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Our Take: COP23 and the Urgency for Climate Change by ClimateYou Senior Editor George Ropes

The COP23 Conference in Bonn is mid-way through its second week. Things are going well. Major issues have been (1) the pace of change — small countries complain that big ones aren’t moving fast enough to cut their carbon emissions, and (2) the cost of change — poor countries want rich ones to shoulder more of the burden of implementing measures to limit or adapt to climate change. Progress was made on both issues on Wednesday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN, among others, gave strong pro-climate speeches and commitments. Macron promised that France and the other European countries would cover any shortfall in climate funds due to America’s withdrawal, and that France would fund no coal plants after 2020. Merkel, under some pressure to close Germany’s coal plants, is negotiating that point with the parties with whom she’ll form a government soon. Protests at COP23 have been relatively few, small, and mild. The protesters want the delegates to act faster and make deeper cuts. The wording of the conference resolutions will be hammered out over the next few days. Indications are that the Bonn Agreement will not be nearly as momentous as the Paris one, which was the first to commit almost every country to the common goal of limiting climate change. But it will be significant for continuing the momentum for global cooperation and commitment begun in Paris. The urgency has increased, and so has the resolve.

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