Against a backdrop of newly rising greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, the world’s nations met in Bonn, Germany in November for the 23rd annual “conference of parties” (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
After the landmark Paris Climate Agreement two years ago, this year’s summit agenda focused on process-oriented negotiation points. The Agreement’s signatories now need to define how to implement the target of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.
These detailed processes will be written down in the so-called Rulebook, an operational handbook that defines technical and administrative tasks. Examples include how countries set and transparently report on their carbon reduction pledges and how they track their climate adaptation efforts.
In contrast to some of the previous summits, preparatory work in the run-up to the Bonn conference had not yielded more than a few “informal notes” that served as starting points for the negotiations. In the end, however, there have been some achievements:
- The draft Rulebook is still targeted for next year’s summit that will be held in Poland in December 2018.
- A global stocktake was agreed for next year to see to what extent voluntary national carbon reduction pledges are sufficient to reach the agreed target by the end of the century.
- Developed countries committed to pre-2020 carbon emission reduction targets as laid out in the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol.
- The annual climate finance target of $100 billion per year, promised and to be provided by the developed countries, will be assessed in 2018 and 2020.
During the entire two-week conference, one of the recurring themes was the slow speed of global carbon reductions. The outlook that the current greenhouse gas emissions trajectory will take us to over 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by the end of the century should motivate everybody to increase efforts at all levels – and at speed.
While national governments seem to struggle to get to grips with their ambitions to reduce carbon emissions, sub-national actors, states, cities and businesses are rising to the call and are stepping in to contribute with targets of their own in the global battle against climate change.
About the author:
Franz Jenowein is a director within JLL’s Global Research team. He is responsible for its sustainable real estate research program publishing analyses on Eco-cities, climate change, flood risk, resilient cities, smart buildings, workplace health and productivity, green districts and sustainability transparency. Franz has a wide experience in carbon management, operational building energy and carbon performance benchmarking and energy efficiency management across European and global real estate investor and occupier portfolios.