Bonn Climate Conference Another UN Non-Event

By Paul Homewood



Well it was never going to be earth shattering, but after two weeks and 20,000 delegates what exactly was achieved at Bonn?

According to the UN Press Release, next to nothing!



UN Climate Change News, Bonn, 18 November 2017 – Nations agreed today to launch the next steps towards higher climate action ambition before 2020 at the close of the annual UN climate conference held in the German city of Bonn.

Backed by a wide range of positive announcements from governments, cities, states, regions, companies and civil society, delegates from over 190 countries agreed to a 12-month engagement focusing on ‘Where are we, where do we want to go and how do we get there?’

The ‘Talanoa Dialogue’, inspired by the Pacific concept of constructive discussion, debate and story-telling, will set the stage in Poland in 2018 for the revising upwards of national climate action plans needed to put the world on track to meet pre-2020 ambition and the long-term goals of the two-year old Paris Agreement.


The Paris Agreement’s central goal is keep the global average temperature rise below 2 Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5—the lower limit is deemed crucial for survival by many small islands and vulnerable countries.

Over one degree of this rise has already occurred since pre-industrial times. The current set of national climate action plans, known as NDCs, are still heading for a path towards 3 Celsius, possibly more.

Frank Bainimarama, President of the conference also known as ‘COP23’ and Prime Minister of Fiji, said: “I’m very pleased that COP23 has been such a success, especially given the challenge to the multilateral consensus for decisive climate action. We have done the job we were given to do, which is to advance the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement and prepare for more ambitious action in the Talanoa Dialogue of 2018.”

“There has been positive momentum all around us. And Fiji is especially gratified how the global community has embraced our concept of a Grand Coalition for greater ambition linking national governments with states and cities, civil society, the private sector and ordinary men and women around the world,” he said.

“We leave Bonn having notched up some notable achievements, including our Ocean Pathway, the historic agreement on agriculture and others on a Gender Action Plan and Indigenous People’s Platform. We have also secured more funding for climate adaptation and launched a global partnership to provide millions of climate-vulnerable people the world over with affordable access to insurance.”

“I want to warmly thank our hosts, the German Government and the UNFCCC, as well as the residents of Bonn. We brought our Fijian Bula Spirit to COP and it’s been wonderful how people responded. Vinaka vakalevu. Let’s all leave rededicating ourselves to more ambitious action on climate change by moving Further, Faster, Together in the year ahead,” said Mr. Bainimarama.

  • A report launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency during the conference has found that many countries now have higher renewable energy targets than are stated in their national climate action plans or NDCs – indicating that in some countries, at least in respect to green energy, higher ambition is already being locked in
  • A special scientific report, produced for the conference by Future Earth and the Earth League, says renewable energy expansion around the globe is doubling around every 5.5 years–consistent with the complete de-carbonization of the energy sector by mid-century

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change secretariat which hosted the conference with support from the Government of Germany, said: “COP23 in Bonn came against a backdrop of severe and unprecedented natural calamities that hit homes, families and economies in Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas – these reminded us of the urgency of our collective task.”

“The conference has, with the adoption of the Talanoa Dialogue, delivered a launch-pad that can take us to that next stage of higher ambition. It has also advanced the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement so that by 2018 it can truly support sustained international cooperation and national efforts to realize a more secure, prosperous and better world for all,” she said.

“But Bonn 2017 did more than that – it underlined that support for the Paris Agreement is strong and that the journey upon which the world has embarked is an unstoppable movement supported by all sectors of society, across all parts of the globe.” said Ms Espinosa.

With so many climate action pledges and initiatives, a further strong message from all sides at COP23 was the growing need to coordinate efforts across policy, planning and investment to ensure that every cent invested and every minute of work contributed results in a much greater impact and boosts ambition under the national climate plans.


So, they have agreed to discuss, debate and tell stories for another year. No change there then.

As for the concrete issues of meeting Kyoto targets for 2020, speeding up decarbonisation, stepping up plans for post 2030, and funding the $100bn a year previously promised, there has been stony silence.


The best that Bonn seems to have managed is:


  • Less than $1bn promised for various projects, none of which seem to have anything to do with climate change or renewable energy.
  • A Gender Action Plan (because, apparently, women tend to be especially vulnerable to climate change  impacts).
  • Launch of Network of Pacific Island Journalists.
  • Launch of the Ocean Pathway Partnership, just another pointless UN process.
  • Local Communities and Indigenous People’s Platform.
  • Launch of New Small Island Developing State (SIDS) Health initiative.

They are so desperate to come up with self justification that they are forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel, by announcing:

A special scientific report, produced for the conference by Future Earth and the Earth League, says renewable energy expansion around the globe is doubling around every 5.5 years–consistent with the complete de-carbonization of the energy sector by mid-century.

 Using the same logic, suppose you are given one penny on the first day of the month, double the next day, and then double the previous day’s pennies for the rest of the month. By the end of the month, you would have $10,737,418.23.


Next year the whole climate caravan descends on Katowice, in the heart of Poland’s coal country. I doubt whether much will be achieved there either, certainly not if the Polish Government has anything to do with it.


November 20, 2017 at 01:09PM

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