Do You Stand With Fiji – Or With Trump?

At the first ever COP hosted by a vulnerable island state, in a year that has witnessed record breaking temperatures, extreme weather events, climate skepticism, fake news, and stupidity in the form of incessant tweets, ECO asks: Developed countries, do you stand with Fiji and the vulnerable, or do you stand with Trump?

If you think this question isn’t relevant to you, then you (a) are not a developed country or (b) have a serious identity problem.

If you are neither of the above and your Head of State believes that the Paris Agreement benefits the citizens of your country and the world, then ECO urges you to take a clear stand now. The unwillingness of developed countries to constructively engage in pre-2020 action means that something which could have been resolved last week is now holding back progress across all items.

Developed countries have been unwilling to acknowledge the need for a political space to address the lack of sufficient action and support in the pre-2020 period. That may be because they refuse to recognise their part in it. But the urgent need for world leaders to actually deliver is not just a matter of adding an agenda item, avoiding duplication, or filling in non-headings in non-papers. It’s a matter of real people whose real lives are impacted right now. And at this point you frankly need to do more than simply “acknowledge the urgency”, while sitting here in Bonn where the greatest “extreme weather” you will face is a sudden shower on your way from Bula 1 to Bula 3.

And you, emerging economies and large developing countries, are you going to let one part of the negotiations block another to this extent? We’re talking about the Rulebook of the Paris Agreement you all fought so hard to secure. We’re talking about the Ambition Mechanism which we so urgently need, in order to start closing the gaps in mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation – an important part of which is the Talanoa facilitative dialogue.

Parties: engaging in pre-2020 action is important, but climate action is imperative regardless of chronology. And a Paris Agreement without a Rulebook and without an effective Ambition Mechanism will not only mean that we have all wasted a lot of time, but also that we will be emitting a lot more carbon – further endangering vulnerable countries and communities.