What is the Road to Paris all about?

In December this year a critical meeting of world leaders, climate and environmental activists, business tycoons and fossil fuel lobbyists will take place in Paris. This meeting, the 21st UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP21, is crucial for us all, and for the future of all species on this planet Earth, our only home.

Anyone who does not now know that current increasing temperatures and extreme weather events clearly indicate that we are heading for disaster, needs to inform themselves now and help those of us who have been working on developing awareness and action to mitigate this existential crisis. We need world leaders to leave their apathy behind and take a strong lead to implement radical change.

COP21’s objective (21 meetings later!) is to finally achieve a legally binding universal agreement from all nations to limit global temperature increase to only 2 degrees above pre industrial levels. Most agree that 2 degrees is not enough as it is generally accepted that we are already heading for a dangerous 4 to 6 degree increase.

Al Gore, Chairman of the Climate Reality Project, working with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, has selected South Africa as one of eight focal countries (USA, South Africa, China, Brazil, India, the Philippines, Canada, and Australia) in The Road to Paris campaign. These countries are deemed most crucial to the international climate negotiations and those whose decisions about carbon emissions reduction can influence many other countries around the world.

In South Africa this relates to our reliance on obsolete coal-fired energy, and our ability to lead with low carbon energy. This is appropriate and timely given the current energy crisis with South Africans experiencing regular “loadshedding” or rolling blackouts.

The African Climate Reality Project (ACRP) is implementing The Road to Paris campaign which aims to create momentum for a global commitment with grassroots action on the ground and we need your help!

The ACRP is asking for people to join a coalition to work with national and local government entities, energy experts, environmental organisations, climate leaders and concerned citizens, many of whom are already working on robust alternative plans for South African energy development.

Our Road to Paris campaign is to urge the South African negotiators to present our country agreement (INDC as it is called) on time and to aim for the achievable goal of reducing our carbon emissions by implementing at least 20% renewable energy by 2030.

You can help us to grow our social media following, to post Road to Paris information on your own platforms and share information and our messages as widely as possible in your circles.

We need to align messaging this year to define positioning, maximise public understanding and apply pressure on, or give support to, climate negotiators in Paris.

We urge you to take a minute to sign the Live Earth pledge, TAKE CLIMATE ACTION NOW, on www.livearth.org. Live Earth is a partnership of Former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations and creative partner Pharrell Willliams, to create a global series of events (one in Durban) over 24 hours on seven continents.

Live Earth will be broadcast across all major media platforms to shine a global spotlight on the convening nations and demand maximum participation to create new global reform with the signing of a pivotal agreement in Paris this December. The goal is to gather 1 Billion Voices for climate action leading up to the Paris conference to deliver a single message to world leaders to take climate action now.

There will be other local events and activities in the lead up to COP21 in Paris and we hope to share them with you here in the future.

See www.climatereality.co.za to take climate action now. Also follow African Climate Reality Project on Facebook and @AfricaCRP on Twitter.