With the Trump administration sticking to its stand on rescinding climate protection actions, American organisations on Tuesday announced to counter the fossil fuel agenda and to hold US states, cities, businesses and the public accountable to commitments to climate action. The US groups comprising community and grassroots leaders announced the formation of a platform named “US People’s Delegation” at COP23 here. The platform includes youth, indigenous people, frontline communities, advocates and policymakers who have come to Bonn with organisations from across the United States. They have come together to show what climate leadership should look like during the 23rd annual climate change talks of the parties or COP23 at the UN Climate Change Conference.
The People’s Delegation and the organisations involved are taking action to protect communities and isolate the US administration by demanding a fossil-free future and real climate action at the local level. Other prominent demands include a just and equitable transition to 100% renewable energy in all cities and states. “I have seen climate change-fuelled floods destroy lives and livelihoods where my family is from India. In southern India, thousands of farmers have committed suicide because of drought,” Varshini Prakash of Sustain US and Sunrise Movement said. “Within my lifetime, my home in the States could be underwater if we do nothing to stop climate change. No one should have to live in fear of losing the people that they love or the places that they come from,” Prakash added.
The two-week climate change talks with the attendance of officials of 197 nations and thousands of non-state actors opened here on Monday with a commitment to go ahead of the 2015 Paris Agreement pledges to counter climate change. In his inaugural remarks, Fiji President Frank Bainimarama, who is chairing the COP23, said there was a need to keep the climate action commitments in full and not back away from them.
COP23, coming just two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, will also further fuel momentum among cities, states, regions, territories, business and civil society in support of national climate action plans. In June, US President Donald Trump announced his administration’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, throwing into doubt its role at UN climate talks and related bodies like the Green Climate Fund.
At COP23, attention will turn to whether the US and its allies will continue to advance an agenda focused mainly on mitigation, carbon markets and transparency of action, while neglecting or foot-dragging on other key issues such as adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology transfer, capacity building, transparency of support and compliance.