The Big Fights at COP23

Written by Thule van den Dam, Aura Silva Martinez, and Rachael Goldberg

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COP23 (Fiji) in Bonn officially started today and we are caught between a rock and a hard place. The Paris Agreement is a watery, empty promise, and a Polish presidency for COP24 is promising to be as dark as the ‘Coal Summit’ that will be hosted at the same time. To hold developed countries accountable to anything, however, this watery, empty promise needs implementation and clarity, never straying from the principles of the convention — common but differentiated responsibility. We need these footholds established this year: we ran out of time long ago.

So, what are the struggles up ahead in the next two weeks and beyond?!

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A Week with Cocoa Farmers in Ghana’s Eastern Region

By Jenna Farineau

It’s unusually hot for this time of year. It reaches almost 40 degrees Celsius every day and the rains are few. Now, it’s not unusual for Ghana to have such intense heat or lack of constant rains, but this is something concerning. The end of February/beginning of March generally marks the start of the rainy season here, and it is welcomed with deep appreciation from farmers. Because there isn’t proper infrastructure to transport water to farms in most of the rural areas, these farmers depend on the rains that come every year – their cocoa trees especially. The Eastern, Western, and Brong Ahafo regions of Ghana are top producers of cocoa and depend the most on this rainy season as cocoa trees need a lot of water to produce decent yields. Read more…

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Diversification for Sustainability – Lobster fishing and Aquaculture in Maine

By Zebadiah Campbell

 

My name is Zebadiah Campbell. I am an eighth generation lobster fisherman and a second generation oyster farmer from North Haven, Maine. North Haven is an island 12 miles out to sea in Penobscot Bay. The island is home to a year round population of 350 people and 45 of these islanders are licensed commercial fisherman. This small number of fishermen make for a close knit, and sometimes high tension relationship between the fishermen themselves. We all work very closely with one another which can be a blessing and curse. There are times when conflicts happen, however the intimate nature of the small fishing community typically breeds wishes for fair winds and following seas to one another.

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Land Use at COP22: What Happened and What’s Next?

By Sara Velander, Jenna Farineau, and Elaina Burress. 

After the final text of the Paris Agreement was adopted mid-December 2015, several land-focused organizations analyzed the different ways land use and agriculture are positioned in the agreement, in order to identify the future trajectory of land use in international climate policy. According to Climate Focus, the Agreement made specific references to land use in various articles including Article 5 on forests, and a reference to food production in Article 2. However, these are merely recognizing land use in the agreement and have no binding provisions as of yet. Where land use is likely to have the biggest role is in the accounting of emissions and removals in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), one of the few binding obligations of the Paris Agreement. Read more…

[Earth] member delivers SBSTA Closing Plenary Intervention at COP22

At every COP meeting, constituencies have the opportunity to address opening and closing plenaries through interventions. The closing of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice closed today at COP22, and a member of our COP22 delegation, Jenna Farineau, gave the speech on behalf of the UNFCCC youth constituency (special thanks and shoutout to all the people who worked on the intervention behind the scenes: Laura Berry, Caroline Jeanmaire, Amalie Cordes, and Jenna Farineau).

You can watch her speech here at 1:13:00 and find the transcript below.

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