Bonn climate talks – reflections from a first time tracker

Food & climate change article written on the 17 Jun 2011

Photo: Oxfam

Amazing, frustrating at times, and (through the lens of the Non-Government Organisations) truly inspiring is how as a first time climate tracker, but long time observer, I have viewed developments unfold at the UN Climate Negotiations in Bonn over the last week and a half.

Firstly the complexity and size of the negotiations is amazing – with up to 30 different negotiations occurring in different rooms. With the world’s negotiators and NGOs negotiating on issues such as reducing emissions, reporting and monitoring the level of emission reductions, how the climate fund to help poorer countries adapt to climate change will work, the roles of NGO observers, the rules of a global agreement, the list goes on…

Frustrating is the slow progress being made on big issues such as where the US $100 billion, needed annually by 2020 to fill the climate fund is coming from. On this issue, the USA (the second biggest per-person polluter behind Australia) is refusing to even talk about sources of money for the climate fund. The other frustration has been the ‘gigatonne gap’, discussed in my previous blog, between current pledges to reduce emissions and the amount actually needed to limit warming to the two degree target agreed by governments last year at the UN Climate Change talks in Cancun, Mexico and in Copenhagen.

Inspiring is the work and advocacy of other climate trackers and NGOs attending the negotiations. The youth constituency began the second  week of negotiations with a flashmob calling for governments to “raise ambition, reduce emissions” whilst the Robin Hood Tax campaigners reminded the world’s negotiators on how to raise money for the climate fund through a levee on financial transactions on banks.

Australia’s role in the negotiations thus far, has been neither amazing nor frustrating. Though one of our negotiators, Robert Owen-Jones has been exerting himself on behalf of NGO observers and Australia as a whole in pushing for better access for NGOs. This good work by our negotiators won Australia the Climate Action Network’s Ray of the Day Award for transparency and accountability.

If you would like to be involved in pushing our negotiators to work towards a global deal on climate change and contribute our fair share to the climate fund, please sign up to be a UN Climate Tracker and add your voice to action on climate change in Australia and internationally.

Clancy Moore is covering the UN negotiations in Bonn as part of Oxfam Australia’s UN Climate Tracker project