As the world increasingly looks to be on track for a catastrophic 3°C of global warming, world leaders and diplomats gathered in Bonn, Germany to turn the Paris agreement into a set of rules.
In that sense the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23), which concluded on Saturday, accomplished its goal of keeping the process alive by setting up the rules that will be finalized next year in Poland. But the conference also kicked a number of issues down the road. The round of climate talks heard repeated calls for a more ambitious approach to slashing carbon emissions but did not initiate any conclusive solutions, though it should be noted that no major decisions were expected.
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Pope Francis issued a strong message to negotiators at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, warning them not to fall into "four perverse attitudes" regarding the future of the planet—"denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions."
Francis, who has long pressed for strong climate action and wrote his 2015 encyclical on the environment, renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet."
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Even though the Trump administration used its only public forum at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn to promote coal, it's clear that many individual U.S. businesses, cities and entire states would rather keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Oregon and Washington state have joined a new global alliance to phase out coal and switch to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change and to stay below the 2°C target set by the landmark Paris climate agreement two years ago.
By Michaela Mujica-Steiner
President Donald Trump's fossil fuel agenda was met with disdain Monday evening at COP23. The only official White House event was titled, "The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation." Everyday people from across the world attended it, but they were not there in support of the event, but rather in protest.
As a young person from the United States and a youth delegate with SustainUS, I felt a personal responsibility to hold the United States government accountable for continuing to block progress on the Paris agreement via their ties to a small handful of fossil fuel billionaires. I could feel my palms sweating as I waited in the security line to the get into the event.
By Mike Gaworecki
Last Thursday, at the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany (known as COP23), the World Resources Institute (WRI) announced that $2.1 billion in private investment funds have been committed to efforts to restore degraded lands in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The investments will be made through WRI's Initiative 20×20, which has already put 10 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of land under restoration thanks to 19 private investors who are supporting more than 40 restoration projects.
Despite comprising 370 million of the world's population and having communal ownership of more than 20 percent of the world's tropical forest carbon, indigenous groups were sidelined at past international climate talks. Often forced to defend their land against the encroachment of agribusiness, loggers and oil corporations, indigenous peoples have long sought international recognition of their rights, autonomy and participation in negotiations.
By Ercilia Sahores
On Nov. 6, the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) kicked off in Bonn, Germany, the nation's former capital. Germany is one of the world's worst offenders when it comes to pollution. It's also the largest polluter in all of Europe. But Germany is not alone in the polluting business—and countries are not the only big polluters.
The world's top 20 meat and dairy companies emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than all of Germany, according to a report published by GRAIN, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Heinrich Böll Foundation.
"The U.N. cannot continue to pander to the madness that comes out of the Trump administration," Naidoo said, after the U.S. hosted a panel at the conference with a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power.
Watch the interview below:
Here's a transcript of the interview:
Amy Goodman: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We're broadcasting live from the U.N. climate summit here in Bonn, Germany. We just played for you the protest that took place, the revolt that took place yesterday at the U.S.'s only session that they held here, this first COP after President Trump announced plans to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. But it's a four-year process. And if that goes through, it ends the day after the next Election Day. The official debut of the U.S. administration was at a forum pushing coal, gas and nuclear power, the presentation including speakers from Peabody Energy, NuScale nuclear and a gas exporter.
We are continuing our conversation now with Kumi Naidoo, South African activist, former head of Greenpeace, now chairperson of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.
Now, we have pleaded with David Banks, the U.S. president's representative, President Trump's representative here, who said he was completely accessible, stayed right next to our booth throughout the time all of our producers went out to talk to him, but said he would not come on the broadcast, at least today. We'll attempt to try. But, Kumi Naidoo, as you went off the set for a few minutes, you got a chance to speak with David Banks.
Kumi Naidoo: Yes. I spent about 15 minutes with him. He seems to be a decent human being. He basically is not denying any of the things that we are saying, but his argument is, "Oh, technology and innovation will sort everything out." And I—
Amy Goodman: But not solar and wind.
Kumi Naidoo: Yeah, yeah. No, it's really focused on a hold—and I put it to him that "Do you realize that you are actually giving up economic opportunities, because of successful economies?" Body language suggests that they are aware of that. And the fact, the isolation—and they say they—President Trump has not ruled out the possibility of coming back. But right now, let me tell you—and, Amy, you and I have been at COPs for so long. Right now, almost now, people want to say, "Actually, if the U.S. is going to behave like this, better they stay out. Let the rest of the world go ahead. And we'll work with the governors of those states that want to be involved, the majority of municipalities in the United States that want to be involved, the civil society." And—
Amy Goodman: This is the We are Still In coalition.
