Uniting for the climate — COP 23 Bonn kicks off

Uniting for the climate — COP 23 Bonn kicks off

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) begins on 6 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany. This post explores the context, agenda and hopes for COP 23. 


The United States’ intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is the ghost at the feast at COP23, with its formal notice of withdrawal submitted to the UN in August 2017 and resulting fears that this heralds the abdication of American leadership on global climate change efforts. For more on the Paris Agreement, see our previous post: “Between zero and sum” — The Paris Agreement opens for signature.

However, the sense of political urgency ignited during the Paris Agreement talks has not diminished.

COP23 launches amidst a raft of sobering climate change headlines. On the same day as the talks begin, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) announced that 2017 is ‘very likely’ to be one of the three hottest years on record, with many of the high-impact extreme weather events over recent months ‘bear[ing] the tell-tale sign of climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas concentrations from human activities.’ Another WMO report detailing a ‘record-breaking’ surge in atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions was published at the end of last month, the day before the UN stated in its annual Emissions Gap report for 2017 that that the gap between the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the reductions needed to meet the Paris Agreement pledges were ‘alarmingly

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