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|Date||6 November 2017–
17 November 2017
|Also known as||COP23/CMP13/CMA2|
|Organized by||Republic of Fiji (organised in Germany for practical reasons)|
|Participants||Parties to the UNFCCC|
The 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference was an international meeting of political leaders and activists to discuss environmental issues. It was held at UN Campus in Bonn (Germany) from 6–17 November 2017. The conference incorporated the twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23), the thirteenth meeting of the parties for the Kyoto Protocol (CMP13), and the second meeting of the parties for the Paris Agreement (CMA2).
The purpose of the conference was to discuss and implement plans about combating climate change, especially the Paris Agreement..The 23rd session of the conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) concluded with what was called the ‘Fiji Momentum for Implementation’.
The 25’000 convention’s attendees can be sorted into one of three categories: parties, observers, or members of the press (media).
David Banks (climate adviser) attended representing the Trump Administration.
The Climate Action Business Association (CABA) delegation to COP23 in Bonn, Germany was spearheaded by Executive Director, Michael Green and included policymakers from the Massachusetts State House: Representative Jim Cantwell, Representative Josh Cutler, Representative Jen Benson, and Senator Michael Barrett, and Mr. Green at the climate talks. The delegation was supported by staff from Northeastern University.
On Wednesday 15 November 2017, world leaders such as António Guterres (Secretary-General of the United Nations), Emmanuel Macron (President of France) and Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany) delivered speeches at the conference.
- Emmanuel Macron said: “The fight against climate change is by far the most significant struggle of our times” and “Climate change adds further injustice to an already unfair world”.
- Angela Merkel notably said: “Climate change is an issue determining our destiny as mankind – it will determine the well-being of all of us”. The reliable exit from burning coal to produce electricity is a key issue for environmental organisations, investments of companies and at the negotiations forming a Jamaica coalition with Greens and Free Democrats after the German federal election in September. 
- Baron Waqa, President of Nauru added that: “It is now time for the developed countries to live up to their responsibilities”.
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|Date||7 November 2016–
18 November 2016
|Location||Bab Ighli, Marrakech, Morocco|
|Also known as||COP 22/CMP 12/CMA 1|
|Organized by||Salaheddine Mezouar|
|Participants||Parties to the UNFCCC|
The 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference was an international meeting of political leaders and activists to discuss environmental issues. It was held in Marrakech, Morocco on 7-18 November 2016. The conference incorporated the twenty-second Conference of the Parties (COP22), the twelfth meeting of the parties for the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12), and the first meeting of the parties for the Paris Agreement (CMA1). The purpose of the conference was to discuss and implement plans about combatting climate change and to “[demonstrate] to the world that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway”. Participants work together to come up with global solutions to climate change.
On 2 May 2016, events firm GL Events signed the service contract. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also lent its support to the preparation for COP 22″.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The participants in the conference are members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The aim of this convention is to prevent “dangerous human interference with the climate system”. It is closely related to both the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification; all three are considered ‘Rio Conventions’ adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. There are seven steps that the UNFCCC lists as a “summary of the convention”.
- The problem of climate change is recognized as a threat to human safety.
- Greenhouse gas emissions, especially in industrialized countries, must be reduced and countries are pressured to reduce emissions.
- Advanced countries must take action to reduce emissions and lead the way for developing nations.
- Advanced countries will help developing nations by providing financial and technological support.
- Both advanced and developing countries submit reports on climate change policies and greenhouse gas emissions.
- In developing countries, clean growth is emphasized as to limit the augmentation of greenhouse gas emissions while the nation industrializes.
- In order to increase quality of life in the presence of climate change, the convention will address and adapt to adverse effects of climate change when necessary.
The Kyoto Protocol
The Marrakech Conference is a continuation of regular global summits organised by United Nations following the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was written in 1997 at COP3, but was not officially adopted until February 16 of 2005. It was in effect from 2008 to 2012. It implemented strict regulations to ensure global emission reduction. There are three main mechanisms that a country can utilize to help reduce emissions: international emissions trading, clean development mechanisms, and joint implementation.
The Protocol is also meant to assist countries in adapting to the conditions of climate change. Additionally, the UN Climate Change Secretariat receives reports from Parties, verifies transactions, and holds Parties accountable. The UNFCC considers the Kyoto Protocol a “first step” to climate change resistance.
