I am hopeful and determined today. The first ever truly global agreement to fight climate change, the Paris Agreement, is having its first ever formal meeting. I have been working towards this moment for decades. This is no normal diplomatic affair. Few expected this first meeting to happen in this year. But here we are. The world has ratified the Paris Agreement at record speed. The cynics who claimed that the world would fail to unite against the threat of climate change were proven wrong. The world is coming together to address the biggest threat we face.
This gives me hope. Indeed, it is remarkable to what degree these global climate negotiations are now about good news. Over the past many years these negotiations were about raising the alarm. I remember clearly the fire alarm that Greenpeace rang at the negotiations in 2000. It was deafening!
But now, with every new step, I meet someone who is already building a better, renewable world. I hear of the host country Morocco shifting its electricity system to 52% renewable by 2030. I learn from my Greenpeace Mediterranean colleagues about the women of Tahala taking the lead in that transformation. Thanks to solar power, Tahala, a remote village, now has reliable, free electricity.
I learn that Brazil is refusing a $1 billion subsidy for coal. I hear about renewable energy in China providing jobs and opportunities even in an old coal town.
These stories show that the energy revolution is delivering for people and planet alike. It is now unstoppable. We will be the generation that ends fossil fuels – and we will work hard to do so in a just manner while defending workers rights.
Of course, the election of Donald Trump, who is personally invested in fossil fuels, hangs like a dark cloud over sunny Marrakech. But country after country is making it crystal clear here that they will continue to act on climate change, no matter what the US does. Germany´s environment minister said that Europe will make up for any emission reductions the US fails to make. Countries here know that climate action is in their interest. That the consequences of climate change are already happening now. They do not want to pay the price of more droughts or more ferocious hurricanes.
Greenpeace USA is preparing to fight hard for people and climate under president-elect Trump – and I know many states, cities, businesses and citizens will continue to advance climate action (also) in the US. So despite the dark cloud, there is a ray of light. The tide of history has turned. Climate action is happening. By continuing to fight for it we will ensure that it is here to stay – and we will win.
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Jennifer Morgan is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International