Can this week’s climate talks in Bonn come up with a draft text for COP 21 in Paris to suit all parties? DW talks to UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.
UN diplomats are meeting in Bonn this week for climate change talks. The five-day session is the last meeting before heads of states and ministers gather in Paris in December to try to sign a deal to combat the threat posed by global climate change.
DW: How important are these talks in Bonn in preparing the way for the Paris climate conference?
Christiana Figueres: These talks are critically important on the path toward Paris because it is the last formal session where countries formally get together to listen to each other and to come to common ground. We do not expect a final solution here, but we certainly expect that they will be coming closer together.
Developing countries have expressed dissatisfaction over the latest draft of the global climate agreement, saying many of the core issues have been removed. How confident are you that the talks this week will result in a draft text for Paris that all parties accept?
We heard first from the developing countries that they were unhappy with the content of the draft text. The fact is that all countries were very appreciative and happy that it was a short, concise and comprehensive text. However, we also heard from developing and developed countries that they felt the text had gone from being too detailed to being too short. The exercise yesterday was the first attempt to find a happy middle ground between too much and too little. That will now be the work of this week.
Expectations for the Paris climate summit, COP21, are high. How optimistic are you, that a global climate agreement will be reached?
We continue to be very optimistic. The fact is that every single country continues to increase its political will and its commitment to reach a Paris agreement, otherwise they wouldn’t be working here very hard this week.
What happens if international agreement isn’t achieved?
It’s not a scenario that we entertain.
Will the climate agreement still go ahead, even if some countries don’t agree to it?
This is an agreement that is so fundamental and that is going to have such an effect on the global economy, that it is necessary for all countries to feel comfortable with it.
Some developing and emerging nations still need a lot of convincing to agree to cut their emissions. What has to happen to bring them all on board?
The fact is that we already have 154 national climate change plans so that means there are at least 154 countries that have already identified where they would have opportunities for reducing their emissions. Many of them also see where they’re going to need to adapt to the negative effects of climate change. So that’s already 86 percent of global emissions, 75 percent of countries, and we expect that we will be receiving more of these national climate change plans throughout the next months.
What strategies have you found helpful in getting world leaders to take action on climate change?
It’s actually pretty simple. The “magic wand”, if there were one, is for each of these countries to understand that this is not just a global agenda. Most of the measures of climate action, if not all of them, also have a very fundamental, beneficial effect on the countries presenting them. So the very positive overlap between national development agenda and global agenda is actually what is moving countries forward.