• Germany's news in English

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

AFP · 25 Oct 2014, 18:35

Published: 25 Oct 2014 18:35 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The six-day meeting of senior officials in the former West German capital was meant to lay the groundwork for the annual round of ministerial-level UN talks in Lima in December.

In turn, the Lima forum must pave the way to a historic pact which nations have agreed must be signed in Paris next year, to curb planet-altering climate change.

But some negotiators and observers expressed concern that the Bonn talks focused too much on restating well-known country positions on how responsibility for climate action must be shared.

"We will clearly have our work cut out for us in Lima," said Ronald Jumeau, spokesman for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) - the very countries at high risk from climate change-induced sea level rise.

And he warned "there won't be an adequate deal unless" developed countries give details of financial and expert support for the climate mitigation and adaptation plans of poorer nations.

David Waskow, climate expert at the World Resources Institute environmental think-tank, told AFP that while the tone of the talks had been constructive, "there is nervousness that the pace is somewhat slow.

"The pace needs to be stepped up to get to where we're going," he said.

And Alden Meyer of the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists said: "People are starting to panic a little" at the mountain of work still to be done.

The Bonn talks were meant to make progress on identifying the information that countries will have to provide next year when tabling their individual pledges for curbing Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions - things like which gases will be cut, by how much, and over which period.

That "information decision" must be finalized by Lima to give countries enough time to complete and present their offers by a loose deadline of the first quarter of 2015.

But negotiators in Bonn remain stuck on the broader principle of whether the pledges should include commitments from rich countries to support adaptation to unavoidable climate shifts in the developing world, and whether there must be numerical targets for financial aid.

The 2015 pact, due to enter into force by 2020, will for the first time unite rich and poor countries under a joint, legal commitment to saving Earth's climate system.

It will seek to limit average global warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

Story continues below…

But countries remain divided on the legal form of the 2015 agreement, whether there will be a differentiation between the responsibilities of rich and poor nations, and how to assess whether national carbon curbing pledges are enough, combined, to reach the 2 C goal.

On Friday, a bloc of Like-Minded Developing Countries that includes major polluters India and China, called for "actual negotiations" to begin.

Time was being wasted, they said, on "conceptual, brain-storming-type discussions" rather than grappling line-by-line with the actual contents of the envisaged agreement.

Scientists warn that on current trends, Earth could experience double the targeted warming limit - a recipe for potentially catastrophic damage to the climate system.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd