COP23 - A little less conversation, a little more Climate action please!

COP23 - A little less conversation, a little more Climate action please!

This week sees the beginning of another crucial  round of International climate negotiations.  This year, the COP will take place for two weeks from the 6th to the 17th of November and will be chaired for the first time by a Small Island Developing State, Fiji Islands, in Bonn, Germany. Once again, thousands of delegates, heads of governments, NGOs, business representatives and experts of all sorts will meet to try and make progress on the goal agreed upon two years ago in Paris at COP21,  to limit global warming to safe levels, well below 2 degrees Celsius. The UNEP Emission Gap Report published a few days ago shows that with the current countries’ pledges we are only on track to limit global warming by  3°C by 2100.. Needless to say that there is quite some urgent work to be done by the negotiators...

Perhaps even more than the previous years, the role of Europe will be central in this debate. With the announcement of US President Trump to leave the Paris Agreement last June, and the slew of unprecedented extreme weather events that happened this year, there has never been a more urgent need for real leadership at international level to find a solution to a important challenge that has been postponed for far too long.

This year, heads of states and governments cannot simply confirm their commitment to limit global warming to safer level like they did in Morocco at COP22 last year. They need to hurry up and make substantive progress on the so called ‘Paris rulebook’, which means working on the rules and processes in order to implement the decision made in Paris in December 2015.

Countries - and this is particularly true for the wealthier ones - must increase their efforts and raise their ambitions. The G20, and Europe in particular, must abandon their addiction to fossil fuels (oil, gas and petrol) but also move forward on the so call ‘solidarity package’, which includes making progress on health, education, gender, and human rights to name but a few. Representatives of governments have the responsibility to show the way forward, to raise their effort to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, but also to support each other financially and technically and to ensure the transparency of these negotiations so that all actors are willing to step in and contribute to make the implementation of the Paris Accord a success.

Luckily, the voices denying climate change are getting less and less audible. As the example of the US shows, a series of creative and inspired actors is emerging from all corner of this planet. In many cities, several mayors and their citizens are implementing new ways of living, new governance systems and smart solutions that are putting both nature and people at the core of all projects. In every part of the world, a growing number of people has understood the full extent of the challenge and have and rolled up their sleeves to implement concrete decisions to make our planet a better place to live.  Heads of states and governments must neither disappoint them nor stop them in their tracks. They have the responsibility to lead, to give confidence and to send the right signals so that all possible actors can step in to make things change while we still have the chance to reach our objective and limit global warming well below 2°C. 

A lot is at stake at this COP.  The Greens hope that important announcements and strong signals will come out of these discussions. All eyes are now on the global leaders for a few days. So a little less conversation, and a little more Climate action please!

 

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