Two years after the Paris Agreement, UN member states met at COP23 in Bonn, Germany to discuss and agree the next steps in global climate action.
The conference resulted in agreements on the process for COP24, initiatives on climate financing and a series of action plans on gender, regions, health, oceans, or indigenous peoples. Twenty-five states and regions also announced the creation of the ‘Powering Past Coal Alliance’ and their commitment to phase out coal-fired plants in pursuit of the Paris Agreement’s targets.
EUA welcomes the renewed ambition of the conference participants in tackling climate change. Through their research and education missions, universities contribute to sustainable development worldwide and across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Science, technology and innovation, as well as higher education, play a major role in enabling the realisation of the SDGs and in fulfilling the targets of the Paris Agreement, as was highlighted, for instance, through the launching of ‘Mission Innovation' two years ago.
EUA is a member of the newly formed ‘High-Level Stakeholder Platform to follow up on the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ and, through its European Platform of Universities in Energy Research and Education, connects universities so as to be active in climate change and clean energy research and education. The Platform’s long-term vision is to move towards a carbon-negative energy system, which is a condition to realise the most ambitious energy and greenhouse gas emission scenarios. This challenge requires considerable future investments into R&D of negative-emissions technologies (as developed in the article from The Economist on 16 November 2017: “Sucking up carbon: Greenhouse gases must be scrubbed from the air”).