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Our first step to Paris: Will you join us?

By May 5, 2015 No Comments

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It might be coming from my stomach, but I can already smell freshly baked croissants wafting across the tiled, Paris pavement.

At least that’s one element of the sensation I get, sitting at the edge of my laptop with elbows digging into the desk. I know that before the croissants come, there is a whole year of critical action ahead.

Even by the time the Eiffel tower sits just around the corner, the UN climate negotiations will be fiercely fought out late into the evenings. There’ll be no time to relax. There isn’t any time now.

We know, well before negotiators bring their suitcases and secret briefing papers, the battles for national climate action will be won and lost on the home-front.

That’s why this week, we launched our Climate Tracker Program.

The program will run from May until late in September and we will be encouraging young people all around the world to join forces, and let their voices be heard in local newspapers, online, on radio stations and Live on their national news. For too long our ideas have gone unheard.

Our future will not be taken for granted, not any longer.

Our first task begins in May (as in like…NOW): Think of 1 change you want to see made to your national policy, 1 movement you want to support, or 1 decision you believe your government has to make right NOW to better combat climate change.

Do that, and publish your idea on a media platform that is not your own (not Facebook or your own blog) by June 1st. It can be in any language you like, but the key being trying to get your voice to be heard, read or seen by as many people as possible.

Submit it to this form, and use the #Call4Climate hashtag to share it on Facebook and Twitter.

To give us some more ideas, our first steps along the Path to Paris began with a great webinar.

Hosted by Project Director Joshua Wiese, we laid out the Path ahead with some amazing support from GCCA Executive Director and former UN Negotiator, Antonio Hill.

Antonio shared with some key insights into why 2015 is a turning point for the climate movement, and how the Climate trackers can take a prominent role in the fight this year.

He begins the webinar by noting that 2015 is a “tipping point” year for climate change and especially renewable energy.

Already, renewable energies are now just as cheap as fossil fuels in “19 different markets globally”. Even in the desert country of Dubai, a long-term power purchase contract was signed recently for as little as 5 cents per kilowatt hour, while in Germany, large solar plants deliver power for less than 9 cents.

By comparison, electricity from new coal and gas-fired plants costs between 5 and 10 cents per kilowatt hour and from nuclear plants as much as 11 cents. This flies in the face of myths that fossil fuels are the “more economical” option to fulfil energy demand.

He also highlighted that “In a few years, solar energy plants will deliver the most inexpensive power available in many parts of the world. By 2025, the cost of producing power in central and southern Europe will have declined to between 4 and 6 cents per kilowatt hour, and by 2050 to as low as 2 to 4 cents.” Check it out for yourself.

When we then look at the other side of the coin, coal, the biggest single global contributor to global warming, is dying a rapid death. Take Peabody Energy, one of the world’s biggest coal companies. They have been suffering lately due to the price of coal dropping so much around the world.

Peabody traded at around $88 a share in May of 2008 and was trading around $7.80 on Friday. Arch traded at around $75 a share and is stuck around $1.10 now. Alpha Natural Resources rose to nearly $105 a share in May of 2008 and traded Friday at $1.17, a drop of almost 900%. This is on the back of massive coal price drops all around the world. 

This is of course on the back of a massive global Divestment movement. Did you hear that the Church of England recently announced it would divest £12m from tar sands oil and thermal coal plants.

And not to mention the fact that right now, every country in the world is making commitments to significantly cut its emissions after 2020. We’ve been covering some of those commitments already on Adopt a Negotiator.

After mapping this out for us, Antonio then turned to discuss why the Climate trackers are so important. That’s when I started to get excited.  He said, that by sharing your voices, we’ll not only amplify this transition that is already underway, but “you’ll help people around the world better understand how and why climate change is relevant to them”.

You’ll also be explaining “why the solutions are relevant”. Take the post-2020 commitments as an example: most people don’t even know they’re happening right now, and we critically need you to talk about “what’s possible, the benefits of action, the opportunities countries and communities can and should seize by taking part in climate action”.

“Through raising awareness, setting off debates and shaping conversations in the media, we can raise pressure on decision makers to ensure that those climate action plans at the national level, down to the local, help us create the futures we want and deserve.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Check it out below.

As Antonio says, “May is the month before one of the biggest rounds of negotiations prior to Paris. It is also the month that many countries are crystalizing their plans to share with the world. That makes it an important opportunity for us to push our governments to take bold action. Action strong enough to meet the challenge”.

“In some places, the important job is to defend the progress we’ve secured and help push for more. In others, it’s to push for first steps to be bold ones, helping people understand the stakes – threats and opportunities – that come with inaction or action.”

That’s why we’re beginning our first #Call4Climate action of 2015 now:

Think of 1 policy change you want to see;1 movement you want to support; or 1 decision you believe your government has to make right NOW.

Publish your idea on a media platform that is not your own (not Facebook or your own blog) by June 1st. 

Submit it to this form, and use the #Call4Climate hashtag to share it on Facebook and Twitter.

…as you might have noticed, we were also joined by Anna Perez Catala and Leehi Yona. They are two inspirational trackers from last year. We’ll be posting an update from them tomorrow…

About Chris Wright