Editors Note: This is a running series documenting four UNC student's experience at the COP 23 in Bonn, Germany. See the previous entry here.
By Mejs Hasan
The number of women government leaders at the climate talks is a beautiful thing. They come from all corners of the world. Zimbabwe, for example, was represented by Oppah Muchinguri, minister of the environment. She delivered Zimbabwe’s speech in the big hall where all governments were allotted time. She showed up even though when we woke up this morning, chaos in Zimbabwe dominated all the breaking news. Apparently there’s a coup? The fall of an ancient dictator? After Ms. Muchinguri, the rest of us don’t have an excuse to skip work.
In sessions hosted by Morocco, there were many women government officials. They spoke in Arabic, while their PowerPoint slides were written in French. They peppered their talks with, “May God will our success at limiting climate change.” They described Morocco’s new constitution, which declares sustainable development is a right of all citizens. They showed us pictures of the new public parks, bike programs and electric buses embedded into Morocco’s carbon reduction plan.
These measures are a small part of the world-wide effort to reduce carbon emissions enough to keep average temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius – better yet, only 1.5 degrees Celsius. The bad news is, based on current action plans, we’re not going to make it – in 2030, we’ll be emitting 11-13.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide beyond the target every year. Way more ambitious pledges will be needed to scuttle those dozen-some gigatons.