For Immediate Release
Citizen Pressure Making an Impact in Durban
WASHINGTON - As the global climate talks in Durban come down their last 48 hours, citizen pressure here at the talks and around the world seems to be making a big impact. It's far to early to tell what the final outcome of these talks are going to be, but over the course of Thursday afternoon we've seen some movement away from the most damaging proposals that the US and others have put on the table.
Just yesterday, the United States was actively pushing countries to delay a new climate treaty until 2020, a move that would have effectively slammed the door on avoiding catastrophic climate change. They were also lobbying heavily against the Kyoto Protocol, the one legally binding framework the world has for cutting emissions.
These moves sparked international outrage. Together with our allies at Avaaz, 350.org sent out a global petition pushing the US to back away from the 2020 timeline, gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures. Here at the talks, African youth delivered a letter to the US delegation asking them to "not sign our death sentence in Durban." Here's a photo:
And less than an hour ago, Abigail Borah, a student from Middlebury College in Vermont was ejected from the plenary for interrupting US Negotiator Todd Stern's speech. "I am speaking on behalf of the United States, because our negotiators are not," said Abigail, before being ejected by security. After her speech, the plenary ERUPTED in thunderous applause.
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.