In what is a slow start to this climate conference, the second day of COP23 involved the resumption of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), followed by meetings between nations on advancing talks on reducing emissions within nations. World leaders are yet to visit Bonn for COP23 but will be arriving soon for the second week of the conference.
Coinciding with the work being done at COP23, HSBC has announced that it will be using $100 billion to sustainably finance and invest in green projects and transition itself into a low carbon economy. It pledges to phase out the financing of coal power plants and accelerate its support for clean energy sources and technologies. It will also aim to run entirely on electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. It’s an important pledge from a bank that deals internationally and will hopefully lead the way for more to follow.
Finally, before the start of COP23, there were only two countries that hadn’t signed up to the Paris Agreement or were withdrawing from it: Syria and the USA. On day two of the COP23 climate conference, that was down to just one. The USA, the wealthiest nation in the world and one of the biggest carbon emitters will be the only country that is part of the UN that will not be part of the Paris Agreement. Yes, a country that has spent most of this decade being torn apart by war has signed up to reduce its carbon emissions and have a role in protecting the environment, but a country like the USA cannot.
It’s almost mind-boggling to think that a country that has caused so much environmental damage, and will continue to do so with limited restrictions, can reject science and be so naive as to what effect humans are having on the planet. There is no doubt that humans are affecting the climate, even American right-wing conservatives can admit that, but the lack of action shows ignorance to what is being proven almost daily in scientific research. Fortunately, there is a group visiting Bonn for COP23 that will represent those that recognise the science and the impacts that humans have on the environment and it will be interesting to see the kind of role they will play at this climate conference.