Like a lego set with pieces missing, annual United Nations climate conferences and meetings too often seem like projects that will never be completed with their purposes and goals beyond our imaginations. In fact, COP23 (The 23rd Conference of the Parties) may not even be in your lexicon, never mind on your radar. If you live in the United States – United Nations negotiations on climate change seem to be sliding ever further away from the limelight, even as the need to have climate solutions front and center has never been more important.
For our Climate Mamas and Papas who ARE wondering what is happening in Bonn, Germany, where countries from around the world (including the USA) are attending the 23rd Conference of the Parties from November 6-17th, this post is a quick summary of what is on the table, as well as a reminder of where we need to go.
Each COP has a rotating presidency and COP23 is chaired by the Prime Minister of Fiji, a small island developing state on the front lines of climate change. As background and according to COP23 President’s website: “COP23 is the informal name for the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, which marked the beginning of the international community’s first concerted effort to confront the problem of climate change. Known also as the Rio Convention, the UNFCCC established a framework for action to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994, and nearly all of the world’s nations—a total of 195—have now signed on. Each year the parties to the agreement convene to assess progress in implementing the convention and, more broadly, dealing with climate change. The first Conference of the Parties was held in Berlin in 1995. In 1997, the participants established the Kyoto Protocol, which included legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”
Making a long story short, all agreements made under the Kyoto Protocol end in 2020. With the adoption of the Paris Climate Accords in 2015, a new set of agreements were put in place, taking over and superseding those made in Kyoto. Continue reading