Back in 2007, we organized a day of creative events across the United States with a simple, and at the time, completely “radical” message: “Step it Up, Congress: Cut Carbon 80% by 2050.” We’d gotten the numbers from a paper by NASA’s Dr. James Hansen and picked it for a simple reason: that’s what the science at the time said was necessary.

Yesterday, as part of Climate Week here in New York, regional leaders and mayors representing 313 million people and more than $8.7 trillion in gross domestic product committed to the 80% by 2050 goal. That radical demand has become utterly and thoroughly mainstream.


The commitments are just words on paper. It will take constant pressure, and deep organizing, to make sure these politicians keep moving in the right direction. We also know now that 80% by 2050 isn’t nearly enough: we need to cut faster and further, and think much more deeply about how we don’t just reduce emissions, but address the root causes of the climate crisis.

But damn if it still doesn’t feel amazing to watch a demand go from placards to policy. It’s a reminder to trust ourselves as we put forward today’s “radical” asks to keep fossil fuels in the ground and move to 100% renewable energy. The revolutionary can become the status quo before you know it.

2007 to 2015. Those eight years seem like both a long and short amount of time. Short in the long arc of history; too long for the short time left we have to prevent catastrophe. Our work is far from over, but it’s hopeful to see some of the seeds we’ve planted starting to sprout.

For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram