of the Parties/Meeting of Parties will include:

  • the post-2012 framework;
  • the Clean Development Mechanism - realizing its potential;
  • compliance; and,
  • the adaptation work programme.

The issue of climate and indigenous peoples is also likely to be to the fore, with strong lobbying from Arctic leaders amongst others.

Further information
Earth Negotiations Bulletin has published a summary of the outcome of the Twenty-Second Session of the Subsidiary Bodies. The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibary lists websites related to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The statement by the national academies is available on-line.

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