This weekend the climate negotiations within the United Nations ended in Lima, Peru and most if not all media outlets are expressing their discontent and show how little real progress was achieved.
Jamie Henn, strategy and communications director of environmental group 350.org, said in a statement that the Lima deal showed that there remains a “disconnect” between international negotiators and climate activists.
“Negotiators failed to build on the momentum coming into these talks,” he said, referencing September’s climate march in New York and other protests over climate change in the last year. “With the impacts of climate change already being felt in vulnerable communities around the world, the need for immediate action could not be more clear, and yet rich countries are still dragging their feet on everything from finance to emissions reductions.”
Not all environmental groups were completely unhappy with the deal, however. The Sierra Club was more tempered in its repsonse, saying that the Paris talks would be “the place for the world’s leaders to catch up” to Americans’ calls for climate action. And the NRDC emphasized the progress that the deal could bring to international climate negotiations, if countries get serious about cutting their emissions.
Given the lack of progress of climate negotiations among countries, I more and more believe that the way forward will be shown by communities. Companies, regions and cities, associations or religious movements are more and more expressing their interest in cutting both their energy consumption and greenhouse gases emissions.
For companies, this is well within the boundaries of the rising Corporate (Social) Responsibility and Sustainability efforts. Decreasing energy consumption can increase their bottom lines and slashing their emissions is very good for their reputation. Stopping deforestation is also gaining traction as I recently noted in a previous article.
For regions and large cities, improving local air quality by promoting public transportation (as well as cycling and walking), planting trees and decreasing the share of cars in trips is a good idea. Another leverage of action is improving the weatherization and insulation of social housing.
For associations and religious movements, this is also a good idea as climate change is simply put THE issue of our time. Acting on it can solve any other issue. This is why religions are increasingly talking about climate and our moral imperative to act on it. Both Deutsche Welle ( in English ) and The Economist got articles on that matter.