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Friday, November 23, 2007

Two Year Anniversary of International Action: Montreal to Bali

February 16th, 2005 saw the Kyoto Protocol go into effect, with its ratification by Russia. When the United States rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, some feared that international climate actions would fail, but 36 countries are now working to reduce emissions under Kyoto (the most well known requirement of which is 5% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2012).

December, 2005 saw the launch of It’s Getting Hot In Here at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Montreal, Canada. Although this was the 11th Conference of Parties meeting to discuss international action to address climate change, it was the first Meeting of Parties, where the countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol gathered to discuss how to meet its requirements and to begin looking at what happens after 2012.

December 3, 2005 saw the world’s first International Day of Climate Action. Scheduled to coincide with the Montreal negotiations, tens of thousands of people around the world took action to call for strong implementation of reduction mechanisms. As a part of the 30,000 person march to the Palais de Congres where the negotiations were taking place, I was stunned by the number of people involved. That conference was my first major experience with the climate movement, and then and there I became devoted to climate activism.

November 4, 2006 saw the world’s second International Day of Climate Action in preparation for the negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya. The demonstration in Montreal drew tens of thousands of people, in part because it was in a major metropolitan area in North America and fairly easy for large numbers of people to reach. Kenya is a little more difficult to travel to. However, with the momentum of the previous year’s actions, events in 48 countries around the world called for strong leadership in enacting the goals of Kyoto.

December 8th, 2007 will see the third International Day of Climate Action, during the negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, with actions in 78 countries. This time around, the negotiations will be seriously looking into the international plan for emissions reductions after 2012. Although the United States is not a part of the Kyoto Protocol, there is the possibility that it will join in the post-2012 agreements. The US youth delegation in Bali is working to show the world a different America, one that is not abandoning the rest of the world in the fight against global warming, but rather one whose people are already fighting climate change on the local, state and recently the national level. They will show the international delegates the momentum from Power Shift, Step It Up and (hopefully) the mobilization around the Energy Bill in Congress.

Although I will not be going to Bali, I will be participating in the International Day of Climate Action. The message for December 8th to world leaders is:

“We demand that world leaders take the urgent and resolute action that is needed to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate, so that the entire world can move as rapidly as possible to a stronger emissions reductions treaty which is both equitable and effective in preventing dangerous climate change.

We also demand that the long-industrialised countries that have emitted most greenhouse gases up to now take most of the responsibility for the adaptive measures that have to be taken, especially by low-emitting countries with limited economic resources.”

The Global Climate Campaign states that “there is an overwhelming need to create a groundswell of global opinion to push for the urgent and radical action on climate change, without which we risk a global catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.”

We are part of a global movement, and those of us not going to Bali can support it through our work to reduce emissions on the local, state and nation levels and through displays of solidarity. On December 8th, let’s show the world that the people of the United States are a part of the fight against global warming.

Cross posted on It's Getting Hot In Here and Bali Buzz

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