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Monday was a historic day in Paris, just two weeks after terrorist attacks in the city, when the largest gathering of heads of state ever kicked off the United Nation’s Climate Conference (COP21). The goal of the conference is nothing short of saving the world from runaway climate change.
Leading up to the conference, more than 150 nations, representing 95% of global emissions, have pledged to reduce their levels of carbon pollution. For the first time, both developing and developed countries, like US and China, have agreed to reductions. While the pledges proposed by countries don’t yet deliver the kind of reductions required to keep warming below 2ºC, they do represent a critical first step in the global fight against climate change.
It’s nearly unanimous that we need to do something now about climate change. It’s the “what to do” and “how to do it” that is yet to be determined. What we’ll be looking for in the next two weeks is a mechanism for all the countries to revisit their pledges every five years, and ensure we’re constantly increasing the carbon reduction commitments, especially as technology improves and the costs of renewables decrease. We also hope to see concrete commitments to support developing countries and poorer communities already being unequally impacted by climate change.
What’s clear as the climate conference kicks off in Paris is that there’s much at stake, and a lot to cover in the next 12 days. From which clean technology strategy to pursue (or which billionaire will invest the most in renewables) to when and how much fossil fuels to extract, there’s no end of details to work out. But it’s also clear that, regardless of the final outcome here, Paris is just the beginning, not the end.
President Obama was one of the first world leaders to address the opening session of COP21. He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., saying, “For I believe… that there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us.” He closed the address to world leaders on a much more practical note, saying, “Let’s get to work.”
We agree, let’s make sure we’re not too late, and let’s all get to work to ensure a safe and sustainable future. Your help in getting the Avaaz petition delivered with over 3.6 million signatures has shown the world that we won’t settle for anything less than a renewable, fossil fuel-free future. The world’s leaders are listening. That’s why we’ve got to continue increasing the pressure, right through (and beyond) Paris. And it’s why we’ve got to continue to sign the petition for 100% clean energy by 2050— our best possible way forward to a sustainable world for future generations.
Stay tuned right here for updates and stories from the COP21.
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