Press Release15.12.2007, Berlin/Bali

Last-minute breakthrough for global climate protection

Bali climate conference closes

WBGU reports that the UN conference which closed in Bali today has brought the global climate protection process a good step forward.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, WBGU member and climate advisor to the German government, explains: "This meeting has succeeded in capitalizing on the climate policy dynamic generated in 2007. The G8 summit in Heiligendamm paved the way".

Ambitious steps now needed within agreed negotiation framework

The key outcome to emerge from often difficult talks is the "Bali Roadmap" for negotiating a comprehensive post-2012 climate protection regime. WBGU stresses that the roadmap must be pursued with great ambition over the next two years if an effective agreement is to be brokered. The roadmap has launched a process that will integrate the United States, which has not until now accepted any commitments, and the developing countries in a
dialogue on future, measurable and verifiable contributions to climate change mitigation.

Scientific basis now accepted

The international community has now accepted the scientific basis without reservation. The design of a future climate protection regime is be guided by the emission reduction requirements identified by the IPCC. WBGU takes the view that dangerous climate change can only be  voided if global warming is limited to a maximum of 2°C from pre-industrial levels. WBGU's recent flagship report titled "Climate Change as a Security Risk" has been instrumental in clarifying that any greater level of warming must be expected to seriously disrupt international relations.  he climate deal now to be negotiated and implemented will determine whether climate change remains an issue that can be managed at all by the international community.

Target corridors indicated clearly

The Bali Roadmap establishes indications of target corridors for emission reductions. Specifically, this means a 25–40% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions of industrialized countries by 2020 from a 1990 baseline. The negotiation mandate for future commitments under the Kyoto Protocol states this reduction corridor clearly. WBGU notes that such near-term targets are important as they not only guide negotiation processes, but also have a direct
effect in pointing upcoming investment decisions in the right direction.

Key advances on deforestation and adaptation

Deforestation presently accounts for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions – measures to counter it will only be part of a new climate protection pact after 2012. It would thus have been important to already provide incentives now for the prevention of deforestation in the developing world. No agreement was reached on this issue. What provides a glimmer of hope, however, is that the World Bank and several states, including Norway and Australia, have announced that they will provide financial resources for forest
conservation. It does albeit remain uncertain given the lack of political will in the regions affected how effective this initiative will actually be.

WBGU welcomes the agreement achieved on the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol. The fund is expected to gain a volume of several hundred millions of US dollars within the next years. It will finance adaptation projects in developing countries. WBGU notes, however, that this is only a first step, and that both the form and volume of financing leave much to be desired. The goal for the future should therefore be to develop a comprehensive international compensation and adaptation regime whose main task is to
generate sufficient and dependable resources for compensating climate damage and financing adaptation strategies.

European Union successes

The EU has largely achieved its goals in the negotiations. Several formerly "problematic" countries have now adopted a more constructive stance. The G8 summit in Heiligendamm and the strong climate policy commitment of the German government have played an important role in bringing about this shift. Nonetheless, Bali has also revealed major conflicts of interest in the climate
protection arena. The process of negotiating a new climate agreement will therefore present a major challenge to the international community over the coming two years. As it has done in the past, the EU will need to continue to act as an important force driving negotiations forward. The EU should therefore now implement its climate targets vigorously, lobby for ambitious commitments on the part of industrialized countries, and elicit the support of newly industrializing countries as partners in this process. As a new regime is to be agreed by 2009, negotiations will need to proceed apace.