COP 23Ethical News News & Features
One year after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Bonn Conference kicks off today (06 November) in Germany. It will be an opportunity for nations around the world to show their ambition for climate action and their determination to keep their promises.
The opening of the Bonn Conference comes a week after the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that in 2016, the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) surged to new highs at ‘record-breaking speed’.
‘While Paris represented one of those moments where the best of humanity achieved an agreement so important to our collective futures, Bonn represents how we will move forward to fulfil its promise. We are running out of time to turn things around. To do so, we must significantly increase our efforts to reduce emissions and our carbon footprints.’
Executive secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The Paris Agreement, which was adopted in the French capital by the 196 parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015, calls on countries to combat climate change by limiting the rise of global temperature below 2°C and strive not to exceed 1.5°C.
A year ago, the Marrakech Climate Conference concluded with the Marrakech Action Proclamation, in which the UNFCCC parties affirmed their commitment to the ‘full implementation’ of the Paris Agreement. 169 parties have now ratified the agreement.
At the Bonn Conference, informally known as COP 23, countries will seek to move forward in completing the rule book for realising the pledges made in the Paris Agreement. The conference, which runs until 17 November, is chaired by Fiji, an island state particularly affected by the impacts of climate change.
‘We can no longer ignore this crisis. Whether it is fires in California, Portugal and Spain. Flooding in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh. The dramatic Arctic melt. Ice breaking off the continent of Antarctica. The recent hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean and the southern United States[…] It’s hard to find any part of the world that is unaffected by these events.’
COP 23 President and Fiji’s prime minister
Ramping up ambition
The Bonn Conference will feature a series of meetings and events, including the high-level segment, on 15 November and 16 November, attended by heads of state and government, ministers and UN secretary-general António Guterres.
Mr Guterres has invited leaders to consider championing six high-impact areas at a special Climate Summit in 2019. These areas are investment in clean technology, maturing carbon pricing, enabling the energy transition, risk mitigation and building resilience, augmenting the contribution of sub-national actors and business and mobilising climate finance.
‘Increasing ambition is the only way to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius this century, and as close to 1.5 degree as possible. By focusing on these sectors, we can substantially reduce the gap between where we are and where we need to be.’
UN deputy secretary-general
Several side events scheduled for COP 23 will be organised under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. They will show how cities, regions, private sector companies and investors are trying to implement the Paris Agreement in the areas of energy, water, agriculture, oceans and coastal areas, human settlements, transportation, industry and forests.