The third day of the 2022 Bonn Climate Change Conference saw exchanges of views on mitigation and adaptation work, as well as special events unpacking the most recent science and discussing financing for loss and damage.
When it comes to climate change, “winning slowly is the same as losing,” writes American activist Bill McKibben. The crux of the problem is not that emissions have to be reduced globally—it is the speed at which the world must do so. And we are nowhere near fast enough. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent Sixth Assessment Report, which is being unpacked by its lead authors throughout the week in Bonn, makes clear that humanity is still firmly entrenched in the era of fossil fuels: with current nationally determined contributions (NDCs), the planet is headed for well above 2°C of warming.
Delegates deliberated on precisely this problem throughout the day. An informal group considered a new work programme on urgently scaling up mitigation and implementation, calling for urgent emphasis on increased action in the next two years. Meanwhile, at the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa regretted that adaptation has long been the “forgotten piece of the climate equation,” and participants stressed that “the window of opportunity is rapidly closing to secure a livable future.”
Yet familiar refrains rang out across each session—developed parties must “take the lead” on urgently ramping down their emissions, and provide enough technology and capacity for developing country parties to do the same. Breakout groups for the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage exposed fault lines between developing countries calling for a separate finance facility to address the disastrous impacts of climate change, and developed countries stressing that more investment and streamlining are needed for facilities that already exist.
As negotiations progress, what needs to be done remains clear; the questions are how fast, who goes first, and who’s paying.