Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, addressed the UN in Bonn, Germany on Monday regarding the climate crisis. He pointed to recent findings from scientists which showed the drastic rise in global temperature – an increase of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels within the next 5 years.
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Stiell was addressing representatives from nearly 200 countries within the UN’s climate headquarters. He warned them that climate change was “accelerating” and that we are all “lagging behind in our actions to stem it.” He has urged countries to set aside their differences after 30 years of negotiations since the first UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.
Monday’s conference was a preliminary meeting intending to set the foundations for the upcoming COP28 summit in November. The conference was delayed by 2 hours due to delegates lack of cohesion and debates over the agenda, clearly reflecting Stiell’s comments. He has urged all countries involved to find common ground, and states, “There is at times tension between national interest and the global common good. I urge delegates to be brave, to see that by prioritising the common good, you also serve your national interests – and act accordingly.”
Governmental collaboration has been a point of focus for some time now. With COP28 only 5 months away, this meeting in Bonn is a point of no return for many. New policies and agreements are essential for the correct measures to be implemented. The host country of COP28, the United Arab Emirates, is already under scrutiny for their extensive fossil fuel production and reliance. Their decision to appoint the head of UAE’s national oil company, Adnoc, as the president for COP28 has “enraged climate campaigners.”
Stiell addressed more concerns with the budget for the UNFCCC secretariat. It is already viewed as lacking for the work required for running the annual COP summit as well as delivering the Paris Agreement of 2015. However, many countries are wanting the UN to do more to provide practical help, despite what Stiell refers to as a “massive funding gap.” He went on to urge delegates to apply pressure to governments to pay what they are already owed.
The conference in Bonn has highlighted clear problems with international cooperation when it comes to climate change. The “tipping point” with the climate crisis looks to be an issue that has no immediate solution. However, Alden Meyer, senior associate for the thinktank E3G, remains somewhat hopeful and states, “new agreements and commitments by governments and businesses can bring about a transformational roadmap to modernise economies and put global climate action back on track this decade.”