CFE communications staffer Sarah Ganong reports from the UN climate talks in Paris this week:
For two weeks each year, the countries of the world come together to try to negotiate a binding agreement on how we can address climate change.
For this, the 21st “Conference of Parties” (COP21), we’re gathered in Paris, with the City of Light serving as a backdrop and host to a process many think will finally be able to bring some hope to the climate issue. The pressure is on: a few years ago, nations agreed that a deal would have to be struck by the end of 2015 or the annual talks would cease. I’ll be attending the first week of the talks, reporting from inside negotiating rooms about the latest happenings.
Buzzwords are already flying fast and furious around the conference center as the major themes of agreement and tough sticking points start to come to light.
A huge issue? Climate finance. At previous conferences, the US led the way in promising that richer countries would give poorer countries $100 billion a year in public financing to help mitigate and adapt climate change. Look for monetary pledges from countries early in COP to gauge if the outcome is likely to be successful.
Another hot topic is equity. Climate change disproportionately affects the people and communities who are both least responsible for it and least able to adapt to its impacts—like poorer island nations, traditional farmers and herders, and even future generations. Terms like intergenerational equity and other human rights focuses are huge. This COP, even more than in the past, people are talking about a global treaty to ensure fairness for those who aren’t at fault but are feeling the worst impacts—but the US has already said we might not be supportive.
Want to help make sure we have a strong, fair treaty by the time the talks close on December 12?
1) Make sure your friends and family know about COP21, and that you’re up to speed too—check out a few of these resources:
- The official COP21 page, with links to tons of information: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en
- Introduction from the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34953626
- A summary from the Sustainable Innovation Forum, which involves the business sector and other stakeholders in the debate: http://www.cop21paris.org/about/cop21
- Live video: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21
- A handy explanatory infographic: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/15090_infographie-GB_Avec-logos.jpg
2) You can follow CFE on Twitter for rapid-fire updates, using the #CFEinParis hashtag to find our posts, and follow accounts and tags like @COP21en (the official account), @Paris_climate, @ParisAgreement, @UNFCCC, #COP21, and #COP21Paris to see reports and commentary from all over the world. We’ll also be posting on our Facebook page.
3) Speak up! With the current ban on protests and meetings in the streets of Paris, your voices are more important than ever. Take two minutes now to contact President Obama and the US State Department to tell them you want a strong and equitable climate agreement, and that you’re paying attention to the process.
4) Attend an event near you: there is a major rally for Jobs, Justice, and Climate in Boston on December 12 (with buses leaving from New Haven/Milford and Hartford/CCSU), and we are partnering with other regional organizations on a series of events in New Haven.
Stay tuned for further reports from the field here on our blog.
Posted by Sarah Ganong, Connecticut Fund for the Environment