IES Researchers Attend UN Climate Change Negotiations in Bonn

IES researchers Sebastian Oberthür and Lisanne Groen, both members of the Environment and Sustainable Development cluster, attended the UN climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, that were held from 1 to 11 June 2015.

Lisanne was in Bonn for a few days in order to collect data for her PhD research project in political science: one of the case studies in her project concerns the negotiation process from December 2011 until December 2015 towards a new international climate change agreement. Lisanne focuses on measuring and explaining the European Union’s degree of goal achievement in this process. Lisanne also attended a workshop on ‘Gender and Climate Change’ on behalf of the delegation of Belgium (of which she is a member).

Sebastian was not only in Bonn to follow the negotiation process, but also to present the work of the ACT (Agreement on Climate Transformation) 2015 project that he carried out together with other climate change experts in an international consortium led by the World Resources Institute (WRI). The ACT 2015 project has developed a set of suggestions for the legal text of a new international climate agreement that it offers as a tool to negotiators. Concretely, Sebastian presented at a side-event (on 2 June) and a press conference (on 9 June) by the ACT 2015 consortium. Sebastian also contributed as a panelist to a side-event on “To be legally binding or not to be: Options for the structure and form of the Paris outcome” (on 1 June) organised by Climate Action Network (CAN) International.

One of the main tasks of the negotiators from the 196 parties (195 countries and the European Union) in Bonn was to try to shorten a text that forms the basis for the new agreement that should be adopted in December this year in Paris and should enter into force in 2020.

The work in Bonn did not progress as much as was hoped. Parties did not shift to a negotiating mode yet. They were only able to reduce the text by a few pages, while most substantive discussions were left for later. There are only ten official negotiating days left before the start of the Paris conference.