Warning of eleventh hour chaos at UN climate talks

2nd July 2015

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Russell Hodgson

The draft negotiating text was cut by just five pages at the latest UN climate talks in Bonn, leading to countries authorising the two co-chairs to take over producing a streamlined document.

The 85-page draft negotiating text still has several options under each heading, according to Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC.

The edited document will be published on 24 July, a month before the next round of talks. There is a risk that an agreement will be watered down if a lack of time leads to text being cut drastically at the last minute, Grant said.

Samantha Smith, leader of WWF's global climate and energy initiative, agreed: "This was the last UN meeting where we can afford to have negotiations this slow, or we'll face chaos trying to pull it all together at the last minute."

There was progress on some issues, including an agreement on policy to avoid deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). All countries also agreed that more ambitious emissions cuts are needed in the next five years, a critical step forward since much of the discussion has focused on what needs to happen between 2020 and 2050 despite scientific evidence that emissions need to peak sooner, Smith said.

Meanwhile, leaders of G7 countries called for a decarbonisation of the global economy by 2100. But analysis by PwC of emissions reduction pledges by these countries shows they fall well short of the average 6% reduction per unit of GDP needed to keep global temperature rises below 2ºC.

However, there is a growing expectation that the Paris talks will agree a legally binding requirement for countries to report, review and, if emissions reductions are not on track, to do more. This was a key recommendation of a report by the International Energy Agency on energy and climate change published in June.

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