COP23 Daily Brief

Refreshed each day, at ParisProgress.org/cop23


Day 13 — Saturday, November 18

After hours of slow-moving debate about implementation of Article 9.5, relating to the communication of finance commitments, and about whether the Talanoa Dialogue would be considered a legal decision or rather a suggested blueprint from the presidencies, the closing plenary session of the COP23 resumed. It was well after midnight, more than 6 hours after the scheduled end of the COP23.

  • A new draft COP23 outcome document went up on the UNFCCC website shortly after 12:30 am.
  • Much of what had held up discussions through late Friday remained, mostly intact. Some phrasing was carefully changed to give the text the same actionable meaning, but potentially to soften some of the specific procedural requirements for some countries.
  • The Closing Plenary Session of the COP23 re-opened around 2:00 am, and the APA was able to quickly complete its business and gavel out.
  • The next session, however, was frozen when a large huddle formed on the floor. Senior diplomats were photographing the huddle from above to get both a record of the historic debate and possibly to get a look at the specific pages being examined.
  • There were legal experts in the group, as well as a diverse mix of countries from multiple negotiating groups, and representatives of the Secretariat.
  • At 5:00 am, the President of the COP23 opened the floor for interventions from the Parties, with each negotiating group delivering a message on behalf of the whole.

After saying once more, with regard to the formal consensus agreement of the COP, “Hearing no objections, it is so decided,” Prime Minister Bainimarama of Fiji gaveled the 23rd Conference of the Parties to a close, at 6:56 am. The consensus agreement is called Fiji Momentum for Implementation.

  • It includes the historic outline of a global Talanoa Dialogue open to and connecting all levels of society, to inform the work of the Parties to enhance the ambition of their climate action strategies at next year’s COP24.
  • It also commits all of the Parties to a more robust pre-2020 process for enhancing ambition, strengthening monitoring, reporting, financing and technology platforms, and for dealing inclusively with adaptation needs and with the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage.
  • The Fiji Momentum for Implementation also advances the Paris Agreement Work Programme, outlining institutional and procedural “homes” for key areas of the transparency, finance, and action agendas.

After two weeks of formal and informal discussions relating to the need for escalating ongoing support for participation of stakeholders, innovators, and implementers outside of government, discussions about a year of consultation leading up to COP24 began to focus on the universal right to access best-practice opportunity.

  • All people, communities, constituencies, and countries, should be able to access climate-smart technologies and best-practice tools, affordably, to ensure no one is left out of the mitigation-adaptation-resilience economy.
  • Delay in the delivery of best-practice policy design, accounting models, technologies (for MRV, power generation and other priorities) adds cost to the parallel and intersecting processes of mitigating, adapting, and building shared, inclusive resilience.
  • Early adoption of best-practices and careful planning for the eventual adoption of still over-the-horizon technologies adds value in all three major areas of national capital — monetary, natural, and human.
  • Critical note: due to the borderless nature of the climate system, any nation’s exclusion from best-practice opportunity undermines resilience everywhere.

Get more highlights at the Earth Negotiations Bulletin from IISD: http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop23/enb/


Day 12 — Friday, November 17

Talanoa Dialogue: What may be the biggest news of the COP23 emerged today, as the COP reached preliminary consensus on the adoption of the Approach to the Talanoa Dialogue, put forward last night. Important news:

  • Enhancing ambition and pre-2020 action will be focus.
  • Preparatory phase will be year-round and open to all stakeholders.
  • Dialogues, convenings, workshops, and reports, from around the world, in a wide range of fields, can serve as part of the operational landscape of the Talanoa Dialogue Preparatory Phase.
  • Cities, states, regions, and other non-Party stakeholders, will be treated as relevant voices in the process.
  • The COP23 and COP24 Presidencies will develop a Synthesis Report to feed high-value insights into the Political Phase of the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24.

Climate Chance hosted a panel in the Cities and Regions pavilion in the Bonn Zone, a stocktake of the COP23 from non-Party stakeholders, touching on details of the Agadir Declaration. Yunus Arikan of ICLEI cited the power of language in the Paris Agreement preamble, calling for cooperation and engagement at “all levels of government”, as a prompt for mobilizing non-Party stakeholder action to expand the reach of climate action efforts. The preamble reads, in part:

  • Affirming the importance of education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and cooperation at all levels on the matters addressed in this Agreement,
  • Recognizing the importance of the engagements of all levels of government and various actors, in accordance with respective national legislations of Parties, in addressing climate change, …

The negotiations stalled Friday evening, around the scheduled closing time, when a Heads of Delegation consultation on Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement and the Talanoa Dialogue draft design was unable to reach agreement on matters of process. The room was closed to all except Party Heads of Delegation.

Some of the issues in dispute on the final night:

  • At least one Party objected to the text becoming a legal decision of the COP — possibly due to concerns about open democratic consultation with stakeholders, possibly due to the view that this open consultation will be highly effective at speeding the transition to low-carbon economies.
  • Developed and Developing Country Parties were not in agreement about how robust Developed Country Parties’ obligations should be under Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement — which requires communication of finance commitments.
  • In parallel, a dispute emerged over whether the CMP or the CMA, or both, should have jurisdiction over the Adaptation Fund process in the 2018-2020 period. (This matters, because the CMP is a smaller group of nations, while the CMA includes all Parties to the UNFCCC.)

Re-opening of the closing plenary session was pushed back to 8:15, then 10:15, and eventually was delayed until after midnight.


Day 11 — Thursday, November 16

Education Day at the COP23 means a focus on climate information, education, and empowerment of young people and stakeholders. It also means action toward substantive participation of stakeholders in the negotiating process itself.

  • The Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) agenda is rooted in Article 6 of the Convention and envisions “education” as more than information for public consumption, or even job training.
  • A key standard of the ACE process is that stakeholders should have the ability to speak to policy-makers, as witnesses, as citizens, and as part of the process of climate-smart future-building.
  • The YOUNGO Constituency works toward more investment in education, both for climate action empowerment and also to enhance the overall leverage of younger people on questions of intergenerational equity.

Some participants argue the ACE agenda (education, participation, empowerment, and the related engagement with institutions should touch SDGs 4 (education), 5 (gender), 10 (equality), 11 (cities), 12 (consumption), 16 (institutions), and 17 (partnerships).

  • A look at the true collaborative policy-shifting potential of the emerging Action for Climate Empowerment global community suggests every one of the SDGs is implicitly tied to ACE.
  • The Education, Communication, and Outreach Stakeholders (ECOS) group has held daily meetings during the COP23 to provide a venue for discussing this complex array of climate-related engagement priorities.

Citizens’ Climate Education issued a statement calling for the Talanoa Dialogue process to honor, engage, support, and mobilize:

The brief also called for non-Party stakeholder (NPS) participation in the Talanoa Dialogue to do the following:

  1. Facilitate ENCAP modeling to strengthen NDCs
  2. Honor the right to access best-practice opportunity
  3. Give voice to citizens, communities, and vulnerable groups
  4. Create space for ongoing mutual education between NPS and national government officials
  5. Direct the deployment of climate-smart finance, according to the above
  6. Connect to a sustainable platform for ACE(http://engage4climate.org/ace) and NPS engagement

At the Sustainable Stock Exchanges’ Green Finance Dialogue, policy planners and practitioners discussed both the process of integrating new financial instruments and business models into existing exchanges and the standards that make intangible value quantifiable as an investable instrument.

Some vital insights:

  • Sustainable securities need to include a contractual obligation to meet specific, measurable standards of environmental integrity.
  • Those contracts must also include independent monitoring, reporting and verification mechanisms.
  • Sustainability and transparency grow together; sustainable stock exchanges are resulting in new levels of financial transparency, and that is better for stabilizing markets and preventing fraud in any sector.
  • The disclosure dividend is becoming a clearly measurable value: companies that reveal the environmental quality of their activities are driven to improve, are more trusted, and have a built-in value added for investors.
  • ‘Water bonds’ and other ‘blue economy’ bonds may emerge in the next 2 years as the biggest untapped new market for sustainable investment.

The event echoed Christiana Figueres’ remarks earlier in the week about the market value of carbon emissions: “They are not the proxy for growth; they are the proxy for inefficiency.”


Day 10 — Wednesday, November 15

The High-Level Segment (HLS) of the COP23 opened today. That means both the Bula Zone (the UN talks) and the Bonn Zone (climate action focus and side events) were thrown into a state of even tighter security, were much more crowded, and everyone’s movements were constrained by the large entourages of curious and inspired delegates and accredited media that would follow leaders around.

Both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the HLS, effectively showing their nations’ commitment to the strongest possible negotiated outcome for the COP23 and Facilitative Dialogue strategy for the COP24, to advance the goals of the Paris Agreement. Mr. Macron, in particular, committed to bold leadership, rededicating France to funding climate priorities and hosting a One Planet Summit on December 12, in Paris.

Parties say they are focusing on key elements of process for 2018:

  • Design and intended outcomes of the Talanoa Dialogue;
  • Accounting methodologies to ensure no double counting of Party-claimed mitigation outcomes;
  • An active role for non-Party stakeholders (NPS) to input notes on best practices and ground-level action capacity;
  • What method could be used for NPS to contribute text for the consensus outcome, at COP24;
  • Guidelines for upgrading pre-2020 ambition and coordinating post-2020 early action financing;
  • The Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage (WIM).

The US Climate Action Center hosted a planning consultation for the Global Climate Action Summit in California, next year.

  • The event will be a breakthrough moment for the supranational climate leadership from subnational governments.
  • The September 2018 Summit will likely connect local climate action capability, in cities and regions, to national policy initiatives, to raise ambition in overall efforts to achieve Paris Agreement goals.
  • It will be an opportunity to achieve new breakthroughs on electric vehicle deployment, low-emissions infrastructure, and energy efficiency at all levels.
  • Innovative forms of blended climate finance, as well as cross-border cooperation to align carbon pricing and complementary policies, will be part of the emerging agenda.

The Hack4Climate Blockchain coding boat awarded its winning prize to a team of four coders who developed a way to track rainforest depletion and conservation. The system needs reliable data, but once it has it, it would provide an incorruptible archive against which Monitoring, Reporting and Verification could play out.

Blockchain is distributed ledger technology, meaning that the accounting records on which a given report of transactions is based cannot be erased or manipulated. The technology can provide both privacy protection and irreversible transparency, making it very useful for science-based decision-making processes and for protecting value, both monetary and ecological.

Informal discussions regarding carbon pricing policies yielded some new potential ideas for how to align carbon taxes and emissions trading systems.

  • Though this was not part of the negotiations, the concepts discussed create real opportunity for enhanced ambition in 2018 and beyond.
  • Since the pricing models in these systems operate through such different mechanisms, price alignment is hard to achieve.
  • Partnerships between stakeholders, national and subnational jurisdictions, and innovators in diverse fields can allow for “carbon pricing clubs” to design mutually aligned suites of market-signaling carbon policies.
  • Through the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and other multilateral venues for cooperation, these clubs will likely emerge in 2018 and 2019 as vital drivers of climate action innovation and solutions.

Day 9 — Tuesday, November 14

Gender Day at the COP23: Women in leadership have been responsible for many of the most crucial breakthroughs in the UNFCCC process.

  • On a panel focused on women in leadership, Rachel Kyte said gender should not be treated as crumbs from too small a pie going to dedicated climate finance.
  • Instead, she said all areas of climate policy and process should be gender responsive, and women should be taking leadership positions, driving decisions, and ensuring equity.
  • Achala Abeysinghe of IIED, a lead advisor to dozens of the Least Developed Countries, praised her organization’s gender policy and said we need to make sure men understand gender issues in both climate policy and in the makeup of panels, commissions, diplomatic teams, and organizational staff.
  • Costa Rica has a program that is putting men into conversation with each other, to raise awareness and combat ways in which traditional ideas of masculinity cause some men to feel discomfort at being led by women.
  • Men and women who were present for this event agreed that such “discomfort” undermines everyone’s success, because it distorts the talent pool, undermines deserving leaders, and limits the sources of best-case knowledge going to work for good.

