Hope is Back

I am pleased to welcome Julie Johnston as a contributor to BoomerWarrior.Org. Julie is the creator of the Compassion Climate Action blog and the GreenHeart Education website. She and her husband Peter Carter are currently very active with the Climate Emergency Countdown initiative. In ‘Hope is Back’ Julie argues that the climate change movement has reached a turning point. (Rolly Montpellier ~ Editor)

We are all connected. Each baby born carries a miracle inside. A unique purpose and that miracle is promised to one person and one person alone. We are voyagers set on a course towards destiny, to find the one person our miracle is meant for. But be warned: as we seek out the light, darkness gathers and the eternal contest between good and evil is not fought with great armies… but one life at a time. (from the movie Winter’s Tale)

Hope is Back

Hope is Back, boomer warrior

The one friend I have whom I can talk to about the bleakness of our climate-changed future is feeling so low, she told me recently, that she’s in the bell jar. So she’s feeling pretty fragile.

But I’ve realized that the tiny glimmer of hope that’s been peeking into the dark tunnel ahead, well, maybe if we adjust our eyes, we can use that glimmer to light our path.

There’s the news that the IPCC’s scenario RCP (“Really Cool Plan”?) 2.6 (especially when combined with some excellent suggestions from Climate Action Network International’s new position statement, so RCP2.6+) presents the possibility of keeping global average temperature increases within a survivable range. (The oft touted 2ºC limit would be catastrophic and deadly.)

There’s also evidence that more and more people are “getting” it. At a recent convention of Canada’s Green Party, it seemed the strongest, loudest and longest applause came when leader Elizabeth May spoke about the urgent need to deal with climate change.

Different types of people are entering the fray. “Masters of the Universe” (today’s version of the captains of industry of yesteryear) are meeting to explain that climate change is Risky Business.

The entertainment industry is starting to take climate change seriously (if in funny ways; Jon Stewart and John Oliver, anyone?)

American President Obama is steppin’ it up on climate change, in a dance with China that, if they don’t step on each other’s toes, could lead to major movement toward decreasing emissions. Okay, so they still don’t get the “zero carbon” part of the dance but at least they’re twirling on the dance floor together. (See Key Achievements of U.S.-China Climate Change Cooperation Under the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.)

Parents in the US are starting to demand scientific teaching of climate science in schools. (What a concept! Apparently one that Wyoming cannot grasp.) Check out the Climate Science Students’ Bill of Rights.

And the Climate Psychologist (Margaret Klein) has developed a mobilization campaign, to get people motivated by joining a movement (think WWII). Read the full strategy document here.

Plus, the deniers are just getting sillier and sillier! To wit:

There is no global warming. There is climate change. This melting is caused by the underground volcano’s..We are starting a mini ice age due to the sun’s inactivity..This is all a money thing for the bigwigs..Pollution is poison, we are killing our planet. This is not made by us. This is a nature process..We cant stop it. We can stop Fukushima. sharon b, ky,usa   18/07/2014 06:55

So folks, maybe, just maybe, it’s starting to happen. Can we create a crescendo of public outcry that convinces negotiators at the December 2014 UN climate conference in Lima to adopt the RCP2.6+ for the text of the all-important agreement that will be negotiated in Paris in 2015?

Let’s start here and now:    * * * **  ** * ***  ** * ** *** *** ** *
                                      * * * * *     * *      * * **** **
                                 * * RCP2.6+  * ** * * !!!
                                 RCP2.6+  ** *** * ** **** ** * ***
                            RCP2.6+                                *** * **     *** **     * * *** **
                  RCP2.6+                                                 
RCP2.6+

I’ll tell you something that should chill your blood. No matter how far we tip the scales our way, no matter how many of them we turn dark, nothin’ seems to break their capacity for hope. They pass it back and forth like the flu at a preschool fair. We’re losing, Lucifer. One bright star at a time, we’re losing. (from the movie Winter’s Tale)

Which means we just might be winning!

This blog article was originally posted in Compassionate Climate Action.
_____

The Comeback of Hope, boomer warriorJulie Johnston believes that compassion will be what saves us … compassion for all those who are the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming, compassion for our children, compassion for all the children of all species, compassion for the rest of Nature. This is her gift to all life on this very precious planet.

