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UN Talks Inch Closer to Climate Deal

Bonn, Germany (June 11, 2015) – UN negotiations concluded in Bonn today with slow but steady progress on a new climate agreement. For the first time, all countries signaled that more ambitious emissions cuts are needed in the next five years and the talks also concluded 10 years of negotiations on forests.

Although some progress was made, it is now clear that climate negotiations are not on target to keep global temperatures below the 2oC limit that all countries have agreed represents dangerous climate change.

Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative said: “After difficult negotiations, all countries have said that we need more ambitious emissions cuts in the next five years. This is critical because scientists say that global emissions need to peak very soon if we are going to avoid the very worst impacts of climate change.”

“This is also critical because the gap is growing between what is needed and what is being promised on finance and emissions. Nonetheless, we see signs that governments are finally committed to take more action on emissions prior to 2020.

“The negotiations must pick up pace. Between now and when world leaders meet formally in Paris at COP21, negotiators must get much stronger mandates. There can be no excuses – countries must be ready to start real negotiations in August when the climate talks reconvene,” Smith said. “And governments must be ready to be more ambitious. We need to stop talking about what is politically realistic, and start talking about what is realistic for the planet.”

Pierre Cannet, head of Climate and Energy Programme at WWF-France said: “As the incoming COP Presidency, France has the duty to ensure the discussions move to the political level where the difficult decisions must be made. There will be no "Paris alliance" if we delay ambition for five more years."

Progress in addressing the emissions gap in the next five years
There was progress on dealing with the gap between what is needed to avoid dangerous climate change and current commitments to cut emissions. All party blocs (EU, Umbrella, G77, AOSIS, EIG) came forward with proposals on how the emissions gap can be closed and all called for a decision on this issue at the Paris climate negotiations.

Progress toward agreeing a new global climate deal in Paris
In Bonn, countries reorganized and partly streamlined the lengthy draft text. This will make it easier for ministers to provide a political steer to their negotiating teams. Ministers must now prepare thoroughly as there is no excuse for avoiding real negotiations in the August session.

Progress on avoiding deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)
The REDD+ work aims to reduce emissions from forest degradation and deforestation. The technical process was concluded this week so there is now an institutional framework. This shows that multilateral negotiations can deliver a concrete framework to drive action. Now it is up to governments to deliver the finance necessary to roll those programs out.

Structured Expert Dialogues (SED)
The SED process reviewed the 2 degree global warming limit and made a very strong case for a stricter limit that would keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. For many island states and vulnerable countries 1.5 degrees Celsius is beyond the limits of adaptation and the point at which they start facing irreversible loss and damage.