On Saturday, as our Education Ambassadors and staff were flying back to the U.S., 196 countries finalized and signed the Paris Agreement – the first global climate accord that commits all signatories to climate action. As news of the agreement spread, first to the halls of the Blue Zone – where negotiators and observers clapped and cracked Champagne – and then to the streets of Paris and beyond – where tens of thousands gathered to celebrate the agreement and challenge it to go further – and finally to our Climate Generation team when their planes touched down in the U.S., the historic importance of the moment was undeniable. The international community now has an action plan in place to address climate change that is “commensurate with the scale of the threat,” as New York Times reporter Justin Gillis puts it.
But as many have recognized in the days since the agreement, the pledges and promises made in the COP21 document are not enough by themselves to save the planet. In fact, they would lead to a world nearly twice as warm and climate-impacted as the aspirational 1.5ºC target laid out in the Paris text. Now that the foundation for action is in place, however, there is much that we can all do to ensure that the Paris Agreement lives up to its commitment to limiting temperature rise to 1.5ºC. The true assessment of the success or failure of COP21 will be years in the future, when we can look back and see what actions it inspired and how the world responded to its call to action. For some preliminary reflections, check out the web recording of our post-COP21 panel discussion, which took place last night at the U of M.
What can we all do to make the goals embedded in the COP21 agreement a reality? Our Education Ambassadors and staff reflect on this question in their final reflection blogs, and their commitments to action are inspiring examples of how to continue the momentum created by the COP21 climate talks. The answer for each of us might be different, but the important thing is that we all get to work to realize the better future that this agreement has made possible. You can start by joining us in signing the Paris Pledge for Action to make your climate commitment.
By the Numbers
- 1 visit to the U.S. Embassy in Paris to meet with the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Dr. John Holdren
- 8 cafe roundtables
- 14 archived webcasts
- 23 media hits
- 127 blog posts
- 196 signatories to the Paris Agreement
- 200+ croissants consumed
- 400 recipients of our daily Window Into Paris digest
- 700 students reached directly
- 750 student and citizen position statements delivered
In the News
Climate Generation’s statement on the Paris Agreement, finalized and voted into international law on Saturday, was quoted in a Southwest Journal article recapping local reactions to COP21. The article also highlighted our panel discussion, “Reflections from the Paris Climate Talks,” which took place on Wednesday at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.
Education Ambassador Blogs
Beckie Alexander: We Need to Hear Each Other’s’ Stories
Billy Koenig: Tipping Points
Nicole Anderson: Awareness and Action
Kathy Bosiak: Children Are the Future; We Must Teach Them Well
Kristy Otte: The Momentum Doesn’t Stop at COP21
Lauren Leith: Back in the U.S.
Peter Johnson: A Closing Window for Climate Action
Phillip Haberman: Beyond COP21: My Commitment to Action
Roy Lander: Committed
Shannon Bartholomew: A New Hope
Nicole Rom: Historic Climate Agreement Reached in Paris
Janet Brown: High Ambition
Kristen Poppleton: After the Celebration, What Does “Let’s Get to Work” Mean?
Check out our webcast archive to view all 10 Education Ambassador and partner webcasts with their classrooms, which occurred Tuesday-Thursday of this past week. You can also view the webinar version of Wednesday’s panel discussion here. (WebEx software installation required. Follow onscreen prompts.)
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From all of us at Climate Generation, thank you and here’s to a wonderful 2016!