During the negotiations – which began on 30 April and will end on 10 May – participants will also come together for the Talanoa Dialogue. This consultative process invites researchers and civil society actors to engage with Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), for a global conversation on how to increase ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

This is particularly important as countries prepare the next round of national climate actions, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  The actions described in countries’ current NDCs are insufficient to reach the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the global average temperature rise to below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C.

Photo: Ralf Vetterle.

The Talanoa Dialogue

The Talanoa Dialogue asks three questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? SEI will contribute to the discussion on Sunday, when SEI scientist Georgia Piggot joins a table of researchers, civil society actors and country representatives to discuss the second question.

Georgia highlighted the significance of this event for climate change mitigation: “We’re not yet on track to meet the agreed targets of the Paris Agreement. The Talanoa Dialogue offers a unique opportunity for countries, researchers and civil society to have an open discussion of what we need to do to raise ambition.”

Delivering multiple benefits

SEI also joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the Government of Norway to hold a side event on Friday that focused on the Multiple Benefits Pathway Approach highlighting that how we reach the Paris targets matters just as much as the targets themselves. The side event helped inform discussion of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), a set of guidelines to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement. This ‘operating manual’ is set to be finalised at the next Conference of the Parties (COP24) meeting in December in Poland. Overarching themes discussed under the PWAP are climate mitigation, NDCs, stocktaking, adaptation, finance, loss and damage, risk and gender.

As WHO reported this week, climate change is already affecting the health and livelihood of millions of people. Nine out of ten people worldwide breathe polluted air, while every year 7 million deaths are attributed to exposure of both outdoor and indoor house pollution. The Multiple Benefits Pathway Approach recognises that countries need nationally appropriate strategies that both mitigate climate change and improve air quality, health and food security.

This would include looking beyond CO2 emission targets and reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), such as black carbon. Because such pollutants are short-lived, reducing their emissions can effectively reduce near-term warming – as well as prevent millions of premature deaths from air pollution and improve crop yields. The adverse impacts of climate change can be felt already across the globe adding to the pressure of meeting the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement.

“Countries need tools that allow them to not only to calculate their emission scenarios and their contribution to reducing global warming, but also to gauge the benefits of taking action on human health,” said SEI Policy Director Johan Kuylenstierna.

Fossil fuels – aligning with the Paris Agreement

Also, in Bonn this week, SEI participated in a side event co-hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Oil Change International (OCI), and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The event focused on enhancing ambition under the Paris Agreement by addressing fossil fuel supply and ensuring a just transition.

SEI scientist Georgia Piggot was a panelist in a discussion on whether and how policies to phase down fossil fuel production – such as extraction limits, divestment or transition plans – can raise ambition to meet Paris Agreement goals. Other panelists included government officials from France, New Zealand and the Maldives, as well as officials from the International Labour Organization, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G).

Collaboration and synergies in the NDCs

At a third side event, experts discussed the possibility of country collaboration on design and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Good design and communication of NDCs do not always guarantee successful implementation, as there may be other limitations such as capacities or resources. Examples of how to create synergies in the areas of policy transfer, technology transfer and capacity building for stronger institutional capabilities for NDCs, both during the design and implementation stages, will be presented and discussed at this event.

SEI Senior Research Fellow Richard Klein presented work done by colleagues at the SEI-Africa Centre in Nairobi that was part of the European Horizon2020 research project TRANSrisk. Richard spoke about innovation policies in Kenya in support of low-emission transition pathways. The case study in Kenya shows the growing importance of the country’s innovative geothermal sector and the need for cross-sector synergies to address land use impacts associated with the charcoal sector.

Listen to the SEI events at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn