By Maïmouna Kante
From November 6 through Nov. 17, the diplomats and ministers met for the 23rd annual Conference of Parties (COP) under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), whose goal is to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” This annual conference was presided by the government of Fiji and took place in Bonn, Germany. This is the second conference since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015. According to the Guardian, it is evident that the world must start enforcing the Paris agreement whether or not the U.S. is involved.
The Guardian explains that 2017 has been a year marked by abnormal daily weather patterns from massive floods in India and Nigeria to disastrous hurricanes in the Caribbean and the U.S. as well as wildfires in Europe and the U.S. Although the Paris Agreement expressed the urgency of the situation by setting a goal of keeping the global temperatures rise to well below 2 Celsius and 1.5 Celsius if possible, it still did not give a clear plan of how each individual country could go about reversing this anthropogenic change. According to the New York Times, the claims made by the Paris Agreement are “voluntary, vague, and not easily verifiable”.
According to the Guardian, this conference stands out from the other because at the Bonn Conference, one of the smaller islands presided. Countries that have contributed the least to the increase in CO2 that will be affected the most. As a result, Fiji was able to address and speak on behalf many of the smaller nations that signed the Paris agreement but whose voices have not been heard.
According to the Carbon Brief, the U.S. was represented by two delegations. There was a delegation that came to fulfill the intentions of the current administration. At the end, the head of the other American delegation, also know as the “We Are Still In”, was former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and California governor Jerry Brown. The conference ended with a speech from Timoci Naulusala, a 12-year old Fijian schoolboy, who said, “It’s not about how, or who, but it’s about what you can do as an individual.”