From Bonn to Fairbanks, Vienna to Washington, this was a surprisingly active week for climate action. The two-week Bonn climate negotiations got underway, President Donald Trump delayed his anticipated decision on whether the United States would stay in the Paris Agreement, the Arctic Council recognized climate change as an urgent threat -- and more.
Here’s a quick recap of key developments:
Steady Progress on the “Paris Rulebook”
During the first week of the negotiations in Bonn, delegates worked constructively to create the so-called “Paris rulebook,” the operating manual for countries on how to use the Agreement to advance climate action for decades to come.
Linking each of the core elements of the Paris Agreement to avoid duplication and fit them together like interlinked cogs in a machine. Just before the Bonn meeting, the Project for Advancing Climate Transparency (PACT) consortium released a working paper to help negotiators identify such linkages with the transparency framework, exploring how they can be leveraged to improve the design of the “Paris rulebook.”
Advancing efforts on the transparency framework, such as how to report national greenhouse gas emissions inventories, what information is necessary to track progress on countries’ climate actions and what information should be provided on financial support, technology transfer and capacity-building.
Sharing ideas on how to design the global stocktake, when countries gather every five years to assess progress thus far, the gap remaining to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate goals, and opportunities for increased action. Read a WRI perspective on options for designing an effective global stocktake.
Grappling with how they will communicate their adaptation actions.
Furthering the conversation on climate finance, including accounting of finance that countries have provided and mobilized, and on how to the Adaptation Fund can serve the Paris Agreement. WRI’s recent report, the Future of the Funds, includes an analysis of the Adaptation Fund’s comparative advantages and suggests ways it could serve the Paris Agreement.
Exploring voluntary efforts to help deliver on countries’ climate commitments, such as market mechanisms, in a way that promotes sustainable development and environmental integrity.
Developing a process that fosters implementation and compliance by countries of their national commitments.
Raising Ambition by 2020
Beyond the “Paris rulebook,” countries are also preparing for a key moment in 2018 – the Facilitative Dialogue – when they will take stock of progress made thus far, as well as identify opportunities for enhanced action and get ready to submit enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020. There is growing consensus that this stocktaking exercise could be a year-long process rather than a single event and could leverage the inputs and participation of non-state actors such as cities and business.
Negotiators also had productive conversations about increasing capacity for delivering on national climate plans, including both for reducing emissions and planning adaptation actions. Additionally, this week negotiators wrapped up a session exploring how to encourage gender balance in the UNFCCC negotiations and make climate plans gender-responsive.
Countries Examine Peers’ Climate Action
Starting on Friday, countries are participating in a dialogue with their peers on progress and lessons learned from climate actions they have already taken. A multilateral assessment took place on Friday and Saturday for developed countries, including the United States, Canada, Russia, France and Spain, while a facilitative sharing of views on Monday is for developing countries, including India and Indonesia. This process is an opportunity for countries to openly share successes, challenges, and underlying assumptions about their actions.
Trump Punts Paris Decision
Tuesday’s White House announcement that President Donald Trump will postpone any decision on whether the U.S. will stay in the Paris Agreement temporarily lifted some of the uncertainty that shadowed the start of the Bonn talks. The announcement of the delay came after a huge outpouring of business, security and diplomatic leaders urging Trump to stay in the global pact. This week Chinese President Xi Jinping and newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron stated that they would defend the Paris Agreement and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Trump to make the case for staying in the pact.
India Affirms Climate Commitment
Following the delayed decision from the White House, Indian Energy Minister Piyush Goyal proclaimed at the Vienna Energy Forum that “India stands committed to its commitments made at Paris irrespective of what happens in the rest of the world.” Goyal also spoke eloquently of how a transformation towards clean energy will enable his country to eradicate poverty and his personal intention to overachieve and deliver early – by 2019 – on India’s target for achieving full energy access. Read more about India's progress towards its ambitious renewable energy targets.
Arctic Nations Acknowledge Paris Agreement
The Arctic Council concluded its summit in Fairbanks, Alaska, with a communique which highlights the risks of climate change, affirms the need for global climate action and notes the Paris Agreement, even as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated the United States is currently reviewing its climate policies.
New Tools to Use for NDC Implementation
The NDC Partnership released a beta version of the NDC Toolbox Navigator, the first online resource to provide countries and other stakeholders with resources for each stage of implementing their NDCs. This user-friendly resource a wide range of tools for governments and stakeholders. The NDC Toolbox Navigator already features 250 tools and resources, and more will be added over time.
Countries are aiming to agree on the outline of draft negotiation text for the “Paris rulebook” before the Bonn climate talks conclude next week. To get there, negotiators will need to maintain the constructive approach they have taken thus far, putting us one step closer to a more prosperous and climate-resilient world.