What is COP23? 10 things to know about climate change summit in Bonn

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November 06, 2017 1:28 PM

COP23 is a global summit for nations to come together in the fight against climate change. Here's what you need to know.

Cop23 summit in bonn germany paris climate change agreementThe top 10 points: To understand the COP23 summit in Bonn. (Image: Reuters)

A global climate change summit will kick off in Bonn today. Countries will be trying to strengthen a 2015 pact to fight global warming at this annual talk in Germany. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is hosting the 23rd annual conference from November 6 to November 17. The conference named as COP23 is being held to further the provisions of the Paris Agreement, and achieve results in the execution guidelines. For the uninitiated, the Paris Agreement is for all the member countries to come together and combat climate change as well as adapt to its impact. Meanwhile, the US had said that it wants to pull out of the Paris accord, but will still be represented at the talks. Here is a quick look at the top 10 points, in order to understand the COP23 summit in Bonn.

What’s in the Paris Agreement?

1. The Paris Agreement is meant to make sure that the average surface temperature all over the world does not rise above two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial times. To achieve this goal, countries have promised under the Paris Agreement to take a variety of self-determined actions to restrain the current rate of global warming.

2. While the aim of the event is much larger, nations attending the COP23 are scheduled to finalise the rulebook of the Paris Agreement. This process was started in Marrakesh 2016 meet. These rules will dictate how the Agreement would be monitored and executed. It will change the famous 1997 Kyoto Protocol by 2020.

3. The rulebook will include new international standards for measuring carbon emissions. These standards will ensure comparison of efforts made by various countries. However, a few negotiators, like the US, deny the impacts of climate change and argue that the efforts cost a huge amount of resources.

What’s with the US?

4. The impact of the US walking away from the global battle against global warming is expected to be a highlight of discussions at the COP23. In August this year, the US State Department informed the UN that it will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. It, however, said that there is a possibility of re-engaging if the terms get better for the US. Meanwhile, a small team is said to be attending the summit.

5. The biggest setback due to the US decision to leave the Paris Agreement has been to efforts to gather funds necessary for climate actions. Actions like these cause billions of dollars, and the US’ ability to raise financial resources and financial flows has been unparalleled.

Why is the summit held in Bonn?

6. The upcoming conference is the first to be hosted by a country whose very existence is threatened by climate change — Fiji. However, the country, which comprises over 300 small islands in the south Pacific Ocean, does not have the resources to host such a major conference at home, and has, therefore, decided to host it at the permanent UN climate secretariat in Bonn.

Why are people protesting in Bonn?

7. Thousands of people have been demonstrating against coal in Bonn since Saturday with banners saying “Protect the climate: stop coal”. Organisers estimated that 25,000 took part, while police put the number at 10,000, Reuters reported.

Why coal?

8. Worldwide, coal still plays a big role in the economy, especially in emerging economies such as China and India. The International Energy Agency says coal supplies a third of all energy used worldwide.

9. In Germany, the issue of whether to end coal production has been one of the major points of debate in coalition talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her would-be allies in government.

Carbon footprint in Bonn

10. There will be 10,000 government delegates, another 8,000 people from other groups and 2,000 members of the media travelling to Bonn from all over the globe. Questions have been raised on the carbon footprint this event will generate.

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