The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement aims to prevent the rise of global temperatures. This is regulated by reports sent in by the Parties, meant to increase transparency of actions taken by both developing nations and advanced ones. It also has measures to increase countries’ ability to adapt to conditions of climate change. The means of change that a country can take are called “nationally determined contributions”. NDC‘s are essentially the efforts that each country will take to reduce their emissions. The period of effect for this agreement began on November 4 of 2016. So far, it has been ratified by 132 out of 197 Parties at the convention.
2009: Copenhagen (COP15)
The Copenhagen Conference was intended to follow on from Kyoto, and culminated in the Copenhagen Accord, a 3-page text laying out common international intentions regarding climate change (reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, limiting global warming to 2 °C and providing 30 billion dollars for 2010-2012). Despite these goals, the conference was generally considered a failure.
2011: Durban (COP17)
The aim of the Durban Conference was to start negotiations from scratch in order to prepare the path for future negotiations. The Ah Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action was created to “close the ambition gap” that existed between greenhouse-gas emission commitments made by nations and the aim to keep climate change below an increase of 2 °C.
2014: Lima (COP20)
The priority of the Lima Conference was to redouble efforts to keep to the aim of keeping climate change under an increase of 2 °C between the present day and 2100. The conference opened with a preparatory document on a future COP21 agreement in Paris and by adopting a 37-page text.
2015: Paris (COP21)
The 195 countries participating in the conference adopted the first worldwide climate agreement, a binding treaty that aims to limit climate change to a temperate increase of under 2 °C.
The convention’s attendees can be sorted into one of three categories: parties, observers, or members of the press/media.
There are three distinct groups that a nation can be placed in if they are considered a “party”. These are Annex I, Annex II, and Non-Annex I. The organization of parties decides the level of participation of each country. It determines if the country is required to give financial aid to others, how often they must send reports, and the strictness of regulations in their country. The Annex I title refers to industrialized countries involved in either the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) in 1992 or countries in economic transition (EIT). Annex II refers to countries in OECD but not EIT. These parties are required to help less advanced countries financially. They are also expected to take extra measures to transition to climate friendly technologies in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Non-Annex countries are developing and particularly vulnerable to climate change due to location, economic situations, or other issues institutionalized into the country. Another title is “least developed countries”. This indicates that the nation is limited in their ability to respond to climate change issues. This label indicates to other parties the extra level of support necessary.
Observer organizations include the United Nations Systems and its specialized agencies, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Observer organizations must apply and be accepted by the COP to send representatives to any meeting or presentation related to the UNFCCC. NGOs can be businesses, labor unions, research or academic institutes, native populations, gender-affiliated groups, youth groups, environmental activists, farmers, and agriculturists. Around 2,000 NGOs and 100 IGOs were admitted to the 2016 conference. Once an organization is admitted, they do not have to reapply for the following conference. Observers may submit responses, on behalf of their entire organization, relating to topics or mandates within the conference.
Objectives of COP22
Each COP is meant to cooperatively decide on how to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, each year a different theme is chosen and focused on. The twenty-second session dealt mainly with water management and decarbonizing energy supplies. COP22 took place on November 14 and 15 during the UNFCCC in Marrakech. The ways in which the Paris Agreement will be applied, as well as the agenda for negotiations, were on the agenda for COP22. Nik Gowing, known as a British journalist, chaired the event.
African Dimension to COP22
On the margins of COP22, a summit involving “around 30 African heads of state” took place on 16 November 2016 in Marrakesh. This summit focused primarily on climate negotiations, in the backdrop of Africa being the part of the world that is the most threatened by global warming. On a more local note, the city of Marrakesh also took the opportunity to create for itself a greener image; for example, it has provided 300 bicycles for public use as part of a municipal bicycle-sharingscheme.
On 14 November, the Swiss Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (GIB) presented the newly launched SuRe – The Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure at the Climate Summit for Local and Regional Leaders. GIB participated in a dialogue on “financing the sustainable transition of territories” to contribute to the Marrakech Roadmap for Action definition.
Water Management and Conservation Forum
Detailed issues relating to water transportation, infrastructure in the context of water storage, sustainable distribution, innovation for conservation, and accelerating efforts for new technologies. There were four moderators of the event: Raymond van Ermen, a Belgian member of the European Water Partnership; Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources of Singapore; Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta, Minister of Environment and Energy in Costa Rica and President, UNEA; Susan Mboya, the President of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation.
