Reflections from the Bonn Climate Change Conference 2024

20 June, 2024 | Johanna Grosssteinbeck
Categories: Article 6, Conferences

Last week, Carbon Project Officer Johanna Grosssteinbeck represented CO2balance at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany. Read about her experience below…

I had the opportunity to spend two days at Bonn SB60 and gained insight into how climate conferences are run. It was inspiring to see that aside from the political representation, a large array of stakeholders were represented which have historically been ignored. This included women groups, youth representatives, and local stakeholders from LDCs (Least developed countries) and SIDS (Small island developing states).

The UNFCCC Executive Secretary’s townhall with observer organizations

This discussion provided a forum for Simone Stiell (The UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary) to meet with observer organisations. He expressed UNFCCC’s clear focus at Bonn and COP29 on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQGs) on Climate Finance. This is a new annual financial target that developed countries must meet from 2025 to provide finance to developing countries.

Stiell also voiced concerns about the concessionality of loans and the regulation of debt and funds. He discussed the risk of multiple moving parts and the need for alignment to ensure cohesion. Finally, looking forward to COP30, Simon Stiell highlighted the importance of NDCs, and how they need to unlock finance from high-income countries. Although these NDCs won’t be delivered until 2025, the work must start now, here in Bonn. This will ensure developing countries have access to the necessary finance to achieve a low-carbon transition.

The Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue

The Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue was hosted over 2 days on the 11th and 12th of June, and focused on two key topics:

  1. Marine biodiversity conservation and Coastal resilience
  2. Ocean energy technologies.

The discussions touched upon the potential of the carbon sector as a large source of finance in ocean technology. During the event, I was lucky enough to meet the YOUNGO network, a global network of youth NGOs aiming to shape intergovernmental policies.

The African Women and Gender Constituency

I had the privilege of attending interesting side events, including “Enhancing gender equality in climate action” by the African Women and Gender Constituency. These talks called for climate finance discussions to go hand in hand with gender equality negotiations. A Small island developing state representative emphasized the importance of community stories, connecting people on the ground with policymakers. She said that discussions must contextualize policies and address the suffering and destruction faced by these people. They finished the session by highlighting “COP29 is to be a COP for peace and we cannot have peace without justice”.

Takeaways from Article 6 talks at Bonn Climate Change Conference

At COP28, talks over the Paris Agreement’s carbon offsetting mechanisms collapsed in dramatic fashion. Negotiators at Bonn this week attempted to pick up the pieces under the authority of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA).

A lot of time was spent on the complex issue of transparency during the first week. As well as the establishment of a review process for host countries to be able to authorize the transfer of carbon credits. Countries gave the go-ahead for the UNFCCC to develop a code of conduct on “treating and reviewing” information they classify as confidential about their trade agreements. Additionally, there was a demand by delegates for a formal review and upfront authorisation of bilateral agreements between countries before any underlying carbon credits can be traded.

Brazil, the African Group, G7, China, and some LDCs argue that authorisation should be reversible in specific circumstances under Article 6.2 (the mechanism for bilateral exchange of credits).

Negotiators are currently debating whether emissions reduction projects falling under section 6.4 should receive credit in the upcoming UN carbon market. Key stakeholders such as the Philippines continue to push for the inclusion of these project types.

The Road to Baku

Saudi Arabia & Norway co-facilited the discussions for 6.2 and Australia & Bhutan for 6.4. Overall, Bonn saw a few countries becoming more flexible to work towards the full operationalisation of the 6.2 and 6.4 mechanism in Baku. Bonn laid a good foundation and streamlined proposals, with everyone aiming for positive outcomes in regard to COP29 in November. However, divisions remain and frustrations continue because of those obstructing discussions for a transparent review process which could subsequently lead to a market that is lacking in integrity. Although the Bonn Climate Change Conference was productive, the question remains whether further developments will be made during COP29 in Baku.

We’ll continue to cover future updates on key climate policies like Article 6 that are relevant to the carbon market. Follow us on our social media platforms to hear the latest.