The COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, began with a number of calls for countries to continue to work in line with the Paris Agreement from 2015.
The Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, now the COP President, vowed to end the suffering that has affected millions of people worldwide. Hurricanes that have hit North America, wildfires in California and flooding in South East Asia all suggest that climate change is creating more frequent and more intense extreme events.
Emotional calls for countries to begin acting and improving on the national pledges made during Paris were also made. A UN report released just days before the start of COP23 found that national pledges made would only bring around a third of the required reduction in emissions needed by 2030.
There was also an important contribution to the Adaptation Fund by the hosts of this year’s conference. Germany had already contributed 240 million euros to the fund that is a key part of financial packages in the Paris Agreement and has now added an additional 50 million euros to help some of the least developed countries in the world adapt to a changing climate.
More information can be found on the UNFCCC website
A key absentee in the early days of the COP23 conference is the USA. After Trump vowed to pull the USA from the Paris Agreement earlier this year, there are plans to only send a small delegation, due to arrive later in the week. Under Obama, the USA led the way at previous COP events. Now, there will be very little American influence in negotiations and after only a day, a number of countries appear to be trying to fill the void and take the lead of negotiations. There is still a group of American governors, mayors, business leaders that will be showing what is being done in American states, cities and many businesses taking part in the events in Bonn.
Only one day in and there are already a number of interesting dynamics that will play themselves out over the coming days. COP23 has started and it will certainly be interesting to see where things go from now.