Countries gather this week in the hope of erasing bitter memories of the Copenhagen summit and restoring faith in the battered UN process for combatting climate change. Negotiators meet in Bonn from Friday to Sunday for the first official talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since the strife-torn confab.
Their first job will be stocktaking: to see what place climate change now has on the world political agenda.
Disappointment or disillusion swept many capitals when 120 heads of state and government returned from Copenhagen after coming within an inch of a fiasco.
Over the past three months, political interest in climate change has ebbed, says Sebastien Genest, vice president of a green group, France Nature Environment.
“The summit prompted a widespread sense of failure and a kind of gloom,” says Genest.
Moving to fill the vacuum are climate skeptics and pragmatists – those who call for priority to domestic interests and the economy rather than carbon emissions.
On the table in Bonn will be how to breathe life into the summit’s one solid outcome: the Copenhagen Accord.
The slender document was hastily crafted by the heads of 28 countries as the December 7-19 marathon wobbled on the brink of collapse.
It sets the goal of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), gathering rich and poor countries in action against carbon pollution.
It also promises US$30 billion (22 billion euros) for climate-vulnerable poor countries up to to 2012, and as much as US$100 billion annually by 2020.
The deal falls way short of the post-2012 treaty that was supposed to emerge from the two-year haggle which climaxed in Copenhagen.
Its many critics say it has no deadline or roadmap for reaching the warming target and its pledges are only voluntary.