June 22, 2011

Recapping the UN Bonn Climate Talks

Introducing Kiernan Veith! Kiernan was a student delegate
from DePaul University to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCC) COP-15 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. With her major in
Political Science and a minor in Environmental Studies, Kiernan brings to the
Natural Security program not only a deep background on climate change, but also
the analytical scope to explore environmental and climate change through a
national security and foreign policy lens. Take it away, Kiernan!

Last Friday, June 17, 2011, marked the last day of the
two-week United Nation’s Climate Talks in Bonn, Germany.  With the first phase of the Kyoto
Protocol commitments set to expire at the end of 2012
, the talks in Bonn were expected to pick up on the outcomes
of the 16th Conference of Parties (COP) in Cancun last December and prepare for
the 17th COP in Durban this December.

There was modest
progress made during the negotiations
toward extending carbon trading mechanisms and building institutions to help
developing countries adapt to changes in the climate.
 The large differences that have been part of
this process for more than 20 years (finance, emissions cuts, and future of the
protocol) remained unresolved at the end of the two-week sessions, said the Environmental Defense Fund.  These large differences include where nations
will get the financing to stimulate investment in low-carbon development/adaptation,
exact emissions reduction targets and whether or not to extend the Kyoto
Protocol for a second period. 

Some highlights from
Bonn include:

It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next
year leading up to Durban.  Having
attended COP15, the UN Climate Conference in December 2009 in Copenhagen,
Denmark, it is clear that countries remain at odds over the future of the Kyoto
Protocol and that “the process
is so volatile that even progress on technical issues are often held hostage by
fundamental political issues like the future of the Kyoto Protocol, equity and
overall ambition,”
according to Environmental News Service.