Decarbonization of Energy Supplies Keynote Panel
This panel addressed issues surrounding the utilization of renewable resources, how policy can be used to promote renewable markets, and how infrastructure can be improved to accommodate these changes. The moderators include Nik Gowing, British journalist; H.E. Fatima Al Foora of the United Arab Emirates; Lord Gregory Baker of the United Kingdom; Andreas Regnell of Sweden, and Jan Rabe from Siemens AG.
Accelerating Urban Mobility Forum
Mobility, especially public transportation, was the main focus of this forum. Members discussed possibilities for sustainable public transportation options that were attractive to the user. The main goal was to innovate ways public transportation could become zero emission. The moderators included Nik Gowing, United Kingdom; Andreas Klugescheid, United States; Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, Norway; Glen R. Murray, Canada; Matt Rodriquez, United States.
Financing Climate Action Closing Keynote Panel
This panel discussed promoting new green products in relation to finance, while also incorporating climate considerations throughout economic systems. The panel members include Eric Usher, Canada; Jochen Flasbarth, Germany; Christian Grossman, Germany; Frederic Samama, France; Mustapha Bakkoury, Morocco; Monica Scatasta, Luxembourg.
Low Carbon Innovation in Emerging Regions Keynote Panel
Parties discussed how low emission technology can be integrated within existing infrastructure, how policymakers can implement technology safely, and how the UNFCCC can aid local businesses in the transition to green energy. The moderators include Janos Pasztor, Hungarian; H.E. Nestor Batio Bassiere, Burkina Faso; Diego Pavia; Mafalda Duarte, United States; Elham Ibrahim, Africa.
Sustainable Business as a Driver of Change
This forum developed ideas on how to create business models that left a minimal carbon footprint on the earth. The moderators include Philippe Joubert, Nigeria; Peter Wheeler, UK; Pertti Korhonen, Finland; Paul Simpson, UK; April Crow, US.
Impacting Innovation: Accelerating Green Academic Growth
This forum discussed how new technologies and innovations must showcase environmentally friendly and sustainable attributes. Additionally, they should help create green jobs and also be able to be incorporated into already existing markets. Moderators include Sue Reid, Indonesia; Paul Isaac Musasizi, Uganda; Eric Olson, US; Yoshioka Tatsuya, Japan.
Criticisms and setbacks
The inclusion of fossil fuel lobby groups with observer status, including the World Coal Association, the Business Council of Australia, Business Europe, and the Business Roundtable, has been met with criticism. Analysts suggested the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 United States Presidential race impeded efforts at the congress due to his regressive views on climate change. His stance on climate change was not known.
Other criticisms came from environmental campaigners who argued that the Conference was “heavy on rhetoric and light on real progress.” The Conference in Paris the year prior was seen as one that provided a foundation for future progress, with the succeeding event in Marrakesh supposed to be turning those promises into action. Additional criticisms depicted the less developed countries as not receiving enough money in order to help them adapt to “changes that are already happening because of global warming.”
|Date||30 November 2015–
12 December 2015
|Location||Le Bourget in the suburbs of Paris, France|
|Also known as||COP 21/CMP 11|
|Participants||Parties to the UNFCCC|
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015. It was the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties (CMP) to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
The conference negotiated the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on the reduction of climate change, the text of which represented a consensus of the representatives of the 196 parties attending it. The agreement will enter into force when joined by at least 55 countries which together represent at least 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions. On 22 April 2016 (Earth Day), 174 countries signed the agreement in New York,  and began adopting it within their own legal systems (through ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession).
According to the organizing committee at the outset of the talks, the expected key result was an agreement to set a goal of limiting global warming to “well below 2 °C” Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The agreement calls for zero net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to be reached during the second half of the 21st century. In the adopted version of the Paris Agreement, the parties will also “pursue efforts to” limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. The 1.5 °C goal will require zero emissions sometime between 2030 and 2050, according to some scientists.
Prior to the conference, 146 national climate panels publicly presented draft national climate contributions (called “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions“, INDCs). These suggested commitments were estimated to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100. For example, the EUsuggested INDC is a commitment to a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. The agreement establishes a “global stocktake” which revisits the national goals to “update and enhance” them every five years beginning 2023. However, no detailed timetable or country-specific goals for emissions were incorporated into the Paris Agreement – as opposed to the previous Kyoto Protocol.
