From December 3-13, 2015, I’m joining social movements from around the world to converge on the U.N. Conference of Parties (COP) negotiations on climate change in Paris, France.  As a part of a delegation organized by Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), I’ll be supporting the movement to demand that government officials make commitments to cut carbon emissions at the source, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and pursue local solutions for clean, renewable energy.

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I am representing Communities for a Better Environment and the U.S.-based grassroots organizing sector at these mobilizations, where we’ll support actions on the ground by groups like La Via Campesina and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), meet and learn from other front-line and fence-line communities, and work with international allies to strategize and build the climate justice movement on local and global fronts.

Our delegation is organized with members of GGJ, Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), IEN, and a limited group of additional U.S. social movement representatives for the COP21 (2015 Paris Climate Conference).
“As the effects of climate change continue to hit peak levels of catastrophe, global leaders have been promising a new climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)  COP. From failing to sign the Kyoto Protocol (1992), to undermining efforts for binding agreements at COP15 in Copenhagen (2009), the US has been playing a contradictory dual role of both moving forward a minimal level of climate action while assuring that the interests of transnational corporate polluters are protected. The insufficient pledges made by the US in Copenhagen in 2009, in addition to the pushing of false solutions such as carbon market, carbon trading and offset mechanisms, set a precedent that continues today. In December 2014, weeks before the COP20 convened in Lima, Peru the US and China announced a bilateral agreement that provides a weak foundation for a new UN climate agreement and sets the stage for a non-transparent and non-enforceable plan for cutting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The China-US deal dashed whatever small hopes existed that the COP20 would deliver an outcome to slow the mounting crisis.

This year, the COP21 will take place in Paris, France from November 30-December 11, 2015. We already know that the agreement on the table in Paris is not bold enough or enforceable, nor does it reach the scale and pace needed to avert global catastrophe. In order to achieve the policy shifts we need for the long-term, even the best inside strategies will not be strong enough if we are not organizing powerful, grassroots pressure on the outside as well. There is a promising, growing unity of social movements at the global scale led by the people most impacted by climate change, who are pressuring governments for more meaningful action, often while implementing their own real solutions on the ground and planning for how vulnerable communities can best survive severe impacts of climate change.

It will be critical in 2015 to build up the momentum and escalate actions so that by the time we get to Paris, there is consistent pressure from a worldwide movement calling for serious action by governments, rejection of carbon market mechanisms such as REDD+ and other carbon offsets and radical emission cuts. But the battle will not end in Paris, and movements are already making long-term plans to keep up the momentum and share strategies through North-North, North-South, and South-South exchanges, national and international joint strategy sessions and collective action in the streets of Paris.

Grassroots Global Justice, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Climate Justice Alliance and others are joining together to bring 50-75 front-line community leaders to Paris as the It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation.  As front-line communities inside the US, we have a critical role to play in bringing forward the voices of those most impacted by the climate crisis and increasing the pressure on the US delegation around the reliance on dangerous technologies & false solutions like carbon markets. REDD+, Fracking, and Nuclear power, and uniting to strategize effective solutions to the climate crisis, and to develop plans for action through Paris and beyond.”

Goals for the Delegation

Convene key front-line community leaders from social movements around the world.

  • Coordinate climate justice actions, frameworks and campaigns nationally & internationally.
  • Strengthen our global climate justice movement by building our collective cohesion
  • Build pressure on the United Nations inside the negotiations and outside in the popular mobilizations.
  • Develop and align plans for post-Paris movement building nationally & internationally.
  • Collect, document and disseminate joint strategies for climate justice, and lessons and outcomes from social movement activities and the COP21.




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