Before heading to Bonn, I had a lot of people ask me about the status of the Paris Agreement and wonder what the attitudes towards the U.S. would be at the climate conference this year. As I was walking into the venue this morning - Day 1 of COP23 - I was handed a copy of the ECO - NGO daily newsletter which contained an article on this topic. The opening lines tell it all:
As COP23 begins, there is a large (orange) elephant in the room. The Trump Administration has made the US the only country that has fully rebuffed the spirit of Paris -- not only with threats of withdrawal but also renewed pledges to ramp up extraction of fossil fuels and that's not all. While the Administration is abandoning all sense of reason to eliminate climate policy....
You get the idea. And this was one of the "nicer" comments I read/heard.
So in response I will focus on another leader. Fiji is technically the host of COP23, but for logistical reasons, couldn't bring all the delegates to their tiny country. Their presidency (for COP for the year) and the cultural influences of the island nation are obvious throughout the venue with many references to islands, the extreme weather events resulting, in part, from warmer oceans, music, and photos and quotes from people of the country speaking about how climate change is impacting them. Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama noted that when it comes to climate change we are all in the same canoe.
|This vessel greats delegates as they enter the Bula Zone of COP23|