The End Of The Beginning

The End Of The Beginning

Rev. Fletcher Harper reflects on the Paris agreement and where the climate movement goes next.

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Monday 14 December 2015 at 14:01
The End Of The Beginning

Over the past several years, there's been an unprecedented uprising of diverse peoples around the world calling for climate action. This movement has included people from finance and faith, environmentalists and educators, climatologists and construction workers, the poor and politicians, and many more.

On Saturday, thanks to their commitment and to leadership by national and diplomatic leaders, an unprecedented climate change agreement was reached in Paris.

The agreement has a number of strong dimensions. It calls for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of this century, accelerating the shift towards a clean energy future and the end of fossil fuels.

It commits countries to ratchet up their commitments over time so that global temperature rise can be kept at 2 degrees, the benchmark that gives us a reasonable chance to avoid devastating climate impacts. It names a more ambitious 1.5 degree goal as a serious aspiration.

It affirms commitments of $100 billion annually by 2020 to help poorer countries develop new energy systems.

This is a solid outcome.

And, there's little question that without the global climate movement, an agreement would not have been nearly as strong, and might well not have been reached.

The agreement is not perfect. It leaves in grave danger billions of the world's poorest people who will suffer the droughts, rising sea levels, and other hazards that are inevitable given the decades-long delay in reaching a climate deal.

And, living up to the terms of the agreement will require change and effort the likes of which the world has never seen. A set of herculean tasks lie ahead. Commitments must be made real. All of us will need to play a part.

I'm so proud of the vital role we've all played these past 18 months, in mobilizing religious and spiritual voices around the world to push for an agreement in Paris.

And we're ready for the next stage of this journey - a journey to create a bright future for our children, for vulnerable communities around the world, and for our precious planet.

This agreement represents the end of the beginning of humanity's reckoning with climate change.

Much has been accomplished. Even more remains to be done.

It's been our privilege to work with you - thousands of people of many different faiths and spiritualities. We're ready to move to the next stage of this work, and to help turn the Paris agreement from concept into reality.

Will you join us?

Yours with hope,

Fletcher & the OurVoices team

Header Image by Mat McDermott

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