COP23 is an important step in the process of getting the globe to achieve the Paris Agreement goal to hold the increase of global average temperature well below 2 degree Celsius above pre industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 recently exceeded 400 ppm, and the world is still in a path that leads to escalation of the CO2 concentration. A large part of this emission is caused by burning of fossil fuel by the developed nations. The 23rd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP23) which is currently taking place in Bonn, Germany, plays an important role in establishing guidelines which can usher the countries into a transformational path.

LDC Watch along with five other likeminded organizations organized a side event ‘Reclaiming Power: People vs. Polluters’ in COP23 on 9 November. The side event focused on how the Paris accord cannot be met without transforming the current energy system. The COP23 needs to deliver a significant outcome in transitioning to a clean energy system with special consideration towards energy sustainability, energy security and energy equity aspects of the LDCs.

Under the Paris Agreement more than 140 governments have put forward their emissions reduction plan through Nationally Determined Contributions, but this is not nearly enough. At this critical juncture of transforming the energy systems, it is disheartening that United States, one of the top emitters of greenhouse gases has pulled out of the Paris Agreement. It is urgent that the developed countries abide by the Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respected Capacities (CBDR-RC) and take the lead by committing to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. International development partners ensure that finances available for least developed countries where millions of households still lack access to reliable, sustainable and affordable energy. To reach their energy transformation goals thereby enabling a just transition away from dirty energy. Countries must immediately ban fracking and adopt a global moratorium on fossil fuel exploration and extraction techniques in starting in 2018 and adopt an international moratorium on new coal projects by 2019. Countries must also phase out fossil fuel subsidies and finance, with the developed countries pulling out such subsidies by 2020 and by 2025 for developing countries. It is critical that we understand that climate action must start immediately. The world cannot afford to wait until 2020 for the Paris Agreement to come into effect. Pre 2020 actions are needed, and the second commitment of Kyoto protocol, that obliges developed countries to reduce emissions, needs to be urgently ratified.

Mr. Gauri Pradhan, Global Coordinator of LDC Watch urged international communities to ensure access to climate adaptation finance so Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Most Vulnerable Countries (MVCs) can strengthen their resilience capacity and transform their current energy systems into renewable energy. Likewise, the Chair of LDC Watch Mr. Demba Mosussa Dembele called to the development partners of the developed countries to “appropriately settle the deep and longstanding tensions over the issue of “loss and damage”, and compensate to those LDCs for destruction resulting from climate change for which they are not responsible.”
Climate change brought about by dirty energy systems are already wreaking havoc in millions of lives with violent storms, floods, droughts, acidifying oceans. These impacts are more pronounced in Least Developed Countries that have limited capacities to cope with them.

As governments and thousands of stakeholders who are committed to the vision of the Paris Agreement gather in climate change conferences, a fair, equitable and ambitious action plan must be formulated and implemented proportionate to the magnitude of the challenge that we have ahead of us.