BBC News

UN puts brave face as climate talks get stuck

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, Bonn

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image copyrightIISD/ENB - Kiara Worth

UN talks have been officially suspended as countries failed to resolve differences about implementing the Paris climate agreement.

The negotiations will resume in Bangkok in September where an extra week's meeting has now been scheduled .

Delegates struggled with the complexity of agreeing a rulebook for the Paris climate pact that will come into force in 2020.

Rows between rich and poor re-emerged over finance and cutting carbon.

Overall progress at this meeting has been very slow, with some countries such as China looking to re-negotiate aspects of the Paris deal.

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa was putting a brave face on the talks.

"We face, I would say, a satisfactory outcome for this session but we have to be very, very clear that we have a lot of work in the months ahead," she said.

"We have to improve the pace of progress in order to be able to achieve a good outcome in Katowice in December," she said, referring to the end of year Conference of the Parties where the rulebook is due to be completed and agreed.

China and some other countries, perhaps frustrated by the slow pace, have sought in this Bonn meeting to go back to the position that existed before the 2015 deal, where only developed countries had to undertake to reduce their emissions.

image copyrightReuters
image captionUN climate chief Patricia Espinosa (L) talks to Fiji's chief negotiator Luke Daunivalu

However, many developing countries were strongly opposed to turning the clock back.

"Nations always give reasons to veer away from decarbonisation," the Philippines' Senator Loren Legarda, who's attending these talks, told BBC News.

"But in the end we don't exist in isolation of each other, and negotiators, leaders of these nations, whether industrialised or developing, small island or least developed, should all realise that we're in one planet together."

The difficulties this week in Bonn have not deterred the UK from throwing its hat in the ring to host the 2020 Conference of the Parties, considered a very crucial meeting.

It will be the first meeting where the Paris deal will be operational. Countries are also expected to revise upwards their existing promises on curbing emissions.

UK Energy and Clean Growth minister Claire Perry was upbeat about the idea, despite the costs and the huge logistical challenges that hosting thousands of attendees poses.

"I think it would be a marvellous opportunity for the UK to host it," she said, according to newspaper reports.

"We absolutely lead this space. We've decarbonised more and grown more than any other G7 country," she said.

"I've got a fantastic team of climate negotiators in the department. Our word carries weight, and it will still be so after Brexit."

A decision on where to host the 2020 meeting has not yet been made. There is even some doubt about next year's venue, expected to be in Brazil, after objections from Venezuela.

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