Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

  • 8 November 2017

Following Oxford University at COP23

Photo: COP23

This week sees the start of the 23rd annual Climate Negotiations in Bonn, where the world’s nations meet under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the aim of halting dangerous global warming. Following the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015, in which a global deal was made to keep global temperature rise to well below 2C, and ideally 1.5C, there is sustained global interest in how these ambitious targets can be met. Oxford University are there in force, participating in a range of side events and activities which are outlined below.

This year marks the first time that a Small Island State has held the presidency. As one of the countries most at risk from rising sea levels, the issue of Loss and Damage is expected to form a significant focus of the negotiations. In a recent Nature Climate Change paper, ECI researcher Rachel James explains the different perspectives and nuances surrounding the loss and damage debate. In it, she explains that there is a strategic ambiguity in defining what L&D actually means and how the negative impacts incurred by climate change should be addressed.

One such debate surrounds the concept of climate liability. There have been considerable leaps and bounds in the science of attribution and the effect this will have on climate liability is one area that will likely evolve over coming years. It is now possible to attribute single extreme-events to human-induced climate change, as highlighted in a recent paper led by Dr Friederike Otto in Nature Climate Change. These developments mean that losses and damages associated with extreme events can now be scientifically quantified, and may, in the future, lead to a mechanism for assigning country-level responsibility.

Oxford University is well represented at COP23, sending 20+ staff, students and alumni in varying capacities. We have representatives in official side events (see list below), in the Presidency’s Open Dialogue, and many of the fringe events including a stand in the EU Pavilion.

Follow Oxford University at COP23 #oxcop

You can follow the progress of Oxford University COP goers via our twitter list oxcop-delegation and the hashtag #oxcop

SoGE Doctoral student, Alexander Pfeiffer is writing a daily blog from COP23 for the Oxford Martin Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Oxford Climate Policy Blog – the official Blog of the Oxford Climate Policy which aims to initiate debate on international climate policy.

Oxford University Side Events at COP23

The University of Oxford is well represented at COP23 with participants from across the University speaking and taking part in a number of side and fringe events. Key events include:

  • Wednesday 8th November 10:00-13:00 | Bula Zone, meeting room Rakiraki
    Presidency’s Open Dialogue
    Professor Benito Müller will facilitate the session ‘Enhancing observer access to and participation in negotiations and sessions’.

  • Saturday 11 November 12:00-15:30 | Ameron Hotel-koenigshof, Adenauerallee 9 (Offsite)
    Sub-national Action on Adaptation in and for Least Developed Countries: The role of the LDCF
    This side event, organized by Oxford Climate Policy and Oxford University, will provide an opportunity to discuss adaptation experiences and needs in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and the role of subnational authorities in implementing the Paris Agreement by supporting the most vulnerable to adapt.

  • Saturday 11 November | Restaurant “Em Hoettche”, Am Markt 4, 53111 Bonn (city centre).
    University of Oxford Alum and COP23 delegates drinks reception.
    Friends of Oxford University old and new are invited to our annual COP drinks reception in a local bar.

  • Sunday 12 November 14:00-14:45 | BONN ZONE : UK Pavilion Stand A.04
    Emission budgets and pathways to 1.5 degrees in the context of the global stocktake: Q&A session
    An informal seminar and Q&A with Professor Myles Allen on the concept of the global “carbon budget”. Myles will discuss recent updates and their implications for the long-term temperature goal, plus how the notion of a finite carbon budget could be incorporated into the global stocktake mechanism.

  • Monday 13 November 15:00-16:30 | Meeting Room 11, Bonn Zone
    Measuring progress towards the Paris Agreement: Aligning policy and science in global stocktakes.
    In this session, Professor Myles Allen and colleagues will present the latest science on the emission metrics and warming to date, along with implications from the Sustainable Development Goals, and CO2/methane policy. Register for this event

  • Wednesday 15th November 11:15 – 12:45 | EU Pavilion, Area A1 of the Bonn zone
    High-end climate change scenarios: impacts and adaptation potential and limits above 2oC global warming.
    In this session Dr Pam Berry will present on the IMPRESSIONS project which examined strategies and solutions for impacts and risks related to the high-end climate scenarios. See Pavilion programme

  • Thursday 7 December 12:30 – 14:00 | Beckit Room, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University
    COP23 Debrief session.
    Members of Oxford University who attended COP23 will gather to discuss the outcomes and next steps.


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