Every year we see the impacts of climate change grow. Effects that scientists predicted years ago, such as the temperature change causing floods, droughts and storms, are all happening now. The poorest people and countries are the ones having to deal with the consequences! To reduce the effects, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the burning of fossil fuels and the cutting down of forests.

A brief history of climate talks:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body that assesses the state of climate change. It was created in 1988 to provide the world with a clear view on climate change and its impacts. In 2013, the IPCCs report said that it is 95% certain that humans are the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s.

COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ and happens every year. COP 20, in 2014, Peru, brought 500 leaders from key United Nations bodies, governments, international & regional companies and leading non-governmental organisations. COP 21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be held in ParisFrance in December 2015. The objective is to create a legally binding, universal agreement on greenhouse gas emissions for all nations of the world.

What are we as Friends of the Earth calling for?

Friends of the Earth are calling for a fair global climate deal. This means rich countries cutting their emissions faster and helping developing countries to change over to clean energy. Friends of the Earth and the rest of the international climate movement will be pushing for the best deal possible in Paris.

However, after the 2009 talks in Copenhagen, the movement is under no illusions that talks will deliver anything close to what we need and what is equitable. So this year is as much about beginning a journey than reaching a destination. It’s more about building a movement than it is about one set of talks. This is why what happens before and after is just as important as what happens during the talks

What events are happening in the ‘run-up to Paris?’

We joined the Time To Act March on 7th March 2015, a successfully sunny day where thousands of campaigners came together in the centre of London, calling on the government to act on climate change. We want large investment in renewables instead of new fossil fuels and a rapid cut to emissions. Julien Pritchard was at the event with Birmingham FOE and said:

I’ve been on quite a few marches climate or other ones, and this was definitely one of the best. The atmosphere was friendly and positive, and it was just a lot of fun. There were lots of people from different groups, including lots of people from non-environmental organisations – trade unions, for example.

Climate March 1

The rally at the end was interesting and, although it was quite long, there were some really interesting and, more importantly, diverse speakers. There is a feeling that the climate movement is on the up again at the moment, in particular with things like the fossil free divestment campaign, and I felt the March really reflected that.”

Climate March 2

There are loads of other events to get involved in this year including:

  • 12-14 June – Basecamp. Friends of the Earth national gathering will host lots of exciting sessions on movement building and the December Paris talks.

  • 17th June – ‘Speak Up!’ Mass Climate Lobby of Parliament. This will be a huge event – a great way to tell new MPs that they need to support tough climate action.

  • 26 September – Global Frackdown Day of Action. Join communities and Friends of the Earth groups around the world calling for a stop to dirty energy and supporting clean energy alternatives. There will be a number of events and actions, linked up with the national and international movement.

  • 30 November – 12 December UNFCCC Climate Talks in Paris.

  • 31 January 2016 – People’s Demands Debate. A national assembly we’ll be co-hosting with other organisations will help agree 3 transformational people’s demands that we will focus on together in 2016.

  • 31 March 2016 – Action on Energy Solutions Trafalgar Square London. This action is aimed at our European leaders and is one of many parallel events happening in cities across Europe.

Hopefully these milestones in the climate campaigning calendar can really help build that climate justice movement up to Paris and beyond!

Josie Lockwood