COP21 Week One: 5 Best New Developments from Paris
From record numbers of Global Climate Marchers, to strong business commitments on climate, not forgetting those ever so tasty croissants, we’ve got plenty to be excited about in neighbouring Paris. Here are the best developments looking back at week 1 of COP21.
1. Largest Ever People’s Climate March
That’s right— the coolest thing about Paris didn’t even happen in Paris. Last year, the 2014 People’s Climate March caught the attention of delegates, leaders, politicians and business leaders around the world when 400,000 people marched the streets of New York City. This year, despite the tragic events in Paris that caused the planned Parisian march to be cancelled, the Global Climate March counted 785,000 people participating in 2,300 actions and events across 175 countries! And when COP21 started, delegates were presented a 3.6 million-signature-strong Avaaz petition pushing for a transition to 100% clean energy by 2050.
This record level of people power has made all the difference between the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP20), and this year’s COP21 in Paris— where the climate movement is being felt by policy makers and negotiators.
2. Largest Gathering of Heads of State, Ever
See a trend here? We’re talking about scale, and momentum. When a UN Climate Conference draws the largest gathering of heads of state to date, it means that there is the political will to do something real and lasting. They’re here because of climate change, and they’re concerned because we’ve voiced our demands for action louder and clearer than ever. As Bill McKibben told us, now that we’ve got them in the room, we have to keep the pressure up more than ever.
3. Divest Movement Tops $3.4 trillion
Another superlative milestone to add to the list: 350.org announced at COP21 that the global divestment movement jumped nearly 1 trillion US Dollars since September to include over 500 institutions representing a new record $3.4 trillion. That’s a huge commitment from cities, public institutions, private companies and more to rid their portfolios of investments in fossil fuels— sending oil interests a clear message that business as usual is coming to an end.
4. Businesses Making Strong Commitments
Businesses have shifted from being obstacles of change to actors and facilitators of a transformative clean energy and low carbon future. They are making commitments to cut emissions and invest in renewables consistent with the kind of commitments countries are making, instituting internal carbon taxes and inspiring fans to take part and take action. What can we say? We’re working hard to do our part, and it feels pretty good.
5. Rethinking 2 Degrees Celsius
The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) represent a major move in the right direction: 150 nations, representing 95% of global emissions, pledging to reduce their levels of carbon pollution. But even as the pledges are counted up, and found to be short of what’s needed to keep warming below 2ºC, those most vulnerable are stepping up to propose an even more ambitious long term goal of 1.5ºC. These developing and small island nations are already facing the worst impacts of climate change, and are standing up for right to exist.
6. BONUS! Croissants Really Are the Best
Hats off to the french; the architecture, the food, the style is never in short supply. But then there are the pastries! How is it that french-made croissants melt in your mouth in a way that makes everyone else's attempts at baking them look (or taste) rather shabby by comparison? Anyway, we're filling our boots here while we can.
Join the Climate Movement!
Join Avaaz, Ben & Jerry’s and millions of citizens from around the world who are calling on leaders of the developed nations and the United Nations to tackle climate change at the upcoming summit in Paris. Our goal is for international leaders to work towards 100% Clean Energy by 2050. This ambitious goal is in line with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) stated need for the elimination of all carbon pollution within the next 85 years. Learn more about the petition.