I heartily support the Climate Emergency Coalition and its work to shift philanthropy to organizations and initiatives fighting the threats to humanity brought by climate change.
—PAUL R. EHRLICH
The world is in a genuine climate emergency, yet this is not perceived, understood, or discussed. We must quickly get the emergency into the news cycle and conversation. The case is overwhelming for an Emergency Climate Mobilization, as an overriding national priority. The aim is zero emissions within a decade in the U.S., feasible with an all-out mobilization—that is, a restructuring of our economy at rapid speed for a common cause. Mobilization of our nation’s people, resources, and economy to slash our fossil fuel use is necessary for a viable future for humanity.
Thus the absolute necessity of getting the emergency into the cultural conversation.
With the Paris Climate Agreement, the world’s political leadership started to awaken to the enormous risks we face. Yet nations’ pledges—with gradual, decades-long emissions reductions and huge fossil fuel incentives still in place—mean a rise of 3.5°C this century, vastly inconsistent with Paris's 1.5-2°C goal. A central assumption for meeting the target involves the massive deployment of undemonstrated, wished-for negative emission technologies. To deliver on Paris means instead an immediate, dramatic fossil fuel phase out—there’s simply no remaining carbon budget.
The U.S. must also provide low-carbon assistance for the developing world, so it avoids the carbon pathway. Climate change is an immense crisis, but it is also an immense opportunity to build a just world that works for all.
We must quickly drive an open, truthful national conversation, to achieve a US consensus on this climate mobilization within two years. Public engagement must be galvanized through an extensive warning initiative, thus a Climate Emergency Coalition Campaign will offer personal, face-to-face dialogue in thousands of faith and civic spaces across the nation to awaken citizens to the need for mobilization.
The Climate Emergency Coalition creates a pathway for existing organizations to shift their missions to mobilization; additionally, it furthers the public conversation and opens the space for the mobilization to take root. The Coalition provides a structure to unite the disparate parts of the climate movement, so the collective voices of the grassroots groups across the nation can be amplified with a national call for effective policies.
Importantly, realize that it only takes 3-4% of engaged, impassioned citizens—those most concerned—to transform the situation.
Now is the time for philanthropy to respond, so we must push philanthropy for the needed climate leadership.