We’re calling on politicians, businesses, and public institutions to “pick up the pace” at the close of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.
“There’s growing momentum for a fossil free world, but we need to pick up the pace,” said 350.org Executive Director, May Boeve. “We heard a lot of the right commitments this week, but on the wrong timelines. We don’t need action in 2050, we need it now. Rhetoric isn’t going to cut it anymore. We’re going to be pushing hard to turn the promises made this week into real, immediate action on the ground.”
— mayboeve (@mayboeve) September 14, 2018
The summit was convened by California Governor Jerry Brown to showcase climate action and spur a wave of commitments by actors other than national governments. Hundreds of new commitments and announcements came out of the Summit, but the cumulative action is still far from meeting the 1.5°C target agreed to by world governments.
350.org and allies around the world kicked off the summit week with a major mobilization, Rise for Climate, on 8 September that saw over 900 events in 95 countries, including major marches in Paris, Copenhagen and in San Francisco that brought tens of thousands of people to the streets calling for a fossil free world. Grassroots actions continued throughout the week, with protests targeting California Governor Jerry Brown for his refusal to stop new fossil fuel development, and actions targeting corporations who were attempting to use the summit for greenwash.
We’ve shut down the entrance to Jerry Brown’s #GCAS2018 rising up against false solutions with our to-do list of real community solutions to fight the climate crisis #ItTakesRoots #Sol2Sol #RiseForClimate #CommunitiesNotCorporations pic.twitter.com/BmnXSxN5YR
— CEJA (@cejapower) September 13, 2018
Activists see their influence in how much of the summit focused on the task of transitioning the world’s economy away from fossil fuels towards 100% renewable energy. Many new cities committed to 100% renewable energy targets as part of the summit: an unprecedented wave of commitments came from East European and Central Asian cities, such as Zhytomyr and Lviv in Ukraine, and Kutaisi, the second largest city of Georgia, as activists and citizens worldwide put pressure on local governments to enable a renewable energy transition in their communities.
New York City is the biggest city in the country and that’s why we’re setting big goals: We will invest $4 billion of our pension funds in climate solutions. It’s time to unlock the power of the grassroots. It’s time for every city to join us. #GCAS2018 pic.twitter.com/aG3ZHhvM5O
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) September 14, 2018
“Committing to go fossil free is clearly the new benchmark for climate leadership,” said Boeve. “The most important and high profile commitments at the summit were all focused on the challenge of transitioning from fossil fuels towards 100% renewable energy for all. We’re going to be looking to the UN Climate Talks and future forums like this summit to help build ongoing momentum in that direction. It’s up to our generation to end the era of fossil fuels, and having seen all the public mobilization this last week, I believe we’re up to the challenge.”
As the summit wrapped up, Hurricane Florence was making landfall in North Carolina as a deadly hurricane and super typhoon Mangkhut, 2018’s strongest storm, hit the Philippines, while at least six other large storms were affecting the tropics all over the planet. These climate disasters are a stark reminder that climate change requires everyone to step up their game, to prevent such extreme weather events from becoming even more frequent and more deadly.
Recent storms are a strong reminder. People’s homes and livelihoods around the world are already destroyed. “Every one of us can be a superhero if we continue to struggle together, especially when it seems so dire.” https://t.co/pDPMYtyqBQ @payal350 pic.twitter.com/q92Mf0wc9i
— 350 dot org (@350) September 14, 2018
Looking forward, 350.org and their allies are promising to intensify in the struggle against the fossil fuel industry. They anticipate this October’s release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report on 1.5°C will only strengthen the case for the need to immediately transition away from fossil fuels. And with recent victories, like the win against the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline in Canada, they see momentum on their side.
On Friday night, following the conclusion of the summit in San Francisco, 350.org and Pathway to Paris will be holding a concert to celebrate the momentum towards a fossil free world.