The InsuResilience Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Solutions, launched today at the 2017 UN Climate Conference in Bonn, now brings together G20 countries in partnership with the V20 nations.

  • The V20 is a group of 49 of the most vulnerable countries including small islands like Fiji which holds the Presidency of this year’s conference: COP23.
  • Germany has joined forces with its partners, the Ethiopian Chair of the V20, the United Kingdom and the World Bank, in order to launch this Global Partnership.
  • “The Global Partnership is a practical response to the needs of those who suffer loss because of climate change. And I am very proud that it has happened under Fiji’s Presidency of COP. At the same time, it is a means of preparing for a more resilient form of development for those who will have to adapt to the great challenge of climate change,” said the COP23 President and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
  • Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, announced support for the new global partnership of 125 million USD as part of today’s launch.

The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and partners hosted a series of roundtables to focus on elements of the overall policy agenda, including cooperation across borders, use of revenues, environmental integrity, and measurable mitigation results.

  • The World Bank State and Trends of Carbon Pricing report finds the number of jurisdictions has doubled.
  • If China implements an economy-wide price on carbon, the CPLC could *surpass* its 2020 goal of 25% global emissions coverage by 2018.
  • One session explored the use of revenues to bolster the pace of decarbonization from carbon pricing and to ensure economy-wide new economic value attaches to new investments in alternatives.
  • Further exploration is needed into the role dividends to households might play in speeding the internalization of climate risk and cost to the business models that generate them.

600 Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers have gathered in Washington, DC , and will be holding hundreds of meetings today on Capitol Hill. CCL’s visit to Capitol Hill is an opportunity for the US Congress to empower actors across the US to build a smart clean future economy that leaves behind the problematic inefficiencies and public health threats of the one we have now.

  • Yesterday, in a high-level session of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, this news was applauded by the full room, including leaders in business, government and advocacy, from around the world.
  • Citizens talking to government have a new and more powerful role in the global process.
  • While political courage is always needed for substantial change, that honor is also expressed in the kind of non-partisan mutual support CCL volunteers are looking to foster among their representatives.

The Global Climate Action segment of the COP23 closed today, with leaders showing support for more aggressive acceleration of locally rooted, multilevel and cooperative climate action.

  • Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati, issued one of the strongest, and most newsworthy declarations of the COP23, saying “We need to be a lot more ambitious than 1.5ºC.”
  • While science shows that we must stay within the 1.5ºC threshold if we are to prevent some small island nations from vanishing under rising seas, the steadily escalating costs of a warming world are already reaching unsustainable levels.
  • Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, asked “Why are we subsidizing what is destroying us?”
  • Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, asked “What right do we have” to ruin natural systems that sustain life.
  • Addressing young people, he said: “This is your world. Not only demand a seat at the table or demand to be involved, actively demand the table, in my opinion.”

Ambassador Inia Seruiratu, Fiji’s global climate champion for the COP23 process, reminded everyone of the established UN definition of sustainable development: “meeting the needs and aspirations of today without compromising the future.”

The GCA closed with this call to global collaborative problem-solving to make sure that all development is climate-smart and sustainable, reliably fulfilling human needs and never degrading natural systems or imposing harm and cost on future generations.


Day 8 — Monday, November 13

Today was Finance Day at COP23. While the negotiations were ongoing in all areas, side events, press briefings, and presentations about national climate policies, focused on innovations in the design and delivery of climate-related finance.

Resilience Intel—a first-of-its-kind Climate-Smart Finance Aggregator—was announced by the COP22 Presidency, Citizens’ Climate Education, and the Geoversiv Foundation, with support from the South Pole Group.

  • The Aggregator will use a light-touch analysis to parse any investment or spending into good / bad / neutral and then add up all of the good, to identify hidden climate-action money across the whole economy.
  • The COP22 Climate Finance Pathway is a strategic collaborative planning process aimed at scaling up deployed climate-related finance from billions of dollars to trillions.
  • Its three core areas of action—country-driven process, increasing adaptation finance, and enhancing the leverage of public resources to catalyze private finance—all require the redirection of already existing funds to climate-smart practices.
  • Resilience Intel will mobilize a coalition of actors to achieve the aims of the COP22 Climate Finance Pathway and achieve a clear line of sight to a climate-resilient future.