She is the creator of the Compassion Climate Action blog and the  GreenHeart Education  website. You can also contact Julie on Facebook.

38 Responses to Hope is Back

  1. Thank you for such a heart-warming article.

    Actually, we should look at the gains (rather than all the constant negatives). We should also remember that a lot of the momentum for the climate warming occurred many years past when our cities were full of smog and pollution. Many have cleaned up, and it is only the developing countries (Asia, Africa and South America), who have followed in our footsteps (and still not tried to stop the smog) that have to learn the same lessons.

    Roll on to cleaner air and RCP2.6+

    • Colette – I will bring your response to Julie Johnston’s attention. Perhaps she will respond to your comment. Julie and her husband Peter Carter are relentless in their climate activism. As you can see in the article, Julie has her own blog and website and currently involved in the Climate Emergency Countdown initiative.

      Thanks for your loyal support.

  2. Hi Colette,
    Thanks for your comment. I agree that it’s always important to remember our gains! It’s not that we can’t tell people the terrible truth about what we’re doing to the biosphere, it’s that we have to then also provide something positive that people can grab onto. So to me, the best news now is that it’s become very clear *what* we have to demand of our elected officials.

    We used to just “demand action on climate change.” Now we know we need to demand that leaders a) declare that climate change is an emergency, b) adopt the IPCC’s best-case scenario RCP2.6 PLUS the even-better positions from CAN International in Lima this December, c) end subsidies to fossil fuel corporations (and switch them to renewable energy technologies), and d) start globally declining greenhouse gases by the end of 2015, in order to achieve ZERO CARBON by 2050. Those are the “actions on climate change” that will give us a hope in hell of safeguarding our precious biosphere.

    I hope you and the folks in your sphere of influence will talk to others and send letters to world leaders, asking these actions from them. See their contact info here: http://blog.greenhearted.org/p/climate-emergency-countdown-heres-what.html

    • Julie – I like the four specific climate actions. I think I will include those in my next letter to editors. I’m also working on a letter to CEOs of fossil-fuel corporations with Roger Gagne from Alberta. These will fit nicely in that letter (with your permission).

  3. I thought this information might be helpful too… for anyone wanting to contact UK’s Ministers responsible for Climate Change.

    Rt Hon Edward Davey MP

    Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2AW
    Tel: 0300 060 4000
    correspondence@decc.gsi.gov.uk

    • In recent July 2014 cabinet re-shuffle, Amber Rudd is appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change

  4. Thanks Rolly – I wrote to both of the British Ministers asking them to attend each of the climate change meetings mentioned in Julie’s article… I hope you don’t mind Julie, I included your four points in your quotes as I felt they made a succinct argument very relevant to Britain’s own policies. I have not yet received an official reply, but have been promised one in the next 15 days. That is one good thing from our British Parliament – they have a duty to reply to all concerns.

  5. Hi Colette and Rolly,

    Perfect! That’s exactly what those “talking points” are for! Please spread them far and wide.

    There are many, many messages that need to be got through to our “leaders” — but these are the time-sensitive ones because of what’s going to happen in New York at the Climate Summit in September (where they will probably adopt the catastrophic 2ºC “target”) and in Lima at the COP20 in December (where they will be hammering out much of the language that will form the new international treaty to be signed next year in Paris at the COP21).

    So you see, we can’t wait for our activism and agitation to happen pre-Paris — we have to be activating and agitating now! And the Climate Action Network (CAN) International seems to be waiting until next year to promote their fabulous (because it’s true to both climate science and climate justice) new position statement — but that will be too late, because it then won’t have any influence on the negotiations in Paris.

    So please spread far and wide! Here’s the Climate EMERGENCY Countdown again:
    5 – Tell the world that we know what “urgent actions” we have to demand of world leaders
    4 – Get climate change declared an emergency (NYC Climate Summit, September 2014)
    3 – Get RCP2.6+ (IPCC best-case scenario + CAN International’s even better scenario) adopted at Lima’s COP20 in December 2014
    2 – Stop all fossil fuel subsidies, switch them to perpetual energy technologies, put a price on carbon, and start the decline in our global emissions in 2015
    1 – Get all this agreed upon in Paris at the COP21 in December 2015
    0 – Achieve a zero-carbon economy by 2050! (WE CAN DO THIS!) This is what will give us a hope in hell of keeping the global average temperature increase below 2ºC.

