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All Eyes on Paris

Me under the Eifel Tower, Paris.

Me under the Eifel Tower, Paris.

I just got back from a backpacking holiday in Continental Europe, where the beautiful Paris was my last destination. Rifling through my emails, today I’ve learnt that over the next two years my attention will be placed on the capital of romance and style  for something a bit more important than budget sightseeing: the next big climate talk will be held in Paris in 2015.

Avaaz, the 23-million-strong global campaign network, sent out a call to arms mass email while I was away entitled ”30 months to save the world”. With great gusto, they explain how the Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2015 has the potential to be a real game changer, and actually could be pretty much our last chance to seal an effective climate deal before it’s too late and ecological tipping points spiral out of control. Their message is that we really need to get it right this time – we can’t afford another flop like Copenhagen 2009 – so we need to globally pull ourselves together in time for this critical summit.

As Avaaz underlines, we have 30 months to get the right, climate-sensitive politicians into power. Helpfully several key countries have general elections within that timeframe. We have 30 months to get climate change and this conference in particular into the media spotlight, into people’s conversations. We need it to be in the headlines, trending on Twitter, on political agendas across the globe.

Here’s a snippet from the email I received:

Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here’s the plan: 

1. Go Political: Elect Climate Leaders

        — 5 crucial countries have elections in the next 30 months. Let’s make sure the right people win, and with the right mandate. Avaaz is one of the only major global advocacy organizations that can be political. And since this fight will be won or lost politically, it could be at some points just us vs. the oil companies to decide who our politicians listen to.

2. Make Hollande a Hero

       — French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit – a powerful position. We have to try every tactic and channel — his personal friends and family, his political constituency, his policy advisors — to make him the hero we need him to be to make the summit a success.

3. Take it to the Next Level

       — The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.

4. Out the Spoilers

       — Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change – funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.

5. Define the Deal

       — Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. We need to invest in top quality policy advice to develop ingenious strategies, mechanisms, and careful compromises so that when the summit arrives, a critical mass of leaders are already bought in to a large part of the deal, and no one can claim that good solutions don’t exist.

They are also asking people to pledge £1 per week to their campaign which will lobby politicians about this conference and raise it’s public profile. They’ll only take the funds if they meet their donation goal, so your pennies won’t go to waste. I’ve decided to pledge with them, please consider doing the same. If not, or even as well, why not do something more pragmatic to raise awareness about this? Make a poster, make a video, write a facebook status, tell your neighbour, email your local councilor, just please do something.

How much can we achieve in 30 months?
It really will be the 11th hour by then, so let’s hope it’s a lot.

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