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COP23 – UN Climate Change Conference 2017


6th November 2017


In 2015, at the COP21 conference, the Paris Agreement was formed. With 195 signed parties, the agreement was put in place to address the growing concern around climate change, with each member planning and monitoring their own measures to reduce the rise in global temperature.

Since then, COP22 – held in Marrakech, Morocco – came and went with little to no progress being made. Overshadowed by the impending withdrawal of a Donald Trump-led USA, it was then agreed that the details of the agreement would be completed by 2018, with a progress check in 2017. Between 6th – 17th November 2017, the “progress check”, otherwise known as COP23 will be held in Bonn, Germany.

Leading up to the conference, the focus has been on multiple cases of extreme weather around, causing devastation to millions, including in Fiji who will run the conference (although the event takes place in Bonn for logistical reasons).

As set in the Paris agreement, the overall aim is to meet the goal of keeping rises in global temperature to below 2°C. In order to facilitate productive talks, Fiji has renamed the process to “talanoa dialogue”, which comes from a Pacific mantra of using storytelling and talking as a way to make good decisions.


Talking points

There are a couple of topics to look out for at COP23 which we have summarised below:


1. Compensation for developing nations

A divisive subject, but there will be discussions over the idea of loss and damage to developing nations being compensated by Western countries. Many have claimed that the West has developed over the years irresponsibly, and the effects are one of the causes for natural disasters that often impact developing nations with little means to defend against them. However, this concept has been continuously rebuffed and remains a sticking point in negotiations.


2. Insurance

As a counter offer so to speak, the Western nations have offered cheap insurance for poorer nations to protect themselves during extreme weather.


3. The U.S

As we all know, The U.S have controversially pulled out of the agreement and this has caused concern amongst other members. The U.S are one of the biggest polluters and the richest nation that contributes to the funding of action against climate change. Without their involvement, many have been concerned about how this may impact progress. However, others see the positives, in that by their withdrawal, they can serve to motivate the remaining 195 parties to work harder to reach their target. Although they have activated their withdrawal clause, The U.S must wait until 2020 until they officially play no part. Until then, they will be able to take part in conferences and talks, and President Trump has planned to promote fossil fuel and nuclear power in Bonn.


4. Carbon footprint at COP23

With 12,000 people from all over the world expected to turn out for the event, a lot of whom are flying, there was a concern that the conference would leave a large carbon footprint. However, there have been plans to offset these emissions put in place – for example the electric buses will pick up and take delegates to the conference. UN certified schemes for small island states will also help offset unavoidable emissions.


We will provide updates from COP23, where the hope is that world leaders can bring the agreement together so that the planet’s future can be brighter, greener and more sustainable.