    Tell the world! :-)
    Julie

  6. Colette and Julie. I agree that we need to agitate and activate and all those other galvanizing actions to keep the focus on Zero Carbon by 2050. Otherwise, it’s game-over for our grandchildren.

    Julie – I’m going to do a Zero by 2050 Article sometime soon. Will let you know.

    In a few minutes I’m on the GreenDiva private radio show out of New York and talking about my role as a grandfather involved in Climate Change. Then the agreement is that I write a piece on the interview by the end of the week.

    Thanks to both of you for your ongoing support.

    Your friend, Rolly

  7. I received a reply back from the UK government agency responsible for Energy and Climate Change… and while it seems to be a rather pat answer… it is at least an answer and I have it in writing that they are aware that the constituents are interested in the issues (very important). My reply from the DECC appears below.

    Dear Colette

    Thank you for your email dated 22 August to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), about climate change. I have been asked to reply.

    Climate change is arguably the greatest challenge facing the world today. It is a global issue that affects everyone on the planet. The findings in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group One Report (http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/) were clear: warming of the climate system over the last century is unequivocal. Along with temperature increases, we will likely see an increase in extreme weather events which will impact disproportionately on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

    To tackle climate change all the countries in the world must work together. This can only happen through a global framework: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

    International engagement is critical to DECC’s objectives. To have a 50:50 chance of keeping climate change to within 2°C of pre-industrial levels we need global emissions to peak before 2020 and decline steeply thereafter, which means we need a legally binding climate change agreement under the UNFCCC. And we need other countries to invest heavily in energy efficiency and energy infrastructure.

    Walking the walk’ is critical to influencing others. The UK may be a small part of the overall problem – in emissions terms – but we cannot tell others to do things we’re not prepared to do ourselves. The UK and the EU need to show leadership and to demonstrate that the shift to a low carbon model is achievable if we are to have any credibility and get other major emitters to take action. That’s one of the reasons we want the EU to move to a 30% emissions reduction target for 2020 – plus the fact that it’s a more cost effective way of reaching our 2050 targets than sticking with the – now rather easy – 20% target (if the EU keeps its 20% emissions reduction target, the annual reduction required is only 0.3%, but it would then need to go up to 4.5% per annum between 2020 and 2050 to reach an 80% target by 2050, which would be costly).

    You may also be interested to know, that the UK strongly welcomes the UN Secretary General’s leadership in convening a Climate Summit in September in New York. It will provide added momentum to international action on tackling climate change, and showcase significant actions to address the issue ahead of the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties in Lima. No decision has yet been taken about the composition of the UK’s delegation to the Summit.

    I hope that this is helpful.

    Yours sincerely,

    DECC Correspondence Unit

    • Sad to hear that the UK government (along, I’m sure, with most others) is sticking to the party line of an 80% cut in emissions. Are they ignorant or evil? We need a 100% cut in carbon emissions for any hope of stabilizing the climate and stopping ocean acidification. We need to make a rapid transition to 100% zero-carbon energy by 2050 at the latest.

      I wonder, if the seas were lapping at the door of 10 Downing Street, would the UK become a true leader on the path to zero carbon?

    • Colette – firstly let me say that I’m impressed that you were able to get an answer that quickly from your government.

      The writer of the letter covers all the essential points – the serious challenge facing the world, the need for all parties to do their fair share, the commitment to walk the talk, the importance of the New York conference followed by the Lima meetings in December. Not to be negative, but I’ve seen this language before most often preceding important international events. Much of it is just posturing.

      On a more positive note, the 80% target for 2050 is significant. But in fact, we need to move to a zero-carbon world, if not by 2050, then by 2060. Every year wasted is another nail in the emissions coffin.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  8. I want to comment a little further on this topic.

    The EU has just brought in a directive to stop the sale of vacuum cleaners of more than 1600 watt capacity… and that is just the start… hairdryers, and other high energy appliances will be next.

