Climate negotiators gathered in Bonn, Germany, to negotiate the rules that will govern the Paris Agreement will go back home on Thursday with little to show after almost two weeks of negotiation.
The final seal on the rules should be put at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in December, but the negotiators made so little progress in Germany that they decided to schedule yet another meeting in early September, this time in Bangkok, Thailand.
Is this a bad omen for the implementation of the Paris Agreement?
Maybe not – after all, in the run-up to Paris, two interim meetings were held instead of the usual one. Keep the finger crossed then.
But time is running out while climate ambition remains problematically low.
What’s at stake?
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.
The agreement set out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to “well below 2°C”.
The problem is that the climate plans tabled in 2015, earmarked as ‘NDCs’ (for National Determined Contribution in the United Nations’ newspeak), would take us to at least a 3°C temperature increase.
Which is why everyone agrees urgent action is needed. But the question is how.
This where the Talanoa dialogue comes in. Or should.
Put in place by the COP23 Fijian’s presidency, it refers to a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. It addresses three questions. Where are we, where do we want to go and how do we get there?
“The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling,” the Fijian’s presidency explained.
In the climate negotiation context, that means keeping the pressure on climate negotiators (mainly diplomats representing their countries) by allowing stakeholders – also designated as non-state actors in the climate bubble – to come up with proposals aimed at accelerating climate actions.
#Talanoa4ambition at #SB48Bonn must help countries do the serious work back home to raise ambition by 2020. The Marshall Islands is ready to again lead from the front. We will start work on a new & more ambitious NDC. We need a wider group of front runners. #HighAmbitionCoalition pic.twitter.com/lX32i40uPg
— David Paul (@MinisterDPaul) May 6, 2018
The non-state actors actually mean civil society. But not everyone is that enthusiastic about letting representatives of the civil society intervene in the otherwise hermetic climate negotiation world.
Poland is the most prominent example. The country which will host the highly strategic, highly sensitive COP24 has erased the term ‘Talanoa dialogue’ on its official website to replace it with ‘facilitative dialogue’ – the term and concept used before the Fijian presidency came up with their new negotiation scheme.
An open letter signed by a number of well-known European figures calls on the Council to put forward a plan for the revival of the EU to fight off “a new phase of ‘lethargy”. One idea to rebuild the European project could be to revamp apprenticeship programmes and offer a more developed Erasmus for apprenticeships.
In an event which bears resemblance to last year’s decision on the Paris Agreement, Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, while Europe has decided to stick to its position. A decision that could cause turmoil in the EU economy with a rise in oil prices and call for revised forecasts.
Poland has also rolled out the big guns by launching legal proceedings against Gazprom among others to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
Armenia’s new PM, swept to power by a peaceful revolution, has deeper ties with the EU, as well as Russia, in his sights. He’s also concerned about Trump’s ditching of the nuclear deal with neighbour Iran.
EURACTIV’s Sarantis Michalopoulos met Ambassador Andreas Papastavrou from the Greek Permanent Representation in the EU. In the interview, Papastavrou stated that Greece continues to strive for the release of the two Greek officers detained in Turkey.
Less than a week after World Press Day, the attack on a reporter in Montenegro once again raises concerns on the protection of journalists.
Not the cheese! According to a study, some European countries could cut down their CO2 emissions by changing their eating habits and replacing animal products with non-animal ones, and more particularly dairy products.
With cheese currently off our plates could hidden GMO’s replace them? The European Court of Justice will soon decide whether to classify New Plant Breeding Techniques as GMO’s, read our special report about them here.
It’s a deal? Revisions on the energy efficiency directive seem to be coming to a close but a final agreement has to be reached and some key issues still remain.
While some may be celebrating Europe Day, Eastern Europe is currently commemorating Victory Day, a chance for Russia to show its military power.
To end the day on a positive note, it seems that EU-Azeri relations might be mended as both sides finally seem to see eye to eye.
Look out for…
Tomorrow is a public holiday. EU institutions remain closed until Monday.
Views are the author’s.