Christiana Figueres, citing escalating climate risk, noted that “If we go beyond 2ºC, we would be in a scenario which the insurance industry says would be systemically uninsurable.”

  • She said that by the time of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, in September 2018, “we need to have a clear line of sight [to a world in which] no finance can go into any activity that is actually damaging the planet and putting the welfare of citizens at risk.”
  • Noting the explosion in new green bond issuance this year, she said “We are now beginning to understand that greenhouse gas emissions are actually the proxy for inefficiency. They are not the proxy for growth; they are the proxy for inefficiency.”

The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition held a high-level roundtable event, led by the co-chairs of the High-Level Assembly, Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and CEO of Royal DSM Feike Sijbesme.

  • Côte d’Ivoire said carbon pricing must be part of our fight against climate change, and described an ongoing process of consultation and sensitization among stakeholders, business, and decision-makers.
  • Min. McKenna noted that disclosure continues to be a critical tool, so that markets can make smart decisions based on reliable and relevant information.
  • There was a call from both ETS and Carbon Tax advocates for a flagship CPLC study that would demonstrate that competitiveness is enhanced, not undermined, by activation of carbon pricing policies.
  • The Cali Declaration was cited as an example of cross-border cooperation, and a foundation for multilevel collaboration between national and subnational governments, and for the alignment of carbon pricing policies.

Day 7 — Sunday, November 12

The annual Development and Climate Days conference on the middle weekend of the COP brought delegates, experts and advocates together to focus on four themes:

  1. Resilience through empowerment and access: exploring the effective pathways to address poverty and climate vulnerability and manage climate risk, to consider how engagement in decision making, equitable access to resources, and the provision of goods, services and innovation can be enhanced.
  2. Valuing lived experience, and local knowledge: highlighting the importance of creating space and voice for those at the development and climate frontline in all discussions related to climate and development.
  3. Transparency and downward accountability: examining the ways in which decisions are made, climate responses are prioritised and climate fnance is directed.
  4. Shared resilience: recognising we live in an interconnected world with complex intercontinental supply chains, global fnancial fows, and decision making shared between the international, national and local levels, strategies for managing risk and building resilience must be designEd and implemented together.

The Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders brought together mayors, governors, stakeholders, and innovators, to lay out the operational climate action agenda of non-Party stakeholders.

  • Mayors shared stories about speeding the pace of decarbonization with local transit policy initiatives and energy efficiency incentives.
  • 70% of climate action policy is in the hands of subnational leaders, when national governments are taking action; that number is higher when local and regional leaders must take over.
  • The most important lessons were those that showed that smart climate action, creates jobs, boosts incomes, expands opportunity, and reduces threats to human health and wellbeing.
  • Former CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asserted the moral imperative of climate action, saying “when there is a fire, you put it out, because it can kill people.”

Building resilience is a project that operates at all levels—local, national, and global—and requires new kinds of blended financing, public-private partnerships, and sharing of mistakes and successes to ensure the pace of change accelerates to keep pace with rising need.

  • COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar said climate finance must now move “beyond commitments, beyond capabilities, beyond the politics of sustainable development”.
  • He added that “Climate finance actors must be part of the solution, and we must ensure there are more of them than ever before” and that “Climate finance must be integral to mainstream finance.”
  • Ambassador Mezouar also described 2020 as a landmark year for the Marrakech Partnership, a year when we will need “transformational capacity on the ground” if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.
  • The theme of the day was generally that early climate actors get ahead of their peers and also enjoy advantages in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and general economic vibrancy and prosperity.

Day 6 — Saturday, November 11

America’s Pledge launched at the US Climate Action Center, the first step toward a true Economy-wide National Climate Action Plan (ENCAP). A group of cities, states, institutions and investors, committing to fulfill and exceed the US commitment to the Paris Agreement.

