Reactions to Bangkok climate talks: Participants say progress has been slow but encouraging

Environmental activists and supporters in a demonstration in front of the United Nations building, where experts engage in key talks about climate change, in Bangkok on Sept 8, 2018.
Environmental activists and supporters in a demonstration in front of the United Nations building, where experts engage in key talks about climate change, in Bangkok on Sept 8, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK - Following are reactions to the outcome of the Bangkok climate talks, which concluded on Sunday (Sept 9) after six days of negotiations.

The talks aimed to narrow differences on a rulebook that would allow the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to go into action.

The rules are meant to be agreed at a UN climate summit in the Polish city of Katowice in December, a summit called COP24.

ELLIOT DIRINGER, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS

"It's encouraging that, despite the political headwinds, parties are finally getting down to brass tacks on the Paris rulebook. They're leaving Bangkok with a much clearer sense of the remaining fault lines and options for bridging them. This week's California summit will highlight growing ambition and action on the ground, and the upcoming IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report will underscore the urgency of stronger action going forward. Together, they'll help build the political impetus needed to wrap up the rulebook in Katowice. With solid rules, Paris can do what it's designed to do - strengthen confidence that all countries are doing their fair share, making it easier for all to do more."

R R RASHMI, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, THE ENERGY AND RESOURCES INSTITUTE, FORMER CHIEF INDIAN CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATOR

"We should appreciate the intense and constructive engagement of all parties in development of the rules. However, people should refrain from elaborating more than what the Paris Agreement does in order to ensure that there is no logjam. Moreover, deeper political engagement is necessary to resolve longer-term issues; it will help not only effective implementation of the Paris Agreement but also enhancement of ambition."

MOHAMED ADOW, INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE LEAD, CHRISTIAN AID

"We have fortunately avoided going off the cliff edge. Governments have empowered the co-chairs to turn the progress made so far into a more solid basis for negotiations in Poland. It is now vital for the co-chairs to change the course of the negotiations from one of paralysis towards a win-win approach and craft middle ground options that the whole world can get behind at COP24."

AMJAD ABDULLA, CHIEF NEGOTIATOR, ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES AT THE UNITED NATIONS

"In Bangkok, as at so many meetings before, the climate finance issue stalled progress. I'm afraid that the debate has gone on so long that we have forgotten what it is about: Developed countries are responsible for the vast majority of historic emissions, and many became remarkably wealthy burning fossil fuels. Small islands, by contrast, have contributed an almost immeasurably small fraction of global emissions. Yet, we face devastating climate impacts and some of us could be lost forever to rising seas. Climate finance is not a handout. It is a logical and fair response to this history and the best way for international community to raise the resources needed to address the climate emergency."

TAEHYUN PARK, GLOBAL CLIMATE POLITICAL ADVISER, GREENPEACE EAST ASIA

"These talks have been beset with tension and parties have wrestled with reaching a balanced proposal on the Paris rulebook. Progress has slowed, leaving the heavy lifting for COP24. A leadership deficit is the root cause of this slow pace and needs to be immediately addressed. The upcoming California Climate Summit, New York UN Climate Week and Pre-COP must now be leveraged to unlock contentious issues like finance and differentiation."

 

ERIKA LENNON, SENIOR ATTORNEY, CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (CIEL)

"Progress in Bangkok has been slow and significant work remains between now and Katowice. During COP24 the world will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. Parties must take this opportunity to deliver on the vision of the Paris Agreement, that of people-centred climate action by adopting a robust set of Implementation Guidelines that integrates human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, and gender equality."

MARK LUTES, SENIOR GLOBAL CLIMATE POLICY ADVISER, WWF

"We leave Bangkok with agreement on the rules to implement the Paris Agreement within reach. At COP24, we need a sharp focus on commitments for increased climate action, climate finance and addressing loss and damage from climate change. These areas are all essential to implementation of the Paris Agreement, and governments must make substantial progress on all of them by COP24."