    The UK general population are moaning about this (having just spent last weekend buying up the last high output vacuum cleaners on the market), purporting that it will just mean they must vacuum for longer to clean-up and use exactly the same power consumption. This might be true, but it will force manufacturers to find more efficient methods of achieving the same performance for a lot less power consumption… this is a good thing!

    It is only by forcing people to make changes, that the change will occur…. people are so reluctant to give up their power-hungry toys!

  9. The UK Government always seems to go with the “masses” on any issue… quite frustrating really! Yes, I’m sure if the sea was lapping at the door of the Prime Minister, he’d want to know who was responsible for that! (He’d blame some poor sod working at the Thames Barrier no doubt :-). The last thing that would come to his mind is that Britain is just as bad as the rest of the world at ignoring the changing climate.

    Unfortunately, the UK Government (currently the “Conservative Party” led by David Cameron), is more of a reactionary government than a mover-and-shaker in the world. They like to think that they come up with “new innovative policies” but in reality, it is just a lot of hot-air and David Cameron gets little support from the EU who want Britain’s money, but not our influence. Britain’s powers are getting pretty limited.

    What ever “the flavour of the day” happens to be, is what absorbs our Prime Minister. Currently, that seems to be Britain’s unhappy involvement in the extremist Islamic State terrorism going on in Syria and Iraq. It is a sad state that Britain has got itself into… even Scotland wants to leave the UK.

  10. GreenHearted – good sense of humour re the Stephen Harper Conservatives. Nothing wrong with a touch of X-rated commentary now and then. Let it rip.

  11. It is imperative that everyone watch http://watchdisruption.com/ and then go to http://peoplesclimate.org/march/?r=350 to find out what you can do on September 21st … JOIN THE CLIMATE CHANGE MARCH WORLDWIDE AND FORCE OUR GOVERNMENTS TO DO MORE… Our lives depend on it!

  12. Not sure why my last comment is awaiting moderation, so will try repeating it with a bit more info.

    Watch http://watch disruption.com/ and you will feel a need to join the climate change march on September 21 2014.

    http://peoplesclimate.org/march/?r=350

    If you are somewhere other than New York… Major cities around the world have similar events…go to the link below and scroll to the world map to find marches in your location. Our climate is changing and you can be part of the wake-up call!

    http://peoplesclimate.org/global/

    http://peoplesclimate.org/global/

  13. I have a friend who, a few years back, said to me, “If you’re going to wake people up, you’d better have breakfast ready for them.” (See http://blog.greenhearted.org/2012/04/waking-people-up.html)

    My hubby watched Disruption yesterday, and I just read over the march website:

    “We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.”

    But neither the movie nor the march website tells people WHAT URGENT ACTION WE MUST DEMAND:
    • that governments declare we are “beyond dangerous interference with the climate system” (ie, climate change is an emergency)

    • that governments reject the deadly 2ºC warming limit (all crops in all regions will be in decline by the time we reach 1.5ºC), and instead choose a warming limit of 1.5ºC or less (with the corollary of 350 ppm or less as our CO2 concentration target)

    • that governments put their nations’ greenhouse gas emissions into immediate decline, so that we can reach zero carbon by 2050 — the only thing that gives us a hope in hell

    • that governments stop all fossil fuel subsidies (ensuring food security for the poorest who are affected), switching those funds to renewable energy development (hey, fossil fuel corporations have been receiving government, make that taxpayer support for over a century! let’s give perpetual energy the same boost) (the G-20 nations made this pledge in 2009; let’s help them keep their promise)

    • that governments adopt the IPCC’s best-case scenario RCP2.6, and the June 2014 position statement of CAN International, at the COP20 climate negotiations in Lima in December 2014

    The corporate kleptocracy has been laughing, laughing, laughing at our sweet little climate movement for years now. An invitation to “change everything” but stay along the route approved by the NYPD seems a bit of an oxymoron. So please, let’s at least ask for the urgent actions that we need while marching “within the lines” and thinking it’s going to change anything.

    I’m not trying to be disrespectful of the efforts going into the People’s Climate March. I am trying to get the marchers and other climate activists to see that without specific demands, the event will merely be a bunch of polite people moving en masse through the far-from-the-UN streets of New York and elsewhere.

  14. Tiny steps lead to bigger ones Greenheart… As far as I’m aware, this is the first globally coordinated March concerning climate issues. This will probably be the first time for many people to even think about the issues. Too many facts and figures might deter some from joining the March.

