Limping to Paris
Clarity Eludes Climate Negotiators in Bonn

Before December’s landmark climate summit in Paris, negotiators are attending a number of pre-meetings in the hopes of ironing out wrinkles in the draft document nations will soon be haggling over. Since last week, delegates have been hard at work in Bonn trying to pare down redundancies in the bloated draft text, which has grown to some 90 pages. But the kind of clarity that Global Climate Treaty hopefuls insist is so important in achieving ahead of the big show is proving devilishly difficult to achieve, and time is running out. Reuters reports:

Ten days of discussions on the 90-page draft document are due to conclude on Thursday, amid expectations they will produce a shorter working version that retains all the options now on the table.

“Everyone is concerned that (the process) needs to be quicker,” Jennifer Morgan, director of the Global Climate Programme at the World Resources Institute (WRI), told reporters. “There is just an imperative that by Thursday they have a text that ministers can engage on this summer … that has clear options,” she said.

There will be more meetings after this latest one in Bonn—if we’ve learned anything from international climate negotiations, it’s that delegates hardly need an excuse to jump on planes and attend another summit, regardless of how fruitless previous talks have been.

Still, things are not where greens who want some kind of GCT miracle would like them to be. The G-7 countries released a joint statement earlier this week affirming long-term emissions reductions targets and a hope for a fossil-free world by the end of the century, but the pleasant eco-friendly rhetoric was light on specifics. And it didn’t address the most intractable problem international climate negotiations face: the divide between the developed and the developing worlds.

Greens will struggle to find any positive developments in the preparation for these talks; the officials most closely involved all seem pessimistic about what they hope to achieve in December. But still, negotiators slog on. Time will tell whether their labor will bear any fruit.

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