A number of meetings took place in preparation for COP21, including the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 19 to 23 October 2015, which produced a draft agreement.
According to the organizing committee of the summit in Paris, the objective of the 2015 conference was to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Pope Francis published an encyclical called Laudato si’ intended, in part, to influence the conference. The encyclical calls for action against climate change. The International Trade Union Confederation has called for the goal to be “zero carbon, zero poverty”, and its general secretary Sharan Burrow has repeated that there are “no jobs on a dead planet”.
Location and participation
To some extent, France served as a model country for delegates attending COP21 because it is one of the few developed countries in the world to decarbonize electricity production and fossil fuel energy while still providing a high standard of living. As of 2012, France generated over 90% of its electricity from zero carbon sources, including nuclear, hydroelectric, and wind.
The conference took place two weeks after a series of terrorist attacks in central Paris. Security was tightened accordingly, with 30,000 police officers and 285 security checkpoints deployed across the country until after the conference ended.
The European Union and 195 nations (see list in reference) were the participating parties.
The overarching goal of the Convention is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase. Since COP 17 this increase is set at 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels. However, Christiana Figueres acknowledged in the closing briefing at the 2012 Doha conference: “The current pledges under the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol are clearly not enough to guarantee that the temperature will stay below 2 °C and there is an ever increasing gap between the action of countries and what the science tells us.”
During previous climate negotiations, countries agreed to outline actions they intended to take within a global agreement, by 1 October 2015. These commitments are known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs. Together, the INDCs would reduce global warming from an estimated 4–5 °C (by 2100) to 2.7 °C, and reduce emissions per capita by 9% by 2030, while providing hope in the eyes of the conference organizers for further reductions in the future that would allow meeting a 2 °C target.
Think-tanks such as the World Pensions Council (WPC) argued that the keys to success lay in convincing officials in the U.S. and China, by far the two largest national emitters: “As long as policy makers in Washington and Beijing didn’t put all their political capital behind the adoption of ambitious carbon-emission capping targets, the laudable efforts of other G20 governments often remained in the realm of pious wishes. Things changed for the better on 12 November 2014 when President Obama and General Secretary Xi Jinping agreed to limit greenhouse gases emissions.”
President Obama insisted on America’s essential role in that regard: “We’ve led by example […] from Alaska to the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains […] we’ve seen the longest streak of private job creation in our history. We’ve driven our economic output to all time-highs while driving our carbon pollution down to its lowest level in nearly two decades. And then, with our historic joint announcement with China last year, we showed it was possible to bridge the old divide between developed and developing nations that had stymied global progress for so long […] That was the foundation for success in Paris.”
On 12 December 2015, the participating 196 countries agreed, by consensus, to the final global pact, the Paris Agreement, to reduce emissions as part of the method for reducing greenhouse gas. In the 12-page document, the members agreed to reduce their carbon output “as soon as possible” and to do their best to keep global warming “to well below 2 degrees C”.In the course of the debates, island states of the Pacific, the Seychelles, but also the Philippines, their very existence threatened by sea level rise, had strongly voted for setting a goal of 1.5 °C instead of only 2 °C. France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said this “ambitious and balanced” plan was an “historic turning point” in the goal of reducing global warming. However, some others criticized the fact that significant sections are “promises” or aims and not firm commitments by the countries.
Non-binding commitments, lack of enforcement mechanisms
The Agreement will not become binding on its member states until 55 parties who produce over 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas have ratified the Agreement. There is doubt whether some countries, especially the United States, will agree to do so, though the United States publicly committed, in a joint Presidential Statement with China, to joining the Agreement in 2016.
Each country that ratifies the agreement will be required to set a target for emission reduction or limitation, called a “nationally determined contribution,” or “NDC,” but the amount will be voluntary. There will be neither a mechanism to force a country to set a target by a specific date nor enforcement measures if a set target is not met. There will be only a “name and shame” system or, as János Pásztor, the U.N. assistant secretary-general on climate change, told CBS News, a “name and encourage” plan.
Some analysts have also observed that the stated objectives of the Paris Agreement are implicitly “predicated upon an assumption – that member states of the United Nations, including high polluters such as China, US, India, Canada, Russia, Indonesia and Australia, which generate more than half the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, will somehow drive down their carbon pollution voluntarily and assiduously without any binding enforcement mechanism to measure and control CO2emissions at any level from factory to state, and without any specific penalty gradation or fiscal pressure (for example a carbon tax) to discourage bad behaviour.”