  • Former NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg noted that this “group of US citizens, cities, and states represents … the third largest economy in the world … an economy that is larger than any economy outside of the US or China.”
  • In the US system, any powers not assigned by law to the Federal government revert to the states or to the people, and any powers not exercised by the Federal government revert to the states or to the people.
  • America’s Pledge marks a new way for nations to engage in the UN climate negotiations — outlining the wider landscape of policy, planning, action and investment that a people will use to implement global goals.

Non-party stakeholders were also at the heart of the America’s Pledge event. Cities, states, and other non-governmental actors, are stepping into a space opened up by a laggard national government.

  • The COP23 has featured a number of innovations and breakthroughs for non-party stakeholders (NPS).
  • America’s Pledge helps to move the world closer to adopting an official standard whereby NPS can intervene directly in the year-long Talanoa Dialogue, an open process of shared learning and policy innovation.
  • The bottom-up approach, from local life on the ground to global standards and cross-border collaboration, is now being treated as central to Paris Agreement implementation.

Carbon pricing news — In a moment of real importance for both American and international politics, the office of the Republican governor of Maryland thanked the Democratic governor of Virginia for acting on climate generally, and on coastal resilience and carbon pricing, and invited Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—the carbon pricing system currently working in the northeast of the United States.

Ocean resilience is increasingly treated as central to any hope of sustaining meaningful stewardship of Earth’s climate system. Stewardship of Earth’s ocean for the long-term requires that we solve climate change, and also that we learn to value instruments of the blue economy as part of the everyday activity of human civilization.


Day 5 — Friday, November 10

World Science Day for Peace and Development to bring a new focus to ways evidence-based thinking creates opportunities for harmony through collaboration.

  • Climate and development policy can prevent conflict, by managing resource pressures and shifting from a transactional-conditional diplomacy to an interactive-reciprocal standard.
  • It is through advancing knowledge that we eliminate the need for zero-sum thinking and find new ways to solve problems together.
  • Traditional knowledge need not be displaced by scientific discovery; the two can come together to make evidence-based thinking more precisely applicable to solving any problem.

Al Gore delivered a haunting update on the state of observed climate disruption and its terrible impacts on human civilization.

  • Hurricane Harvey drove so much sea water inland it continued to feed off warm Gulf of Mexico waters even when it was “over land”.
  • Atmospheric rivers are flowing in much larger volume at faster speeds over the northern Pacific, dumping unprecedented amounts of sudden impact rain on California.
  • “Rain bomb” events occur when super cell storms unleash rain splash events on whole cities simultaneously.
  • But decarbonization is speeding ahead, and we are on track to deploy 30-100 times today’s solar PV capacity in some countries by 2022.

Climate change is water: The dislocation of water from one region to another, or from one atmospheric state to another, is the main lever of disruption we are seeing.

  • Extreme droughts are compounded and prolonged by extreme water events — cyclones, floods, monsoons, unseasonal ice-melt — that interfere with the routine flow of fresh water to ecosystems that feed agricultural production.
  • Watershed management is one of the primary challenges for civilization under any conditions; as we cope with escalating interacting climate disruptions, watersheds will become critical to governance strategies at all levels.

Arctic Ocean resilience: Still one of the most unexplored parts of the planet, the deep Arctic Ocean is facing severe climate stress — from warming that is far faster than at other latitudes.

  • The radical ice-melt now seen in both Arctic Ocean sea ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet will fundamentally destabilize ecosystems, currents, and weather patterns that have endured for millennia without needing to adapt to such rapid change.
  • Discussion at the Nordic Council of Ministers pavilion returned repeatedly to the impact Arctic resilience status has on life around the planet.
  • Pollutants, toxins, and destabilization we put into Arctic natural systems flow back to other latitudes, through responsive warming and dislocation of ecosystems, water resources, even disease vectors.

Pay attention to people: The call for more direct involvement of non-Party stakeholders in the Talanoa Dialogue is partly about ambition and follow-through, and partly about legitimacy.

