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Bristol just transition trailblazers make tracks for Bonn Climate Change Conference

Blue flags flying at Bonn Climate Change Conference 2024

Flags flying at the Bonn Climate Change Conference.Alix Dietzel

Image shows (left to right) Drs Katharina Richter, Alix Dietzel and Alice Venn who are attending the Bonn Climate Change Conference.

Image shows (left to right) Drs Katharina Richter, Alix Dietzel and Alice Venn who are attending the Bonn Climate Change Conference.

People standing to welcome a speaker at the Bonn Climate Change Conference

Press release issued: 4 June 2024

Climate change experts from the University of Bristol are all set to champion inclusivity and ensuring a fair shift to a net zero economy at a major United Nations summit – the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany this week.

Drs Alix Dietzel, Katharina Richter, and Alice Venn will be joining the conference to participate in policy negotiations and talks, which will have a bearing on proposals and decision-making at the 2024 United National Climate Change Conference, better known as COP29, in Baku, Azerbajan this November.

The experts, who specialise in climate justice, climate policy, equitable development, climate finance, including loss and damage funding for countries most impacted by climate change, are attending for the first time, representing the University’s Cabot Institute for the Environment.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 5 June, they are presenting a side event called Building Inclusive Urban Climate Policy to promote more inclusive approaches to climate-related decision making with a particular focus on young people. They will be sharing their expertise and insights along with representatives from Youth Climate Councils Global Alliance, Green Africa Youth Organisation and C40 Cities – a global network of Mayors aimed at tackling the climate crisis.

Climate justice and policy expert Dr Alix Dietzel, who is also Associate Director of Impact and Innovation at the Cabot Institute, said: “Taking part in a side event is a great opportunity to address negotiators directly, so we’re hoping it will give us a chance to actually influence negotiations and have a real difference on making them more inclusive.”

The event will showcase research on what is happening locally in Bristol to help achieve a just transition, supported by stakeholders in the environment sector and project partners Diversity Trust.

Dr Dietzel added: “The way we think about a just transition is often framed at a United Nations level and it’s important to pay attention to how these narratives from the Global North and South trickle down locally. It will be a long journey out there because I’m taking the train, but we’re all really looking forward to the experience of this event, which is smaller than COP and offers more scope to interact with key people.”

International negotiators will be convening to prepare their positions and final statements for COP29 with key discussions focusing on climate finance, loss and damage, and updates to their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Dr Katharina Richter, a specialist in decolonial environmental politics and equitable development in times of climate crises, said: “Climate finance continues to be an important topic for the negotiations, as international financial flows to developing countries still need to better align with effective climate action.

“The NDCs indicate whether countries will be able to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and Bonn is an important step in updating those climate action plans. Also, the Loss and Damage fund was one of the big, celebrated achievements of the last two COPs.

“The purpose of the fund is to assist developing countries especially vulnerable to climate change in responding to the economic and non-economic losses and damages arising from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, climate-related displacement and migration. But it’s being operationalised too slowly, so bringing negotiators together in Bonn should lay important groundwork for setting up the fund at speed and scale until and during COP29.”

Dr Richter plans on gauging the positions and mood of negotiators, climate organisers and activists in the lead-up to COP29, particularly in relation to climate finance, loss and damage and discussions about the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance (NCQG).

She added: “These talks will centre on developing a draft negotiating text for COP29, outlining a timeline and annual goal for meaningful climate mitigation finance for developing countries, starting from a floor of $100bn. In 2009, parties to the Paris Agreement pledged to meet this goal. They have another year to meet this, so the draft negotiation text agreed in here will be an important milestone for formalising this commitment.”

In addition to presenting and observing negotiations, climate law and justice specialist Dr Alice Venn will be sharing her expertise through acting as a voluntary liaison officer. She will be doing this for Legal Response International, a charity providing free legal advice during the negotiations to developing country delegations most severely affected by climate change and offering legal capacity building support.

Dr Venn said: “Watching the negotiations will give us a unique insight into the operationalisation and implementation of the next steps agreed at COP28 in Dubai, in particular in the wake of the first Global Stocktake on international progress in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, which we are currently not on track to achieve.

“My research focuses on climate loss and damage, and on just transition to a low carbon future. These negotiations represent a pivotal moment for the development of both the loss and damage and the just transition agendas. Government delegations will be discussing the progress made so far in minimising and averting the loss and damage, which continues to occur as a result of climate change, how to scale this up and provide for new funding arrangements.

“I’m looking forward to gaining valuable insights into the way global climate commitments are actioned which will feed into current and future research projects.”


Further information

About the Cabot Institute for the Environment

The Cabot Institute for the Environment works with academics, students, and research partners, as well as local and international communities, governments and individuals, to help solve the biggest global environmental challenges. Its mission is to provide knowledge, evidence, education, and solutions that protect our environment and identify better ways to live within our changing planet.

Find out more about the Cabot Institute at the Bonn Climate Change Conference SB60.

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