Kumi Naidoo: Yeah, yeah.
Amy Goodman: Yesterday, Governors Inslee and Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and Washington state, almost took over the U.S. government's press event—
Kumi Naidoo: Yes, yes.
Amy Goodman: —by just coming in and stating, basically, "This is a sham."
Kumi Naidoo: And I want to say something to the UNFCC. The people that did that peaceful protest, they've been debadged and thrown out. Right?
Amy Goodman: They have been, yesterday?
Kumi Naidoo: That's what I understand. I stand to be corrected, if that—anyway, I did a protest; that's what happened to me, as well, some years ago. But what they did with that panel, this only first panel, is an impeachable offense, really. I mean, it may—they come and present something—
Amy Goodman: You mean the U.S. government.
Kumi Naidoo: The U.S. government.
Amy Goodman: The Trump administration.
Kumi Naidoo: To do a panel that actually goes against 99.99 percent of those scientific consensus in the world—right?—and to give them a platform to do that, I say to the UNFCCC that, in fact, it is inappropriate, and the U.N. cannot continue to pander to the madness that comes out of the Trump administration. We have to say to them, "If you want to be out, you stay out. Don't come and poison this negotiations the way that you're doing." Those that are aligned to the vision of the Paris accord, limit—you know, imperfect as it is, let us move ahead. Because what they do here is they come, they suck up a lot of oxygen, they hold back negotiations. And let's be blunt about it. It's not as if the Obama administration was perfect here. They also held us back. It's just that, you know—or, certainly, the Trump administration—
Amy Goodman: We have 10 seconds for your final message.
Kumi Naidoo: —also did it. So, time is running out. We need American people. And we are happy that at least the American people are with us, if not the American president.
Amy Goodman: We thank you so much, Kumi Naidoo, South African activist, former head of Greenpeace, now chairperson of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.
And that does it for our broadcast here in Bonn, Germany.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Democracy Now!.
The prime minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, is the official host of this year's UN Climate Summit, COP 23. But we're meeting in a cold, rainy small city in Germany, Bonn, not the sunny tropics of Fiji. Logistics dictates that. Fiji could not host, nor many countries afford, to fly there for the conference.
But it's also symbolic—small island nations like Fiji are at greatest risk for actual physical extinction from climate change and associated sea level rise, and Fiji has already had to move 40 communities away from the heat driven tides. Soon some of them will be forced to relocate—climate refugees may well be one of the most dramatic early warning signs if we fail to curb the rising thermometer—and the swollen oceans that thermometer inexorably entrains.
Protestors Halt Trump’s 'Clean Fossil Fuels' Panel at COP23, Dismissed as 'Promoting Tobacco at a Cancer Summit'
By Andy Rowell
Donald Trump's attempts to promote so called "false solutions" at the UN climate conference in Bonn backfired badly Monday.
The U.S. delegation had organized the event, "The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation," to promote what many see as "false solutions" to climate change, such as nuclear, the misnomer of "clean coal" and carbon capture and storage or CCS.
Pathway to Paris gave voice to the urgent issue of climate change on Sunday night at Carnegie Hall, celebrating the launch of its 1000 Cities initiative and the organization's three years of environmental advocacy. Founded by Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, Pathway to Paris orchestrated the event in partnership with the UN Development Programme and 350.org—bringing together a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians and innovators to shine a light on 1000 Cities' imperative mission, supported by a Care2 petition which invites the world's cities to transition off of fossil fuels in a call to action.
The evening opened with powerful speeches and performances by Pathway to Paris founders and curators of the evening, Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, encapsulating the essence of Pathway to Paris. "Climate change is our unifying global concern," said Jesse Paris Smith. "It breaks down and defines the geographical borders and walls we have created, it unifies us all and urges us to realize our collective voice."
By Robert McSweeney and Rosamund Pearce
For the next two weeks, thousands of negotiators, policymakers, researchers, journalists and campaigners are gathering in Bonn for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23).
The talks—hosted by Fiji, but held in Germany—are the next installment of UNFCCC international climate negotiations, following on from the landmark Paris agreement at COP21 in 2015 and the steps taken towards implementation at COP22 in Marrakech last year.