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Five stories that aren’t about Trump at COP23

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Dakota corbin on unsplash
Photo of Wonder Woman taking our focus away from Trump.

I don’t know about you, but I'm suffering from Trump fatigue. If the guy isn’t prepared to acknowledge the Paris Agreement – and, for that matter, the best interests of everyone else on the planet – I see no point in acknowledging him.

So no mentioning the T-word from here on in. So, what do we talk about now? Here’s the low-down on the top five non-T****-related stories that could hit the headlines at COP23.

The climate impacts that rocked 2017

Extreme weather was tragically standard fare in 2017. Lives were lost, livelihoods destroyed and billions of dollars were wiped from economies all over the world. More often than not, the ones that could least afford it.

A nagging feeling tells us extreme weather is becoming a new normal, begging the question when will we step up our act on adapting to impacts?

Worse still, when will we get serious about loss and damages? If, like other COPs before it, an extreme weather event hits at the same time as the COP, this story is likely to run and run.

Are major economies playing nicely on Paris?

COP23 will be the first opportunity to see how major economies work together on Paris policy without the US. Keep a look out for joint statements, press conferences and events. Major economies need to begin testing ideas and options for enhanced ambition in 2020, as well as exploring landing points ahead of the 2018 rulebook deadline which support convergence to shared Paris rules. Bilateral agreements between the EU-China and EU-India, and between BRICS countries, bode well for constructive outcomes, but it’s all to play for.

Germany’s dirty coal secret laid bare in coalition negotiations

In parallel to the COP, Merkel’s CDU/CSU party along with the FDP and the Greens will be hashing out their agreement for how they will govern together. The Green’s are insisting that a coal phase-out goal is included in the coalition agreement, but this is no simple feat. Germany has a good and well-deserved international reputation on climate change but domestically things aren’t so rosy. Look out for stories scrutinising the fact that Germany is currently on track to underdeliver on their 2020 targets, high-profile state coal phase-out announcements and a whole range of anti-coal campaigning.

‘We are still in’ Paris say sub-national and non-state actors

An impressive group of US actors have been flying the Paris Agreement flag since the US announced its intention to withdraw. These actors will be in Bonn, occupying their own ‘US pavilion’, representing 127 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the US economy. Look out for high-profile speeches from the likes of California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg. Alongside, a host of sub-national and non-state actors from around the world will be in town showcasing their role in the climate action that is surging through the private sector.

Fiji raises the voices of the most vulnerable at COP23

Fiji is already feeling the wrath of climate change; cyclone Winston alone caused $1.4bn in damages. So, it is understandable that the Fijian Presidency is keen to empower other vulnerable voices like their own during their term. They plan to launch a series of initiatives to help empower the most vulnerable communities, on oceans, education, gender and indigenous peoples. They will also be under pressure to respond to vulnerable needs around the ‘solidarity’ elements of the Paris Agreement – adaptation, loss and damage, finance, capacity building and so on. A lack of mandated landing points makes this a tricky task but listen out for plenty of discussion in the mood music surrounding the COP.

And if none of them take your fancy, come find our team and we’ll have all the latest gossip on all the most important things, plus a keen eye for the best coffee at COP!

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