Climate negotiators back out again in Bonn

Feature story - April 15, 2009
BONN, Germany — Another round of climate talks is over, this time in Bonn, Germany. Once again negotiators are leaving without a plan or having left any money on the table to tackle climate change.

Heads of state need to commit to being present at negotiations to solve the climate crisis before it is too late.

The diplomats and negotiators have been wasting precious time for two weeks while the rest the world watches as ice caps melt, ice-sheets break off in Antarctica and Australia suffers from flash floods. What are they waiting for?

Yes we can

Thankfully there was a ray of hope on the horizon. The presence of the Obama administration at the climate negotiations and the fact that the US is once again engaged in the discussions seems to have lifted the mood. However, there has been little or no real progress made on the key issues and decisions we need on climate change. A change in mood just isn't enough.

We need our heads of state, world leaders, to take responsibility. We need all of the Presidents, Chancellors and Prime Ministers of the world to take personal responsibility and commit to making climate change important enough to show up to these meetings themselves. Stop letting weeks of negotiations go by without any progress. We need our leaders to take responsibility for this process, give their negotiators clear and strong direction over the course of this year, and show up to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December, and make sure that we all get the climate deal that we need.

A little less conversation, a little more action

We need real leadership and some hard numbers. The US has to come back with solid proposals in June, at the next round of negotiations, and the rest of the industrialised world has to knuckle down and close the gap between what they have agreed to and what the science says is necessary to to avert runaway climate change.

We need targets for reducing greenhouse gases and money on the table for poorer countries to pay for climate impacts they're already experiencing and to take action to control their own growing emissions. This has a price tag - developing countries need at least EUR 110 billion a year (USD $140 billion). This money should be raised through an international scheme that asks rich nations to pay for their carbon footprint, providing the certainty developing countries need to leverage private funds for green investment.

Besides financing green measures in developing countries, both the US and the EU will need to upgrade their reduction targets in the light of recent science.

To avoid runaway climate change, developed countries as a group need to commit to 40 percent emission reductions from 1990 levels by 2020.

Stephanie Tunmore, one our climate experts, who was at the Bonn meeting warned: "We are on the brink of runaway climate change. World leaders need to realise that they can't change climate science so they must urgently intervene and change the politics. Greenpeace will be working on behalf of the billions of people who will suffer to make sure that happens."

Read our demands for the UN summit in Copenhagen: Long version, Short version

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