The 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP23, is being held in Bonn, Germany, through November 17. Up to 25,000 international leaders and activists are expected to attend to discuss implementing the Paris agreement on climate change. Here are three things to know about the two-week long conference.

COP23 will be a “working” COP and no major decisions are expected

Hosted by Germany and presided over by Fiji, this year’s conference will focus on continuing to work to come up with a rulebook or implementation guidelines to interpret and put the Paris Accord into motion. Another important procedural development at COP23 is that for the first time, countries will take stock of what has been done collectively to achieve the long-term goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius as mandated by the Paris Agreement. A second debate will also center around how countries take stock of what’s been achieved and set new, more ambitious goals for curbing carbon emissions after 2020.

The world will see a diminished role of the United States in climate change diplomacy

This will be the most important climate change summit for the Trump administration and a test for U.S. diplomacy and leadership on the world stage during a Republican presidency. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon will lead the U.S. delegation, one that many view with skepticism. Something interesting in this year’s conference is the greatly differing stances from the Obama administration to the Trump administration. Trump’s avid criticism of climate change and intent to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement is something many are both critical of but watching for. It has also been reported that the Trump Administration will be promoting coal, natural gas and nuclear energy as solutions to climate change during a panel discussion event at COP23 – this will be a major break from the Obama administration.

Non-state actors will steal the show

At COP23, we will see a much larger attendance of U.S. non-state and subnational actors than in previous years. This includes states, cities, indigenous communities, the private sector and civil society. Governor Jerry Brown from California, for example, was appointment by the President of the COP to represent the world’s states and regions committed to climate action. Also, the We Are Still In movement, a coalition of various U.S. groups from cities and counties to faith organizations, will launch the U.S. Climate Action Center. This pavilion will be the first of its kind and will showcase America’s resolve to remain a leader in the fight against climate change.

For more information on COP23 watch the following video and be sure to follow @apcoworldwide for additional coverage. 

Julio Valeriano
Julio Valeriano

Julio Valeriano is an associate director in APCO’s Washington global solutions practice. Read More