WWF: Bonn climate talks hold up hope of turning trust into traction in Mexico

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WWF says negotiators at UN climate talks in Bonn have missed some important goals, while showing a much stronger performance than in previous rounds.

"In order to win the low carbon world cup we'll have to score a number of important goals in the very near future, such as reaching an agreement on adaptation to climate impacts and on ways to stop deforestation," said Kathrin Gutmann, Head of Climate Policy, WWF Global Climate Initiative.

"Bonn made good progress on some of these crucial building blocks that will be essential parts of a future regime to tackle climate change, and there is really no reason for negotiators to go into extra-time instead of concluding them at the Climate Summit in Mexico this December."

In WWF's view, progress in Bonn was mainly a result of improved team spirit among negotiators, with countries from North and South teaming up in unusual coalitions, creating fresh dynamics and space for solutions and compromise.

However, Bonn did not see any major victories on challenging issues like funding and policies to wean economies off fossil fuels and make them fit for the low carbon future, mainly due to a lack of progressive champions and blocking tactics by oil-exporting countries like Saudi Arabia.

"The performance of a whole range of key players in the negotiations didn't really match the rapid shifts in investment or public opinion in favour of clean technology solutions that have recently occurred at the domestic level," said Gutmann.

"While the UN climate talks still tend to discuss climate action as a burden, more and more people in more and more countries see it as a benefit, and taking on this view is what will allow negotiators to be successful in solving the big challenges."

New negotiating text emerging from the Bonn talks on the last day could put delegates attending the next two rounds of negotiations before Mexico – one in August and one in October – in a good position to turn trust into traction in Mexico.

"Bonn reminded parties that negotiating in good faith is the best choice, and on this basis Mexico can be the moment where they agree on a significant package of actions and solutions, so that striking a new climate deal in South Africa the following year becomes a realistic goal," said Gutmann.

"While the football teams of Mexico and South Africa are playing today's opening match of the football world cup 2010, their governments are key players for success in the low carbon world cup 2011, where it's not about the victory of one nation, but about a safe future for the entire planet."

The results of a WWF poll among delegates, observers and journalists at the Bonn talks revealed that a majority of people following the negotiations shares this view. As part of the WWF Climate Deal Oracle, they were asked when we should and when we will get a global climate deal.

54.7% of the 265 participants thought we should get a deal by Mexico this December. However, 53.6% acknowledged that – realistically – we'd get this deal only in South Africa a year later. Opinions among delegates hardly differed from those expressed by observers and journalists.

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