Time for Feeling Powerless in the Face of Climate Chaos Is Over

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Time for Feeling Powerless in the Face of Climate Chaos Is Over

'This could be a turning point—if we push for it.'

The global climate justice movement, writes Boeve, must seize this moment in which "renewable energy is becoming a revolutionary economic force that could power a just transition away from fossil fuels." (Image: via World Future Society)

2015 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, and this December hundreds of world governments will meet in Paris to try to strike a global climate agreement. It will be the biggest gathering of its kind since 2009, and it's potentially a big deal for our global movement.

"No matter what happens in the negotiating halls, we must build power to hold them accountable to the principles of justice and science."

In Paris our governments are supposed to agree on a shared target for climate action, based on the national plans governments have been putting together all year—but the numbers just aren’t adding up. Everything being discussed will allow too many communities that have polluted the least to be devastated by floods, rising sea levels and other disasters.

This has the makings of a global failure of ambition—and at a moment when renewable energy is becoming a revolutionary economic force that could power a just transition away from fossil fuels. Click here to join us in telling world leaders to keep fossil fuels underground and finance a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Our movement has grown tremendously—and it shows every time a new leader stands up to declare we must keep fossil fuels under ground, or a university, church or pension fund divests from fossil fuels. The problem is the power of the fossil fuel industry.

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The Paris negotiations could potentially send a signal that world governments are serious about keeping fossil fuels in the ground. If they fail, it will embolden the fossil fuel industry and expose more communities to toxic extraction and climate disasters.

The solutions are obvious: we need to stop digging up and burning fossil fuels, start building renewable energy everywhere we can, and make sure communities on the front lines of climate change have the resources they need to respond to the crisis.

This could be a turning point—if we push for it. Click here to join our global call for action to world governments, telling them to commit to keeping at least 80% of fossil fuels underground, and financing a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

The time for feeling powerless in the face of climate chaos is over. No matter what happens in the negotiating halls, we must build power to hold them accountable to the principles of justice and science.

After many months of consultation with our global network, here is the plan for what I call "The Road Through Paris": the plan to grow our movement and hold world leaders accountable to the action we need.

"The solutions are obvious: we need to stop digging up and burning fossil fuels, start building renewable energy everywhere we can, and make sure communities on the front lines of climate change have the resources they need to respond to the crisis."

First, in September we will launch a global framework to grow the movement before and after the Paris talks. On September 10th, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and others will be joined by global movement leaders in New York City to lay out our vision for the road ahead. Then on September 26th communities across the globe will hold workshops to plan for the coming months of action. After that, I think we’ll see several months of escalating activity as communities drive the message home that we can't wait for action.

The talks in Paris start on November 30th, and run for 2 weeks. But before the talks start, the world will stand together in a weekend of global action, paired with an enormous march in the streets of Paris. During the talks, 350's team on the ground will do their best to help keep you in the loop on the most important developments. And when the talks wrap up, we're planning a big action in Paris on December 12th to make sure the people—not the politicians—have the last word.

But most importantly, we won't stop there. I want you to mark your calendars for the month of April in 2016. That's when we will mobilize in a global wave of action unlike any we've seen before. Not one big march in one city, not a scattering of local actions—but rather a wave of historic national and continent-wide mobilizations targeting the fossil fuel projects that must be kept in the ground, and backing the energy solutions that will take their place.

In the 6 years 350.org has been around, this is the most ambitious plan we've ever proposed. But ambition is what is called for, along with courage, faith in each other and the readiness to respond when disaster strikes, plans change, or politicians fail to lead.

We are nearer than ever to the changes we’ve been fighting to see. I hope to stand with you in the coming months to see them through.

May Boeve

May Boeve is the Executive Director of 350.org.

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