Editors Note: This is a running series documenting four UNC student's experience at the COP 23 in Bonn, Germany. See the first entry here.
By Mark Ortiz
Today marked the beginning of the (COP 23) — the annual climate negotiations — in Bonn, Germany. At COP 23, world leaders are expected to build on the groundwork and principles established in the 2015 Paris Agreement and develop roadmaps to reach its goals.
Though the negotiations are taking place in Bonn, the island nation of Fiji is presiding, giving the conference a Pacific focus. Fiji is using this platform to highlight the climate change threats faced by small island states, such as sea level rise, climate change-related displacement, and increased incidence of extreme storm events.
“All over the world vast numbers of people are suffering, bewildered by the forces ranged against them” said Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama at the conference’s opening session, alluding to a recent string of hurricanes, droughts, fires and other destructive weather events supercharged by climate change. Bainimarama’s opening statement underscored the fact that many nations are already facing the disruptive impacts of climate change and being forced to adapt. Those countries facing the most dramatic effects often have inadequate financial resources to cope.