Glimpse into a Day at COP23

Greetings from Bonn, Germany where I’m attending my first United Nations climate conference.

I’m a kid in a candy store. There are dozens of talks taking place at every hour. Check-out the UNFCCC app, Negotiator – it shows an incredible buffet of climate information.

COP23 is big. Walking the length of the grounds takes 50 minutes.

I have access to the Bula Zone where negotiators meet and discussions take place. A mile away is the Bonn Zone – where nations and NGOs hold their own talks and press events.

In the Bonn Zone I attended a talk at the Malaysian pavilion by the group, Crops for the Future. How do we secure a supply of food in a hotter denser world? Their solution is to re-discover lost food crops.

I’ll state the obvious. This is the first UN climate conference since President Trump stated his intention to remove the United States from the Paris Accord. Frankly, my desire to attend the Bonn conference was the desire to show that Americans of conscience are “still in.”

Best of all are the ad hoc conversations that just seem to happen. For example, on the regional train back to Colonge I had an opportunity to chat with Haldane Dodd of the Geneva-based Air Transport Action Group. Lurching on the regional train I heard about progress in building lighter planes as well as alternative fuels, even heard about a Los Angeles-based company, Fulcrum BioEnergy.

And I was able to tell Haldane about the LA Cleantech Incubator company Ampaire Company that’s preparing to fly electric planes.



Jonathan Parfrey is the founding director of Cimate Resolve, a California-based NGO. He is a founder of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability, and the statewide Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, where he currently serves as chair. He served as director of the Green LA Coalition (2007-2011), and as the Los Angeles director of Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Physicians for Social Responsibility (1994 to 2007). Jonathan was awarded a  Durfee Foundation Fellowship (2002), a Stanton Fellowship (2010), and was appointed a Senior Fellow at the USC Marshall School of Business (2011). He is currently a member of the State of California Climate Adaptation Technical Advisory Committee (2016).