    I think the March is a crucial step though ( even without specifics) as the March participants are also voters and important to Politicians. One point in the film, is to make transparent, the true cost of fossil fuels. Taking away the subsidies, and implementing pollution taxes would suddenly make “green” technologies like solar or wind power, look and indeed be much more competitive and affordable. People vote with their wallets not with their heads. The only way to cut to zero emissions, is to make dirty technologies expensive for both the producer and the consumer and price them right out of the market.

  15. Just got a tweet to say that UK prime minister, David Cameron, is to attend the climate change conference in New York … Looked it up and it looks like he will.

    http://www.edie.net/news/6/Climate-Change-Summit-New-York-2014-Paris-2015/

    I don’t expect more than the 80% reduction target as emailed to me, but I find it positive that climate change is on his agenda again, especially as he has not spoken on the issues for three years.

    I think I’ll be naughty and send the department for Climate Change the link to the “Disruption” video…and the climate change walk – that should shake them up a bit!

  16. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) here in the UK have just released a policy paper on the Climate Change

  17. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) here in the UK have just released a policy paper on the Climate Change Conference December 2015…this shows that at least the UK are committing to this… The policy paper is vague, but there is some time to work on that.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/paris-2015-securing-our-prosperity-through-a-global-climate-change-agreement

  18. I just found a very interesting link to a Canadian Paper… “Climate Change Adaptation : A priorities plan for Canada”. This project at Waterloo University in Ont, has been ongoing since 2009, so much research and thought has gone into it

    https://uwaterloo.ca/environment/sites/ca…/CCAP-Report-30May-Final.PDF

    I hope the link works… It seems Dr James Lovelock (Gaia theory) has contributed much to this project and has been afforded special mention.

    I have not yet read as the paper as it is nearly 100 pages, but it appears to address how climate change is likely to affect various sectors of the Canadian Economy and finding effective solutions.

    After I’ve read it, I may send it to UK’s DECC as it might afford them some insight into how to include some of the information in a similar plan for Britain.

  19. Sorry, having trouble with the full PDF link. Use the link and when the UW Environment department page loads, use the search box top right to enter
    “Climate Change Adaptation : A Priorities Plan for Canada”

    it will take you to the paper.

  20. Avaaz petition to be read out at the New York Climate Change conference on 23 September, 2014.

    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_71/?fpla

    Please sign and pass it on. This is the most important petition that Avaaz has ever done… Asking for a100% clean energy by 2050.

  21. Re: “Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals” _ Just read the article by Chris Hedges… In which President Obama is said to have announced that he will call for voluntary climate controls in advanceof the 2015 Paris summit. Sounds a bit like the Kyoto aagreement all over again.

    I think the responses I’ve seen from Governments thus far, are intentionally vague (noncommittal, so they can see how little they can get away with in the public eye)… The Marches are an important first step to getting some needed attention.

    My home town in UK is Nottingham, and there is a March organised there…if I can get there in time…I will go. Unfortunately, canal boats move at a slow pace, and my husband does not feel moved to action quite like I do…(it’s that old “priorities” thing again)!

    • I fly back to Canada on September 21 from London’s Heathrow. When I get to London on Sept 16, I will check into anything I can do pre-march or march day. And you’re right. This march is only the beginning of the next round of pressure on world leaders for Lima in December and then Paris 2015. No more Kyoto-like gibberish. We need a legally binding agreement on emissions. And even that would only constitute a first step in the right direction.

  22. I like this video from Avaaz (Spain) promoting the Peoples Climate March on 21st September… Everyone, wear your Green T-shirts and Green hearts…tell the world you care about the planet and what happens to our climate…where-ever you happen to be on 21st September 2014!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rocqil8IKcc&feature=youtu.be

  23. This is the Avaaz build-up to the winning designs for the People’s Climate March…a good watch too….Green Hearts everyone….get your neighbours asking why you are wearing / displaying them in your windows!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rocqil8IKcc&feature=youtu.be

  24. Another link
    http://floodwallstreet.net/
    This action is destined for 22 Sept,2014(Day after People’s Climate March)
    This is more activist and designed to target climate polluters

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