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  • Fran 4:07 pm on February 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: campaign, cliamte change, Copenhagen,   

    A second chance 

    It’s a great pleasure to welcome our guest blogger Emily Farnworth, Co-founder and Director of Counter Culture. Emily reveals why there’s new hope for climate campaigning.

    The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was a defining moment for climate change campaigners. Unfortunately, it was not a good one. A global deal for addressing climate change was not reached. And instead of creating momentum for action, the summit turned “climate” into a dirty word that mainstream media pushed off their front pages.

    But, it looks as though a second chance is on the horizon.

    During his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama left no doubt about his intent to act “now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

    It is not just the commitment that it is important. Obama has crafted a story about a better world. The narrative calls for energy security, creating jobs, building resilience in the face of extreme weather and securing a safe future for our children.

    Obama’s story does not depend on people having a deep understanding of the science behind climate change. It connects with people in a different way. It touches people as they think about their loved ones fighting in a war over oil, losing a job, suffering flooding in their home, watching their fields shrivel up after months of drought – and fearing for what life will like be for their children and grandchildren.

    There is a huge opportunity to build on the momentum that Obama has created in the US. It is time to pull out all the stops. This is the moment for campaigners to play their role to ensure we create a tipping point for a low carbon economy.

    Many campaigns are already on the move. Having learned the lessons of Copenhagen, activists are abandoning their obsession with stark scientific facts [2° Celsius, tonnes of CO2, parts per million] and are leading, instead, with an emotional connection to the issue of climate change.

    Bill McKibben (see our blog New math for climate skeptics) is focused on rallying support where it really matters – in America’s colleges and communities. His Go Fossil Free initiative is clear and unapologetic. It is a sign that going back to grassroots campaigning and building relationships with individuals is key to getting the outcome we want.

    Beating people around the head with the blunt facts about climate science has got us only so far. It is time to learn the lessons of 2009 and craft more sophisticated campaigns. We need to tell stories to connect with people on an emotional level. We need to reach wider audiences – and create dialogues that are meaningful to them. We need to craft focused, effective and targeted messaging that creates real action.

    We need to communicate climate change in a way that ensures we do not waste this second chance.

     
  • Fran 10:23 am on January 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Copenhagen, NGO,   

    Five for Ten 

    Let’s raise a glass to the new decade. Happy New Limbo! Oh dear – no meaningful climate change agreement and at the same time, a pressing need for action. Though uncomfortable, the vacuum does give us space to reflect on last year and focus on the future. And it’s not all bad.

    So here are five key trends for 2010 to banish the Copenhagen blues.

    1. Investment in cleantech flourishes

    In 2009 the cleantech sector attracted more venture capital ($5.6bn) than any other, including biotech and software. And research by Deloitte and Cleantech predicts that irrespective of Copenhagen’s outcomes, investment will continue to grow and strengthen in 2010.

    2. Businesses place new emphasis on ethics
    With the banking sector still reeling from the financial crisis, most companies want to avoid the ‘socially useless’ label. MBA students are discussing morality, the pharmaceuticals sector is addressing human rights/health and IT and telecommunications will focus on bridging the digital divide. But will finance change its spots?GSK

    Andrew Witty, Glaxo Smithkline’s CEO, on poverty

    3. Scientists engage enthusiastically
    Climategate sent shock waves throughout the scientific community, whose meek response was so last decade. 2010 will see them get communications know-how, engage pro-actively – and watch their backs.

    4. Relations with China defrost
    Copenhagen’s low point was surely the key negotiations at which China’s premier failed to show, leaving his vice-foreign minister He Yafei to block a series of proposals from frustrated world leaders. Apparently blushing over its diplomatic bungle, China has removed He Yafei, giving hope to warmer relations with the West.

    5. Environmental NGOs target developing countries
    The pressing need to combat poverty has traditionally given developing countries holy cow status in the eyes of environmental NGOs, which rarely criticise their stance on climate change. In 2010 we’ll see a major shift in NGO scrutiny as global economic power transfers to China, India and Brazil.

    We’ll be tracking our predictions throughout the year – and in the meantime, let’s hear yours!

     
    • Maura 4:00 pm on January 13, 2010 Permalink

      Dear Fran: I agree with your first and second points wholeheartedly and I’m glad that you brought these discrete trends to light. In fact, I think you might have even understated the immanent impact of cleantech and ethical finance on our society in sustainable transition. Ethical Markets Media (www.ethicalmarkets.com) announced last month that private investment in cleantech companies (solar, wind, geothermal, ocean/hydro, energy efficiency and storage, and agriculture) totalled over USD $1.248 trillion since 2007. It’s meaningful to point out that nuclear, “clean coal”, carbon capture and sequestration, and biofuels were intentionally omitted from their accounting for their reputation as band-aid solutions and/or dubious sustainable benefits. George Soros alone has committed USD $1 billion for investment in clean tech companies.

