There is a powerful synergy building between grassroots activism and those who are working with governments and the private sector. The United Nations, companies, investors, activists, environmental groups and coalitions are coming together to call for action on climate change.
We saw the largest climate protest in human history on September 21, 2014. A total of 2,600 events took place in 166 countries around the world as part of a global call for action on Climate Change. In New York City, the People’s Climate Events saw an estimated 400,000 people come together. This involved 1,576 organizations and hundreds of thousands of social media posts. From students to senior citizens, people of every age, ethnicity and ideology were represented at this march. This unprecedented event sent a clear message to leaders at the UN Climate Summit on September 23.
The importance of this march was eloquently summarized by EDF Sr. Vice President of Strategy and Communications Eric Pooley, who said, “This march shot down, once and for all, the old canard that Americans don’t care about climate change. And it reminded me what an extremely big tent the coalition for climate action really is — with plenty of room for groups with vastly different views.”
The 125 heads of state joined business and civic leaders assembled at the UN Climate Summit seemed to get the message as there was real progress not seen at previous summits. The business community joined investment groups and governments in making bold pledges for serious action that included everything from methane reduction to carbon pricing and forest preservation.
Whether taking to the streets and demanding change or working to address market shortcomings and government regulation, millions of people are coalescing to advance action on climate change.
Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp said, “both are absolutely essential to the climate solutions we need.” Krupp went on to say, “a strong outside game needs to be complemented by a strong inside game. To translate people power into action, we need to develop policies and practices that will sharply reduce the greenhouse gas pollutants we’re pumping into our atmosphere.”
As Krupp explained, “Moving the world away from carbon-based energy requires fundamentally changing the economic incentives in our system…”
To assist and support this effort a number of coalitions have been formed including, We Mean Business, Sustainability Charter, Ceres Declaration, and Global Divest-Invest. Some businesses have even pledged to transition entirely to renewable energy for Climate Week NY.
The diverse array of people and organizations that are coming together gives us reason to hope that we may see a global climate treaty in 2015.
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
Business Leadership at the UN Climate Summit
Business and the UN Climate Summit
President Obama’s Address and other Highlights from the U.N. Climate Summit
The People’s Climate March Sets the Stage for the UN Climate Summit
People’s Climate March: Changing the Course of History
The Importance of the UN Climate Summit 2014
The UN Climate Summit: Eight Action Areas
Climate Week NYC: Events and Activities in Support of the UN Climate Summit