Act de Triumph

Paris - Triumph

On Saturday December 12th, 2015, I witnessed something that nothing else in human history comes close to, in terms of scale and stakes. Most of the nations on Earth, 195 of them, adopted the world’s first universal agreement to fight an existential threat to civilisation and indeed life, as we know it, on the planet.
Going into the Paris Climate Summit, there were three possible outcome scenarios. “No Signal” would have told the greenhouse-gas profligate organisations and institutions of the world that they could maintain course with the ruinous status quo. It would have stranded the rising tide of efforts by sub-national groups – states, cities, companies, communities, faith groups, and many others – to persuade the world otherwise. “Contested Signal” wouldn’t have been as bad, but would have handed plenty of ammunition to opponents of change. Instead, the governments of the world delivered us “Clear Signal”.
The clear signal, not to be confused with the “Problem Solved” scenario that was never on the table, will be most strongly felt in the energy sector, from where most of the emissions that threaten a liveable climate derive. Top of a long list of implications, the signal will tell financial institutions that the hundreds of billions of dollars invested annually in clean energy today will become trillions, and much faster than most people ever suspected. It will tell energy incumbents that that the fossil-fuel era is over: that they are now in an era of transition, of rapid managed retreat, whether they like it or not.
I want to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who has made this turning point in human society possible. Top of the list must be the amazing Christiana Figueres, the UN’s lead at the climate negotiations, who doggedly built a platform for agreement in Paris, for years keeping hope alive when it was in danger of dying. This lady deserves a Nobel Prize. Then come the French hosts, who played their hearts out, with such elan, in both the staging of the summit and in the diplomacy needed to execute the agreement. Then the governments. They know, from the advice of their scientists, how much trouble we are in, and finally they let this knowledge overcome their historic enmities and ongoing conflicts. Watching their efforts, it was as though glass walls had been erected between their collective fight to save the climate and all the others disputes on our troubled planet.
As for all the many and varied key sub-national and civil-society actors, in the final three chapters of The Winning of the Carbon War – to be written over the New Year break – I will try to do justice to their roles in the drama, in holistic global context. That will be my letter of thanks to them.
The completed book will be downloadable free in the first week of January. A printed version of the book will be ready later in January. You can pre-order a copy or copies, with a Christmas-present e-voucher if you wish, here.  All profits from the book go to SolarAid.
I wish everyone a hope-filled 2016.

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Posted in Chronicle
Appropriate civilization includes environmental balance, sustainable capitalism, empathic societies, racial and religious harmony, poverty alleviation at home and abroad, common security, and use of tech for social good.

New despotism includes environmental sabotage, reckless capitalism, isolationist nationalism, incitement to racial and religious hatred, retreat from aid, war mongering, and the use of tech for social harm.

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