  • Legitimacy is not something you hope for. It is earned. It requires listening, learning, collaboration, and action in service of others.
  • The COP23 is part of the process of designing a new way of doing business, a Rule Book for getting to a world without climate destabilization.
  • To achieve legitimacy, this global process, which will operate at all levels, will need to hear from and include non-Party stakeholders at all levels.

Day 4 — Thursday, November 9

The US Climate Action Center opened today at COP23.

  • The stand-alone pavilion is supported by a coalition of subnational governments and civil society organizations.
  • The core aim is to show the country’s resolute commitment to climate-smart future-building.
  • It reminds everyone that a nation acts not through one leader’s whim, but through the everyday ongoing energy and ingenuity of its people.

Loss and Damage–how to pay for it, and who pays how much–has been a painful subject throughout the week.

  • Some small states face existential threats.
  • Dominica is just one example: Hurricane Maria cost the island nation 90% of its GDP.
  • Global Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is expected to grow from less than $200 billion today to more than $1.6 trillion in 2030.
  • Insuring against risk and expanding access to finance were discussed in both the official negotiations and in several side events.

The Moroccan COP22 Presidency hosted a day of discussions on Adaptation in finance, water resources, and agriculture.

  • Adaptation Metrics developed by the COP22 team will be critical for the Climate Finance Pathway.
  • Without clear and reliable metrics to assess the outcome value for finance inputs, the overall performance of climate finance and adaptation efforts will hard to quantify.

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Pavilion hosted a day of meetings on food production practices, food security, and health impacts.

  • Gunhild Stordalen, founder and president of the EAT Foundation, argued for the need to transform the global food system, to stop degrading natural systems and to remove threats to human health.
  • Organic food production not only protects against chemical exposure; it creates incentives for building soil carbon richness, which in turn absorbs more CO2 and can mitigate climate change.
  • These practices also can provide food supply security and macro-critical resilience in relation to food, agriculture, water management, and related long-term influences.

Youth and future generations were a thematic focus across the COP23 today. The role of non-state actors from the US, disaster risk reduction, access to finance, adaptation metrics, and a healthy food system are all critical to achieving a meaningful standard of intergenerational equity.

The APA Stocktake brought governments together to look at language and negotiating progress, but was implicitly a contribution to intergenerational problem-solving. It also set the stage for further work toward establishing a Paris Agreement Work Programme.


Day 3 — Wednesday, November 8

Today, national governments (the Parties to the Convention) and “non-Party stakeholders” sat together at the same table, under the auspices of the COP Presidency, as collaborators and equals as part of the negotiations. The general subject was the value of such engagement and the need to ensure it continues to play a role in raising the ambition of outcomes from future negotiations.

Participants and observers will submit proposals for reform of non-party stakeholder engagement this week for potential decision of the COP, because:

  • To achieve an Economy-wide National Climate Action Plan, much more than a centrally planned NDC, consultation with local leaders and local actors–including the ground-truthing of observational data and policy effectiveness–is necessary.
  • The unique knowledge and experience of Indigenous Peoples, Youth, Business, Environmental NGOs, Farmers, Trade Unions and the Women and Gender Constituency, empower national governments to collaborate more effectively and to go further faster.
  • These are not “soft issues” or secondary considerations; national policy that does wrong by these groups undermines the overall wellbeing of a nation an impedes its ability to operate at the level necessary to achieve meaningful progress on a wide range of issues, especially climate.

In negotiations about Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement, in a report-back from the Germany-led G20 process, and in discussions about Loss and Damage, a consistent theme was the need to avoid imposing undue added cost burden on people who did not generate the climate crisis. Solutions that shift incentives, price carbon, build value for people in communities, and ensure we are better protected from climate risk, will be necessary to enhancing NDCs in 2018.

The major open question is whether the Parties will adopt concrete strategies for 2018 that operationalize the wisdom of today’s discussions, so that:

  1. Non-party stakeholders–including cities, businesses, vulnerable groups and thought leaders–can input directly into supranational policy.
  2. A serious, transformational, phased-in price on carbon can be part of each nation’s move to shift away from high-risk climate-forcing energy.
  3. The right to climate protection will be seen as both a universal right and a measure of a nation’s quality of service to its own people.

