Video by Envirobeat
8 December 2015, COP 21 Conference, Paris, France
Last year was the first time in world history that CO2 levels did not go up when there was not a major recession or an event like the break up of the former Soviet Union.
This year it is too early to confirm this statistic but you have all seen the news stories that have come out yesterday. CO2 levels went down this year.
If that is confirmed we will look back on last year and this year as the time when we did reach the turning point. We are winning this. We must win it faster. We must accelerate the pace.
A lot of damage has already been done.
More damage will occur because of the global warming pollution that is already in the atmosphere.
So we must speed up.
The march that took place on November 29th, of course there was due to be in one Paris and I myself understand completely the thinking of the French authorities, as I said at the beginning, we understand what they have gone through.
But I don’t want anyone here in Paris who didn’t see a march here, not to miss the fact that in cities all over hte world, there were mass marches to save the climate.
So the NGO community, the civil society and activists worldwide have done a fantastic job in mobilising people to demand action.
This was in Melbourne, November 27th, just before, the climate, there were marches all over the place. And it’s not just on the eve of the conference. Quebec City, Quebec is just a hero in my opinion, god bless Canada for all it has done here. This was a great march in April in Quebec.
Of course one year ago, on the eve of the special session of the United Nations, as amny as four hundred thousand people filled the streets of Manhattan.
And you may have heard how many of the leaders who spoke here on Monday, refer to the marches in the street.
So the best chance to address this climate crisis is here.
We have a few days left.
Whatever delegation you are following or are a part of, use these next 72 hours to double down on your commitment to DO THE RIGHT THING.
There are people who have been to previous conferences, and they look back on the long string of them, and they’re tempted to conclude, it’s not going to make any difference.
There was a poet in the United States in the last century called Wallace Stevens, who wrote the following line:
‘After the last no, comes a yes’
And on that yes the future world depends.
Every great moral cause that humanity has been faced with has met with a series of nos, addend fierce resistance. The abolition movement, the struggle for women’s suffrage and gender equity, which is ongoing, the civil rights movement, the struggle against apartheid, the struggle for the end of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – all of these moral causes have met nos and fierce opposition.
But they all eventually came down to a single choice between one of two options: what is right, and what is wrong.
In this case, what is right is to save the future of our planet, and to say to future generations that we’ve done the right thing here.
Make no mistake, the next generation will inherit the Earth we bequeath to them, and depending upon their circumstances, they will ask one of two questions.
If they live in a world in which we have not addressed this crisis. In which we have not taken advantage of the opportunities to create jobs with renewables, and sustainable agriculture and fishing and forestries, and more efficiency.
If they suffer even worse floods and mudslides and droughts and the spreading of diseases into regions where they were unknown previously –the melting of the ice and the sea level rise, and the flows of millions of climate refugees – if they live in such a world, they would be justified in looking back at us, this group of us gathered here in Paris in December of 2015 and asking, ‘what were you thinking?! Why did you not act?!
But if they live in a world where there is a renewal of hope, where there are millions of jobs being created, where the carbon concentrations and greenhouse gas concentrations are declining, and where people are living and flourishing in communities with renewable systems and sustainable economies and if they look at their own children and feel secure in saying to them, ‘your world is going to be even better’, I want them to look back at us here, in this place, in this hour, on this day, and ask, ‘how did you find the moral courage? To break through the impasses To rise above the differences. To see beyond the difficulties, across them to the bright future that was possible? And see the larger moral question that was at stake.
How did you do it? And part of the answer, will be that the men and women who came here to Paris from 195 countries around the world came together in support of a higher purpose.
To protect our home.
To protect our planet Earth.
We will say to them in answer, ‘we found out that political will was itself a renewable resource’.
Thank you very much, merci beaucoup.