Reflections on Week One of Thoughts on Week One of Bonn Climate Conference Intersessional Meetings

By Stacey Kimmig

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While attending the intersessionals in Bonn, I ask myself, “What would be interesting for FAWCO members to know about these climate discussions?” I try to attend a range of different events, not only complex technical negotiation meetings, but side events and press conferences as well, all in the hope of getting a better understanding of the issues surrounding climate change, so that I can bring these core issues back to you. But the issue of climate change is complex, and all attendees represent a different country’s interests, or a civil society movement, or a scientific perspective; they all have something to contribute, but it can be very difficult to find common ground to which all parties can agree. For this reason, there is so much to tell, but I need to pick and choose, so I will just share with you a few interesting moments in the first week from my perspective:

  • At a press conference, Harjeet Singh from Action Aid International shared an analogy about how developing countries might be feeling when asked to increase their efforts to combat climate change: A rich man comes and burns down a poor man’s home. The rich man then says to the poor man, “You should rebuild your home right away! But you need to rebuild it now to the highest standards – and of course, environmentally friendly. Here, I have an exact plan for rebuilding that you must follow. But don’t ask how you are going to pay for it, I cannot give you an answer now!”
  • At a side event called “Eating for the Climate” a lot of very persuasive figures were presented by the speakers about how a more plant-based diet would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the most shocking fact to me was that we waste a third of all food produced in the world; if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter in the world, behind the U.S. and China! So think twice before you throw out that food!
  • The climate tracker updates were presented in a press conference Thursday, which analyses how countries are doing against their promises. The current forecasts shows a reduction from last year’s projection of overall temperature rise by the end of the century from 3.6° to 3.4°. This is due to renewable energies coming into the market more quickly than anticipated. To view how your country is doing on their pledge, go to: (No, the U.S. is not leading the way on combatting climate change...)
  • The Talanoa Dialogue was held on Sunday for select members to share their stories about where we are, where we want to go and how do we get there. For webcasts of the dialogues, look here:

Overall, progress feels slow, but the message is still that we must act together now to reach the goal of 1.5°. We’ll see how much closer we get next week!

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