By Brad Hornick
On November 29—the eve of the Paris Climate Conference, COP21—thousands are slated to gather in Vancouver as part of the Global Climate March in a show of widespread determination to demand real action.
A large coalition of organizations under the banner of Vancouver Climate Convergence are coalescing locally as an expression of Vancouver's desire to see consequential outcomes from the Paris conference.
The climate science is clear. We are facing an unprecedented, extreme, intractable, and imminently catastrophic threat to the life support systems of the planet. Climate change and ecological destruction is by far the most urgent challenge facing us all.
Commitment to climate action is focused on the "two degree target" (and now revised 1.5° C target), widely recognized as a symbol of the "point of no return" that sets the world on a course of runaway climate change and consequent breakdown in economic, political, and social conditions.
In Paris this December, world leaders will meet for the United Nations' Committee of Parties (COP21) negotiations to attempt to rally the world to the cause of changing the direction of our economies and societies to avert moving past the 1.5 degree threshold.
The COP meetings over the past 20 years have failed to set us on course; emissions have risen every year since. There are solid early indications that the upcoming meetings are already falling far short of expectations as aggregate voluntary Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDCs) commit the world to at least a catastrophic 2.7° C rise.
Among the diverse messages that will be expressed at the Global Climate March is that Canadian governmental representatives in Paris must play a leadership role in creating a global consensus to establish and enforce binding targets to keep below 1.5° C rise in temperatures.
Vancouver Climate Convergence is also prepared to organize to bring together individuals and organizations in the long-term after the Paris meetings and the Global Climate March as this is where the real work begins. Climate is only one of many other connected environmental and social issues that must be solved together through concerted and enduring effort.
Among the initiatives that our community and our governments should be called to respond to for the sake of the climate emergency are:
- Challenge the agenda of the large fossil fuel corporations by ending subsidies for fossil fuel development; the immediate moratorium on all new gas, oil, and coal fossil-fuel development infrastructure; and making clear and massive commitments to conservation, renewable energy, energy efficiency retrofitting, reforestation, and the many green jobs that will accrue
- Engage civil society to challenge the climate threat by establishing robust simultaneous top-down and bottom-up processes of meetings and community assemblies that involve First Ministers, ministries, municipalities, indigenous representatives, labour unions, and a wide range of other civil society participation
- Develop a strategic action plan to aggressively shift from the current high carbon economic development model to one that ensures full decarbonization and democratization of the economy and which respects and protects indigenous, civil, labour and human rights, poverty alleviation, and economic equity
- Enshrine Canada's greenhouse gas reductions in domestic law with clearly defined and strict implementation and enforcement mechanisms
- Instigate a massive campaign of global cooperation to transfer adaptation funds to countries (in the global south) and peoples in Canada and worldwide most vulnerable to and effected by climate impacts, as well as build democratic community resilience against the potential for economic and social crisis in the midst of climate crisis
Significant action must be taken for an epochal shift in societal priorities to prevent any further increases in global temperatures and to move towards a massive conservation campaign to reduce anthropogenic gases in our oceans and atmosphere.
We invite people and organizations with constructive input and good intentions to join us. Please come to the Global Climate March in Vancouver on November 29 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.