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'Wake Up': Climate Campaigners Tell World Leaders Liberation From Fossil Fuel Industry's Grip Only Solution

"The IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C makes it clear that you're either on the side of science or on the side of the fossil fuel lobby."

Phlomena Telker stands on what was her covered porch after Hurricane Michael tore the roof of her home as it passed through the area on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida.

Phlomena Telker stands on what was her covered porch after Hurricane Michael tore the roof of her home as it passed through the area on October 10, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As Floridians and Georgians in the U.S. wake up as just the latest global victims of the kind of storm that scientists say will become only more frequent and powerful in years ahead as the Earth's temperature continues to climb, international advocates for aggressive climate action announced plans on Thursday to directly rally political leaders and decision-makers around the world to "wake up," end their support for the fossil fuel industry, and urgently usher in an era of dramatic and urgent transformation "before it's too late."

By hand-delivering the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released earlier this week, to local and national leaders worldwide, members and allies of 350.org aim to make sure that no politician or institution of power can escape the "hard truths" put forth by the world's scientific community: that there is only a small window left to institute radical change to the way humanity produces and consumes energy and that leaving the remaining oil, coal, and gas reserves in the ground is essential if catastrophic warming is to be avoided.

"The fossil fuel industry is knowingly causing the climate crisis," said Payal Parekh, 350.org's program director, of the IPCC report and the group's effort.

"This is a time to use our fear as fuel, and ratchet up our determination. Let's take a good, hard, clear-eyed look at the fucked-up future we are headed for, and decide — collectively — to leap to a safer, better place."
—Avi Lewis, The Leap

"The scientific and economic case for a global transition away from fossil fuels is stronger than ever," Parekh added, "yet national governments, financial institutions and other centers of economic and political power keep propping up this polluting industry. The IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C makes it clear that you're either on the side of science or on the side of the fossil fuel lobby. We're delivering copies of it worldwide to remind decision-makers that it's high time they made a choice."

While the Republican Party in the United States remains among the last—but certainly the most powerful—political forces on the planet that will not acknowledge the climate threat and refuses to do anything on par with what the scientific warnings are demanding, climate campaigners have said that ultimately it will be the collective action of people who will turn the tide and overpower the stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry.

"The alarm bells for climate have been ringing for decades, but as we come face-to-face with the horrific impacts scientists warned of, the excuses for inaction really are up," wrote Hannah McKinnon, a climate activist and writer for Oil Change International, this week. "Now more than ever, the movements that have been built will need to work together to demand a just and equitable transformation to the safe and clean energy future we need."

And Avi Lewis, filmmaker and strategic director of The Leap organization, noted in his reaction to the IPCC report, "This is the most hopeful note: more and more people are coming to the conclusion that this escalating crisis, ever-harder to deny, can galvanize change on the scale that is really needed. Nothing less will do. The idea of a 'Green New Deal' is gaining momentum around the world."

The conclusions of the report, Lewis acknowledged, is "white-knuckle terrifying stuff," but argued that the key finding is that the "worst effects of global warming can still be prevented" if humanity can rise to meet the urgency of the transformative change necessary. 

"This is a time to use our fear as fuel, and ratchet up our determination," Lewis wrote. "Let's take a good, hard, clear-eyed look at the fucked-up future we are headed for, and decide — collectively — to leap to a safer, better place."

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