COP21 ultimately led to the groundbreaking 2015 Paris Agreement. Now, two years later, world leaders are meeting in Bonn, Germany to talk climate action at COP23, and how they can speed up implementation of the landmark deal’s goals without support from the US. Delegates from nearly 200 countries will be present.
Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama will serve as COP23’s president. It’s not just government leaders who are gathering, but representatives from cities, businesses, and civil society organizations. The BBC reported around 20,000 visitors and delegates will be present. Speakers will include Solar Impulse pioneer Bertrand Piccard, United Nations Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name a few.
Although President Donald Trump yanked the United States out of the Paris Agreement, the country cannot leave until 2020 so there will be an American team of negotiators present, which the BBC said is comprised largely of career civil servants. But some Trump administration members will reportedly back an event at COP23 promoting fossil fuels and nuclear energy as climate change solutions, which is upsetting some delegates. The BBC said at the event, speakers will focus on how coal and other fuels can help curb the impacts of increasing temperatures. A White House spokesperson said, “It is undeniable that fossil fuels will be used for the foreseeable future, and it is in everyone’s interest that they be efficient and clean.”
International Institute for Environment and Development director Andrew Norton said the idea that fossil fuels can help tackle climate change is beyond absurd, saying, “These talks are no place for pushing the fossil fuel agenda. The US needs to come back to the table and help with the rapid cuts in emissions that the situation demands.”
American governors, mayors, and business people part of the We Are Still In coalition will attend COP23 to show the world much of the country below the federal government still backs the Paris deal.