Rebecca Chacko is the director of climate policy in CI’s Center for Conservation and Government. She is blogging about ongoing international climate talks this week in Bonn, Germany.
We are four days in to the UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn. In that time, the world continues to emit tons and tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, those developments far outweigh the accomplishments we’ve seen in the negotiating rooms so far. Those of you who read my earlier blog will recall that the expectations/hope for these climate talks were for technical progress on a number of details that will translate the Cancun Agreements to action on the ground. You can imagine the frustration, then, to arrive in Bonn only to find the technical agenda completely stalled. After days of waiting around, today the UNFCCC technical body was finally able to agree on an agenda.
There was a collective sigh of relief in the room today when the agenda was finally adopted — negotiators and others seemed eager to get to work. They certainly will have to buckle down now to make sufficient progress in the six days of negotiations that remain. As I move through these halls, I want to ask negotiators the question that has been on my mind lately. “What are you afraid of?”
I understand that negotiators must protect their countries’ interest, and so many have dug in their heels on issues that might possibly have a negative economic impact on their country. But it seems sometimes the forest is getting lost for the trees — the economic impacts of not addressing climate change will be far greater than even the potential impact of any of the individual measures proposed for discussion. That is the big picture — climate change on the order of 3-4 degrees Celsius will become a reality if insufficient progress is made here. I hope that negotiators will keep that in mind and move forward with an even greater sense of urgency.
To learn more about CI’s work on climate change mitigation and adaptation, download our latest policy papers from the ”Climate Documents” page.