06/02/2010 03:42 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We Need a Cake

Under a gray sky in Bonn, Germany, 4,5000 participants from 183 countries gathered for the longest UNFCCC meeting since the failed climate talks in Copenhagen and before Cancún.

At a press conference, outgoing UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer confirmed that he had indeed responded to the failed Copenhagen climate talks with an internal memo, stating that "We needed a cake but ended up with a muffin." To avoid such a repeat, this meeting is intended to produce a draft text for Cancún.

Before the meetings of the official working groups began, frustration was already voiced over financing.

At Copenhagen, industrialized nations pledged $30 billion in aid to developing nations in fast track or short-term funding, that is, from 2010 to 2012, in order to help them adapt to the consequences of climate change, such as rising sea levels, drought and desertification. (They also pledged $100 billion / year up to 2020 in long-term funding.)

Six months have passed since the pledges were made and the money has yet to turn up. At the April UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, EU representatives stated that they would have commitments by EU member states by the June meeting.

In a press conference outgoing UNFCCC secretary Yvo de Boer underscored that a priority for the meeting in Bonn was to get "promised money moving to fast-track action."

Various organizations expressed concerns 1. that the money, like humanitarian aid, is pledged but never arrives; 2. that the money that arrives is not new money but already pledged money allocated for other purposes; 3. that it arrives in the form of loans and not grants.

Responding to queries about the form funding will take, EU President Alicia Montalvo stated that "many countries still have to decide on the concrete allocations of money." She added that she believed "more than 70% will be in grants" but added "I have to confirm."

Today, the ad hoc working group on long-term co-operative action (AWG-LCA) began discussing a new negotiating text drafted by chairwoman, Zimbabwean diplomat Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe.

A second ad hoc working group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), dealing with further commitments by countries covered by the Kyoto Protocol, also began discussions today. Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer urged it to "develop greater clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, as this issue cannot be left unattended until Cancún."

It remains to be seen whether consensus can be achieved around the draft negotiating text over the next two weeks.