18th November 2017
COP23 was centred around attempts to make progress on developing the Paris agreement. The deadline for this work is next year’s COP in Poland so the goal of COP23 in Bonn was to create a draft, with options and disagreements outlined to be resolved.
Compensation for developing nations
Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Housing and Environment stated that small island states and developing countries are hit far harder than industrialised nations. 25 million people worldwide are already being displaced every year due to the effects of climate change.
Rich countries have not done enough to meet their commitments to helping developing countries. In 2009 it was agreed that developed countries will mobilising $100bn a year to help the developing countries tackle climate change. This was made for the period up to 2020 and countries have not yet delivered. At first, many developed countries dismissed these demands. However, they have now accepted.
At the request of the Fijian COP23 presidency and other partners, it has been decided that they will open a regional hub in Fiji’s capital Suva. This hub will be put in place to advise the small island states on how to reach their climate targets and to support regional cooperation. Key projects will focus on exiting fossil fuels, agriculture, and economic diversification. Small island states depend on fossil fuels for 80-90% of their energy needs.
Loss and damage
A key part of helping loss and damage is being able to find sources of finance to cope with the impacts. There is no estimate on how much money is needed by countries suffering climate change now and in the future. More than 50 groups who are disappointed by the slow progress on loss and damage have backed the idea of ‘climate damages tax’, a tax on fossil fuel supplies to help fund support to those hit by climate change impacts. It was mentioned that those believed to be polluters should help pay for homes and livelihoods wrecked by rising sea levels and extreme weather.
In Bonn on Tuesday, negotiators agreed to hold an “expert dialogue” in 2018 to discuss raising funds for climate change victims, deferring the contentious discussion for another year.
Coal Phase out
Coal phase out has become a significant focal point. 19 nations have committed to quickly phasing out coal, the dirtiest fuel that kills 80,000 people a year with air pollution. A separate group of 19 nations stated that they plan to use more wood and other plant matter from sustainable sources to generate their energy in their effort to limit climate change. The phase out is needed no later than 2030 for countries in OECD and EU28, and no later than 2050 for the rest of the world.
Due to the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance argued the country had no right to be involved in negotiations on how to implement the deal. However, an alternative “We Are Still In” delegation set up a large pavilion at their US Climate Action Centre just outside the main venue for the talks.
On day 2, Syria announced that it would sign the Paris Agreement meaning the US is the country standing alone in its stance on climate change.
It’s promising to see that positive outcomes are coming from COP and that countries are working together to tackle climate change. Let’s hope that, after next years COP24 in Poland, the Paris Agreement will be completely agreed so we can start building towards a greener planet.