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Wednesday, 8th November 2017
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The world's nations are meeting for the 23rd annual "Conference of the Parties" (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which aims to "prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system", i.e. halt global warming. It is taking place in Bonn, Germany from 6 - 17 November 2017.

Up to 25,000 people are expected to attend the talks, which will be presided over by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji - the first time that the small island nation will be at the helm of a major international climate conference. Organising a massive global conference in Fiji would have strained the Pacific nation's resources and posed a travel nightmare for thousands of delegates. Germany offered to host the talks in Bonn, the country's former capital, because it has ample conference space and is already home to the UN climate change agency.

Participants will include government leaders and diplomats from 195 nations, as well as scientists, lobbyists and environmentalists. Uganda is expected to send about 127 participants who will be led by Hon. Sam Mangusho Cheptoris, Minister for Water and Environment.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders are expected to fly to Bonn towards the end of the summit to give the talks a final push and signal their commitment to fighting climate change. Germany is a leader in the fight against global warming and Merkel's reputation as the "climate chancellor" is partly built on the pivotal role she played during past negotiations.

Climate change is already significantly increasing the likelihood of extreme weather, from heatwaves to floods. But without sharp cuts to global carbon emissions, we can expect "severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts" for billions of people and the natural world. The landmark Paris agreement at COP21 in 2015 delivered the first truly global deal to tackle climate change, but national action needs to be significantly toughened to meet to goal of keeping global temperature rise to well below 2C, and 1.5C if possible.

All the science, and the battering that extreme weather has inflicted this year from floods in India and Nigeria to hurricanes in the Caribbean and wildfires in the US and Europe, indicates that global emissions need to start falling urgently - in the next few years. The Paris agreement set out principles, but not the details, with one diplomat likening it to having a brilliant new smartphone but no operating system. The Bonn meeting will be vital in building the rules that will enable the Paris deal to work.

How green will the conference be?

Germany says the two-week talks will as environmentally friendly as possible. The country is setting aside a part of the 117 million euro (USD 136.3 million) budget for a fleet of bicycles and electric buses to ferry people between venues.

Each participant will receive a bottle to fill with tap water - a move organisers say will save half a million plastic cups.

Germany's environment ministry is also investing in renewable energy projects to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by people from all over the world flying into Bonn for the talks.

Source: UN Climate Change Conference - November 2017. (Additional reporting by Uganda Embassy, Berlin)