Institutional investors’ contribution to limiting fossil fuels
Speaking at the 5th annual World Pensions Forum held on the sidelines of the COP21 Summit, Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs argued that institutional investors would eventually divest from carbon-reliant firms if they could not react to political and regulatory efforts to halt climate change: “Every energy company in a pension fund‘s portfolio needs to be scrutinized from purely a financial view about its future, ‘Why is this [a company] we would want to hold over a five- to 20-year period?’… If we continue to hold major energy companies that don’t have an answer to a basic financial test, we are just gambling. We have to take a fiduciary responsibility – these are not good bets.”
Some US policy makers concurred, notably Al Gore, insisting that “no agreement is perfect, and this one must be strengthened over time, but groups across every sector of society will now begin to reduce dangerous carbon pollution through the framework of this agreement.”
Declarations of non-state parties
As is usual before such major conferences, major NGOs and groups of governments have drafted and published a wide variety of declarations they intend to seek a consensus on, at the Paris conference itself. These include at least the following major efforts:
- ICLEI at its World Congress, launched the new Transformative Actions Program (TAP) intended to progress local and subnational action ahead of COP21 to build on its 2005 COP11 (Montreal summit) commitments, Triple Bottom Lineframework arising from that, and other local efforts.
- European capital and large cities for climate action en route to COP 21 Declaration, adopted 26 March 2015 by “representatives of EU capitals and large cities of 28 EU Member States at the Mayors Meeting organized by Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, and Ignazio Marino, Mayor of Rome, who argue that “urban areas exposed to climate change are also essential innovation testing zones”, which is the focus of the ICLEI mechanisms, metrics and 2005 declaration.
- Private, corporate and private-public partnerships
- At the World Summit of Regions for Climate (WSRC) in Paris 2014, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Founder of R20, invited a coalition of governments, businesses and investors to sign a draft “Paris Declaration” at World Climate Summit in Lima 2014, World Green Economy Summit 2015 in Dubai and COP21.
- The Shift project by French business organizations.
- Indigenous peoples efforts include:
- Asian indigenous peoples declaration
- IPACC acting for African indigenous peoples in particular but also worldwide
- A vast range of groups and peoples “seeking presence in post-2015” development, e.g. the Centre for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous People in Nicaragua
- Many indigenous polities and sovereignties seeking recognition under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples who demanded recognition and change also in 2014 at the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima. In 2015 this will include those with specific grievances, e.g. the Wabanaki Confederacy in its opposition to hydraulic fracturing and Energy East, has announced it will send a diplomatic representative regarding events in 2013 in New Brunswick that highlighted the relative imbalance of power to resist fossil fuel corporations even on unceded lands:
- Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network seeking “powerful submissions by worldwide women” sharing “stories, struggles, solutions and action plans … [a] women’s climate justice mobilization”
- Countries of the Mediterranean Sea. Dam Bridge, Strait of Gibraltar, S.A. (PPEGSA). The first draft PresaPuenteadapting to climate change is designed to protect the Mediterranean from the imminent rising waters caused by the polar thaw. More than 24 countries, over 500 million people, more than 15,000 islands and thousands of kilometres of coast which can be saved from flooding.
- Solar alliance: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the 2015 G-20 Summit that he, along with French President François Hollande, intends to propose creating an alliance of solar-rich countries similar to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Ahead of the climate summit, the two leaders sent written invitations to over 100 countries to join the coalition proposed to be called the International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (InSPA).
- A vast range of other activities in preparation to influence the major decisions at the conference.
The conference was budgeted to cost €170m (US$186.87m at the time). The French government said that 20% of the cost would be borne by French firms such as EDF, Engie (formerly known as GDF Suez), Air France, Renault-Nissan and BNP Paribas.
Around the world, 600,000 took part in demonstrations in favour of a strong agreement, such as the Global Climate March organized by 350.org (and other events such as Alternatiba, Village of Alternatives). Paris had a ban on public gatherings in the wake of recent terrorist attacks (state of emergency), but allowed thousands to demonstrate on 12 December against what they felt was a too-weak treaty. There was also an illegal demonstration in Paris, including violent clashes between police and anarchists, ten policemen injured and 317 people arrested.