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Live from COP23 in Bonn - Week 2

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THE MOOD HERE IN BONN

The mood here is constantly shifting. One moment there is mounting concern about the impacts of climate change, while the next there is hope born of the collective weight of 190 countries around the same table, all trying to hammer out agreements on dozens of issues that will impact the very future of the planet!

ISSUES CURRENTLY BEING DISCUSSED AT COP23

Solutions in the fight against climate change

Clean technologies, setting a price on carbon and zero-emission vehicles are regularly cited as solutions to the climate crisis by a number of states and countries. We too have been vocal in our support of these solutions over the years!

Island states bear the brunt of climate change damage, but are also the most resilient and pioneering in the use of renewable energies.

 

Gender Day: Why women are important vectors for change

Today was Gender Day at COP23. There has been an increasing focus on gender issues recently in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, and a Gender Action Plan (GAP) will be adopted during COP23.

Why this gender differentiation?

  • If climate change solutions are to be effective, countries and investors must ensure that women and girls, often the most vulnerable groups when it comes to the effects of climate change, remain a central focus.
  •  Women throughout the developing world are more often than not the best agents of change. As illustrated in numerous case studies presented here today, simple projects to provide access to energy sources have become more sustainable and inclusive for the entire community thanks to the role played by women in integrating the issues of health, quality of life and so forth.

 

The G7 comes to Canada: time to get ambitious!

Canada will host the G7 next June in La Malbaie. With all eyes on Canada, the federal government could seize the opportunity to make some ambitious announcements and show that our country is ready to do more in the fight against climate change. Ottawa could announce:

  • An end to the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the near future, as France, Great Britain and Norway have done. Even China is looking into the possibility;
  • Adoption of a zero-emission standard to compel automotive manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles ; and
  • An end to subsidies on fossil fuels.

 A plenary session during a previous COP.

The Fossil Awards

Each day, COP23 presents a country with its Fossil of the Day “Climate Unachievement” Award. A few days ago, it was the Western nations (Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia) that earned a Fossil for their lack of commitment to funding loss and damage.

Click here for the latest winners of the Fossil of the Day here

Coal exit strategy: seeking a fair and just transition

For Canada, getting out of the coal business cannot be achieved on the backs of workers in this industry. In contrast with the Trump administration, Minister McKenna has pledged to do away with coal by 2030, but concrete action toward this goal has lagged. Indeed, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan continue to burn tonnes of coal, while Ontario and New Brunswick still rely on coal to some extent. What’s more, there are still 10 coal mines in British Columbia.

»» Here is how coal-dependent communities in Germany made their transition a success


 

SURPRISES AT COP23

We’ve been treated to some pleasant surprises in recent days:

  • The Quebec delegation to the Conference captivated onlookers with its expertise in climate change and clean technologies. The open and inclusive approach by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, who took the opportunity to build bridges (even with members of her own delegation), left quite an impression.
  • The new alliance among Canada, Mexico and 15 US states. The parties signed a declaration to work together on such issues as clean technologies, the carbon market and zero-emission vehicles – all issues that Équiterre has fought for over the years. These 15 states account for 40% of the US economy! Some of their governors, most notably of Oregon, Washington and California, have shown a surprising degree of determination to achieve their GHG reduction objectives, “in spite of” their President.
  • China updated the Conference on the upcoming integration of all the country’s businesses into the carbon market (currently, 3 000 Chinese companies participate in the market).
  • During a presentation yesterday, Sweden’s Secretary of State for International Development stated that her country’s carbon tax was 120 Euros/tonne. In Canada’s case, the same tax (set to take effect in 2018) will be $10, ramping up to $50 by 2022… (Way to go Canada!) :/

Today in Bonn: High level segments, featuring remarks by a number of Ministers and Heads of State. We’ll be there to cover it all.

A last surpriste!