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COP23: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Bonn

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Three perspectives on the outcomes of the UNFCCC’s COP23 in Bonn, Germany:

…COP23, the second “conference of the parties” since the Paris Agreement was struck in 2015, promised to be a somewhat technical affair as countries continued to negotiate the finer details of how the agreement will work from 2020 onwards.

However, it was also the first set of negotiations since the US, under the presidency of Donald Trump, announced its intention earlier this year to withdraw from the Paris deal. And it was the first COP to be hosted by a small-island developing state with Fiji taking up the presidency, even though it was being held in Bonn…

Carbon Brief covers all the summit’s key outcomes and talking points.

  • Paris ‘rulebook’
  • Fights over finance
  • Loss and damage
  • Agriculture
    • One notable, yet low-profile outcome from the conference this year was the end of a deadlock on agriculture which had lasted for years. Parties agreed to work over the next few years on a series of issues linking climate change and agriculture. They agreed to streamline two separate technical discussions on this topic into one process. Countries have now been asked to submit their views on what should be included in the work by 31 March 2018, with options including how to improve soil carbon and fertility, how to assess adaptation and resilience and the creation of better livestock management systems.
  • The ‘gateway’
  • Road ahead in 2018

Closing the climate talks, two ‘rays of light’: What happens when a major world emitter steps away from the table?

The 23rd annual “Conference of Parties” (or COP23, in UN-speak) closed Friday with two key messages:

  1. The 195 countries signing the Paris Agreement (yes, that includes the United States, albeit quietly) remain committed to a collective framework on international climate action, and
  2. The international community still has yet to send a strong signal that it is committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels.
True, an alliance of 19 countries, headed by the UK and Canada, committed on Thursday to phase out coal production. (The Guardian, calling the move “a political watershed” in its headline, noted that electricity produced by coal in the UK has fallen from 40 percent to 2 percent since 2012).

But little progress was made defining specific emissions-cutting guidelines. Activists call for a “robust set of rules,” but that rulebook remains woefully thin. (A U.S. talk about the necessity of fossil fuels sparked one of the conference’s biggest protests. Our quick read: “Song, dance and protests at US energy talk.” Ecowatch has a first-person account.)

The Center for International Environmental Law saw “two rays of light:” Governments agreed to integrate gender equality into climate action, and they committed to giving indigenous peoples equal footing in UN climate responses.

It is further sign that the climate talks are also becoming the way the global community addresses environmental and social justice.

“The decisions related to gender and indigenous peoples are welcome developments,” said Sébastien Duyck, a senior attorney for CIEL. The climate talks, he said, are “where theory becomes practice, with real consequences for communities around the globe.

Plenty of end-of-session wrap-ups on the web, from the Associated Press, France24, Climate Home News, The New York Times and The Guardian (in pictures).

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