Today was an incredible day at #COP21 here in Paris. Both for the environmental movement writ large and for Earth Day Network specifically. With one day left until the COP is scheduled to conclude, two totally different but yet equally important events shuck up the conference and had people and those in attendance wondering which shoe will be the next to drop.
First off was an early morning press event headlined by the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The event also featured former Vice President Al Gore. Gore presented Ban with a petition with well over 6.2 million signatures stating these millions of individuals are “demanding a strong agreement that will shift the world away from carbon pollution and rapidly towards climate solutions.” That is no small accomplishment. But even better is the fact that EDN’s India Director Karuna Singh was on stage during the event and got to meet with and speak with Ban. This just one day after giving a presentation to and with India’s Environmental Minister. To say it has been a busy and productive COP for Karuna is quite an understatement.
Ban, in his understated fashion, was glad to have the petition and the political will that it represents: “I’m hopeful and I’m reasonably optimistic that we’ll be able to have for the first time in the history of the United Nations a universal and very ambitious climate change agreement which will make our lives healthier and more prosperous.”
Second was an announcement from a large group of well over 100 nations – including the United States and the bulk of the European Union – that they had formed a “high ambition coalition” that will be working to ensure a meaningful legally-binding agreement comes out of the COP. This coalition will be pushing the likes of China, India, Brazil, and South Africa to get on board with an agreement. And the goal is a 1.5° allowable increase, not the less-effective 2° increase that most developed nations would prefer. This too is no small accomplishment.
So yes, it has been a huge day here at #COP21. One day left to reach an agreement. And spirits are running high. Keep tuned into your correspondents here at EDN to find out what happens tomorrow and, as always, what will happen next!