The response to the climate deal signed last week in Paris has been overwhelmingly positive, though it is not without detractors. America’s right wing is toeing its usual line and Jim Hansen, the father of US climate awareness, called it ‘a fraud’ over its lack of concrete action.
In my mind, though, the success of the deal can be summarized in one line, taken from US president Barack Obama’s statement on the deal: “I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world.”
This deal is an ideological and rhetorical foundation for climate action, an acknowledgement of its scientific necessity and of the growing worldwide movement for climate justice.
It is not a guarantee of any specific change.
Its success lies squarely on the shoulders of the same movement that made it possible, on unslacking popular energy behind real and lasting change.
Let that graph sink in for a second. If every country were to fulfill their pledges according to a full and honest reporting of the data, we would be done with the easy half of the deal’s goal. That’s a great deal of progress from the coal-fired world of the twentieth century, but a long way off from a viable African continent, from keeping low-lying islands above water, from maintaining a stable food supply.
Real climate action rests, has always rested, on everyday people. It’s up to us to close the gap between rhetoric and reality, to ensure that our nations’ governments fulfill their promises and push even harder for a livable planet.
Get involved with your local 350 group here! (Or start your own)
Footage from Eugene’s Climate March to open the talks, which was promoted by the national 350 group.
Video Credit: Taylor Mordon & crew and 350 Eugene