18 Nov 2017

Reflection on COP 23

The Conference COP in Bonn is over, and the participants went back to their states and daily business leaving mixed impressions behind.

A handbook on how to use the Paris agreement was the target of the conference and a huge document was developed. Like in all handbooks, it contained sections that are obvious and sections, which can hardly be understood. And the sections between often contain contradictions because in this first approach, all the different thoughts and ideas have been collected and compiled.

But there are at least two basic insights apart from that which can be taken from the COP.

First, there is the USA, or better their absence in the Paris agreement. However, a country is more than its government and the aggressive course of the Trump administration was mirrored by a strong “we are still in” movement that collects forces that otherwise might not have joined.

Second, it’s about money and this is much more complex as it seems. Officially, the industrial states still are not willing to pay compensations for environmental and climate issues they have caused. But all of them know, that this won’t last very long. The fear of being sued by those suffering from climate change is immense. Norwegian, being rich from gas, already collects huge funds to be prepared for this. Besides the big story, small stories are already taking place:  Not far from the COP site, at the court of Hamm, a farmer from Peru just won the first step against German energy provider RWE. The court took it as demonstrated that RWE is co-responsible for climate change and the resulting loss experienced by the farmer due to local flooding caused by glacier melting.

So, even if no-one might agree on contracts, most of the industry nations already have a tool in their own house which will make them responsible for what they do: their own law systems. And, again thinking of the USA, political administration knows how it feels to have the own authority against the political agenda.