Day 2 — Tuesday, November 7

The APA — the working group that is preparing the Paris Agreement Work Programme, to be set in motion by the end of 2018 — resumed work today in plenary session. Finance, technology transfer and support, capacity building, adaptation communications, transparency, and building resilience through collaborative early action were dominant themes of the APA plenary.

  • Maldives noted, with emotion and urgency: “many in our island family that are still without homes and basic services, and face an uncertain future.”
  • Ethiopia called for early action from all nations “Toward a safer, more prosperous future for the whole world.”
  • Nicaragua and Syria announced ratification of the Paris Agreement, leaving the current US administration as the only UNFCCC party still wavering.

The UNEP Emissions Gap Report for 2017 [PDF], discussed today in detail in the Bonn Zone, finds that:

  • At current rates of consumption and mitigation, “the available global carbon budget for 1.5°C will already be well depleted by 2030.”
  • “Action by subnational and non-state actors, including regional and local governments and businesses, is key to enhancing future ambition.”
  • “[E]missions could be reduced by up to 30 to 40 [gigatons of CO2-equivalent] per annum, with costs below US$100 / [ton of CO2-equivalent].”
  • “The Facilitative Dialogue and [2020 NDC upgrade] are the last opportunity to close the 2030 emissions gap.”
  • All nations must significantly enhance their national commitments, and all G20 countries require stronger climate action policies.

Critical areas of discussion for accelerating the pace of change, included:

  • “All finance provided and mobilized by developing country parties should be taken into account.” – Ecuador, speaking for the G77 in the APA plenary
  • Blockchain distributed ledger technologies can aid in the accounting of emissions intensity, climate finance, and non-governmental leadership of high-value transformational change.
  • Land rights for women and indigenous peoples were seen as critical to achieving verifiable ongoing climate-smart agriculture and reform.
  • Dr. James Hansen called for nations to adopt Carbon Fee and Dividend policies and for judicial action against polluters, to honor the rights of young people and future generations.
  • “The spirit of Talanoa” was cited repeatedly as a way of valuing collaborative, mutually beneficial problem solving for a better future.

Day 1 — Monday, November 6

The major opening theme of the COP23 is to fashion a process for active, ongoing, collaborative solutions delivery and ambition upgrading. In other words: we are here to work together to secure a win-win on climate and development for all people in all countries.

  • The Talanoa Dialogue, an inclusive process of engagement, has been described by the Fijian COP23 presidency as a commitment “to connecting your work in the negotiations with tangible benefits in the real world.”
  • How it will work, and what roles and responsibilities will fall to parties, looks to be a catalytic COP23 outcome.
  • Cooperation to catalyze finance across all sectors, to go to work doing good for the climate, has will be a focus of this effort. The COP22 Climate Finance Pathway will help to map and accelerate the process.
  • The Grand Coalition is expanding. 10,000 non-party stakeholders will participate in the COP23–the most in history.

We joined a call today for resources to empower more open, active, widespread, and persistent youth engagement for climate action. There is growing consensus for the view that we cannot afford to leave any active mind out of this creative collaborative problem-solving effort.

So, Day 1 set these core concepts and levers of action in motion: inclusive respectful dialogue, mobilization of capabilities, building of local capacity, invitation to non-party stakeholders to join in leading, with science and policy coming together to do good.


Day Zero — Sunday, November 5

Our pre-COP brief outlines the high-stakes for this “launch-sequence coordinating conference”–a two-week global world-building congress aimed at ensuring we make real progress toward climate solvency faster than ever before. At stake is the resilience of Earth’s life-support systems, and whether some nations will be lost to climate impacts or to pervasive compounded cost and conflict.

Progress is required at COP23 toward the realignment of market signals, new modes of non-party stakeholder participation, both locally and globally, the catalyzing of climate-smart finance at all levels, and a deeper exploration of Earth systems and their interactions. Smarter, faster deployment of adaptive resilient infrastructure will be critical for building fiscal resilience.

Read our full pre-COP Brief here.


Come back to read the Paris Progress COP23 Daily Brief each day, at parisprogress.org/cop23

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