We represent farmers at Bonn Climate Change Conference

First published: 24 June 2022

An image of Ceris Jones taken at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, June 2022

Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

NFU climate change adviser Ceris Jones reports from the Bonn Climate Change Conference, explaining the progress and hurdles discussed for agriculture.

Representatives of the world’s governments met at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 6-16 June 2022, to follow up on the agreements made at the COP26 conference in Glasgow in 2021. Discussions at COP26 had signalled a move from negotiation to implementation.

You can read our coverage of COP26 below.

The NFU and colleagues from the World Farmers' Organisation travelled to Bonn to highlight the severe challenges facing agriculture. They also talked about the opportunities the industry can provide to tackle climate change.

Agriculture as part of climate negotiations

The negotiations on agriculture continued, slowly, with some meetings only open to government representatives. The NFU wants to see the Koronivia Roadmap, which is due to report later this year, deliver concrete next steps for farmers in the UK and across the world.

It is important that agriculture continues to have its own space in the climate negotiations because it is on the frontline of weather impacts and it is unique in being both a source and sink of emissions.

Global Stocktake

The Bonn conference also saw the first technical dialogue of the first Global Stocktake. The latter is a fundamental component of the Paris Agreement on climate change and aims to help national governments:

  • see what they have achieved
  • identify what still needs to be done
  • highlight opportunities to increase their ambition on climate action.

It provided a chance to try something different – to move away from reading out pre-prepared statements to more interactive discussions.

The NFU was the only representative of the Farmers Constituency in these detailed debates.

Progress

There was progress in some areas. Governments and numerous stakeholders showcased solutions, opportunities and innovations across their economies. However, hurdles remain. For example, 'loss and damage', which describes climate impacts which cannot be or have not been alleviated or adapted to, is still a political hot potato. Developed countries worry that if they have to pay for historic emissions it could put their countries on the hook for billions of pounds.

Next steps

There will be other opportunities throughout the year to act on such outstanding issues, including the G7 Leaders’ Summit and the United Nations General Assembly in September. But if these aren’t realised, it could make for a difficult time at COP27 in Egypt.

As outgoing UNFCCC executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said, “We all know that the world of COP27 will look nothing like it did for COP26. It is a world beset with conflicts, energy, food and economic crises… and the global pandemic is still with us.”

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