2nd day in Bonn for COP23


This is an in between sort of COP.  I have said for years that there are “good cops and bad cops.”  This one is a pun waiting to happen, taken from the great Quebecois film “Bon Cop; Bad Cop.” This COP is the first Bonn COP.


It is a good COP as long as nothing goes wrong.  We have had a dozen years of drama-filled COPs.  From 2005 and COP11 in Montreal, when a deal was struck -- despite the sabotage of the Bush administration --  to actually negotiate a Kyoto replacement agreement (a great COP chaired by Stephane Dion). To COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 – the worst ever train-wreck of a COP. Disaster. To Cancun the next year (a miraculous COP) wherein the true-hearted healer and redeemer, minister of foreign affairs for Mexico, Patricia Espinoza, restored faith in multilateralism after the betrayals in Copenhagen, to a road that led to Paris. (Very happy that the new head of the UN climate secretariat is that same Patricia.)

And now we are in a world of bland, workman-like COPs.  The negotiators act as though we have all the time in the world. Yet, they know we do not.

We await the report from the IPCC, due in October 2018, to tell us if current targets will put us on the path to hold global average temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees C.  While everyone knows current targets are massively insufficient... But we negotiate as though work plans and rule books are more important than ramping up action to avoid runaway global warming while there is still time.

I will report as we move through the week. I have now been here two days, finding my sea legs in an unfamiliar terrain. Unlike other COPs, this one is in locations far distant one from the other. And being on a delegation for Canada seems to be a limbo land of no meetings of the full delegation and no chances to talk with our negotiators or ministers, except in the very welcome meetings for any Canadians who are present in Bonn.  The loss of institutional memory reminds me of how much we have lost, but maybe we can rebuild and find the traction for a ramped up plan of action to save life on earth.

Elizabeth May
November 14, 2017 Blog