      Tomorrow, in New York City, the UN will host the 2010 Investor Summit on Climate Risk: Developing a Low-Carbon Economy, Leveraging Private Investment and we should not expect the same wet noodle response from this crowd as we saw in Copenhagen. This is a high-level forum for investors to analyze emerging investment strategies and opportunities resulting from climate change. Hundreds of institutional investors and asset managers from around the world, representing trillions of dollars in assets, attended previous Summits in 2003, 2005 and 2008. Indeed, ethical finance would be easier with government support, but so many of our advancements in sustainability thus far are thanks to corporate initiatives acting purely on profit motives, not by government mandate. If the case for action on climate change can be made in the finance community tomorrow, it may in fact, be the conference that actually catalyzes the shift we seek albeit with less fanfare.

      I’m curious to check back with your blog to see how our predictions unfold!

  • Astrid von Schmeling 7:01 am on December 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brazil, climate, Copenhagen, Friends of the Earth, Reinfeldt, Schwarzenegger   

    Once upon a time in the land of H.C. Andersen 

    No global deal sealed. No binding targets. Nopenhagen.

    These headlines tell a story just about as depressing as Hans C. Andersen’s Christmas saga, The Little Match Girl. But instead of dwelling on an ending that many foretold, let’s celebrate the drama of Copenhagen. As the last blog of the year, One Stone lauds the theatre and cast of characters of 12 days in the land of H.C. Andersen.

    Best Surprise

    Unexpected moments are few and far between in the well-orchestrated world of politics. But there are exceptions. We salute Brazilian President Lula da Silva for delivering one of COP15’s great surprises.

    Putting wealthy nations to shame, Lula da Silva promised to contribute to the $30bn of aid for developing nations over the next three years, announcing “I have not said this at home, and not even to my team here in Copenhagen, but if it is necessary for Brazil to tap money to other countries, we will be willing to participate in the (UN) finance mechanisms – if we reach a global agreement here in Copenhagen today.”

    Was this improv the smartest move? Maybe not. Is this contribution better invested in the Amazon forests? No doubt. His pre-COP15 promise to cut deforestation by 80% will need all the financial support it can get. But unexpected moments make for great drama.

    When politics trumped science

    Think how this narrative would have taken a different twist if the U.S. public had a better understanding of the science of climate change. A joint poll from the Washington Post and ABC news on 18th December showed that four in 10 Americans place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment.

    With no support back home, Obama settled for a three-page agreement with no short or midterm goals. Before the next climate summit in Mexico, the President would do well to invest in raising awareness on the implications and opportunities that lie in proactive engagement. Only then may these antagonists morph into protagonists.

    The unsung heroes

    If anyone came out of Copenhagen with their dignity intact, it is the representatives of the many NGOs that patiently, courageously and persistently reminded decision-makers what was at stake. Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey and most other NGOs were not allowed to join in on the final days in the Center, although business representatives were permitted access. NGOs deserved to share in the spotlight. What was going on behind the scenes to prevent them assuming their rightful place on the stage?

    Roz

    No story is complete without an unsung hero. We recognize the courage of Roz Savage, who rowed across the Pacific Ocean in 2008 and walked from London to Brussels; to inspire people to walk more and drive less—and to match her 10,000 oar strokes each day with 10,000 steps. After facing peril on the seas and enduring the trek across a grey northern Europe, this story took an unexpected turn on the streets of one of the world’s safest cities. At a Copenhagen event, Roz’ coat and bag were stolen, including laptop, iPhone and credit cards and was unable to continue to blog on her experiences of the event. The irony of it all!

    No knight in shining armor

    A knight in shining armor was sorely lacking in this fairy tale. Though there were a couple of potential candidates, it certainly wasn’t Barack Obama. Our vote goes to EU Chair and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt—he never compromised on the importance of binding targets, and locked an agreement among European leaders for $10.8 bn financial support to developing nations. But the European ambition was sidelined by the clash of the titans, U.S. and China.

    And what about Governor Schwarzenegger? His presence at COP15 brought a welcome sign of engagement among American politicians, but for some, his rhetoric was at times comical. We celebrate Schwarzenegger’s practical approach. He was right to say that agreement between all 193 countries is just a dream, and we laud his  challenge to decision-makers to regroup in California to forge a way forward on the sub-national level. But he’ll only earn knighthood if his invitation is connected to binding and ambitious targets.

    So cast your vote—who is your villain, and whom your hero? What were your high and low points and what drama awaits in the sequel?

    Meanwhile, like Arnold, “we’ll be back.” (in the first week in January, in fact).

    From all of us at One Stone, happy holidays. And here’s hoping for a better ending to the climate story in 2010.

     
    • Elisabeth E. Petersen 10:19 am on December 22, 2009 Permalink

      Well, hard not to be depressed by this lousy outcome. On top of that, my conclusion from visiting some business-oriented side-events at COP 15 is that the top guys of the large corporations doesn’t have a clue about the urgency of this topis, they’re just serving us a number of platitudes. The disruptive change thats needed (and that will get us if we don’t go and get it) will come from SMEs in the emerging markets. Do these companies want to die? Get flexible, start changing! (Or should we all be moving to India/China?)

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