Global Greens Action on Implementing the Paris Agreement

By Christine Milne, Global Greens Ambassador

Our Earth is a beautiful planet of interconnected ecosystems and feedback loops. We know it has a finite capacity to give up non-renewable resources and to absorb wastes to rivers, oceans and atmosphere. It is humanity’s refusal to accept that fact that is driving global warming and it is the Greens' acceptance of that reality that makes us so important in the politics of this century. Just as corporates have globalised to have planetary reach, so too the Greens have globalised in our efforts to secure ecological sustainability, social justice, peace and participatory democracy everywhere. We are one party globally united under a Global Greens Charter.

We are the only political party that is truly global in reach. It is an achievement to celebrate and a structure to use and improve. Our efforts to organise and demonstrate that we are greater than the sum of our parts is in its infancy.  It reinforces our shared values and commitment when we campaign together or celebrate together Green wins on policy or in elections. But we don’t do it enough. 

I have tried to understand why we don’t. As a former Greens leader in Australia I understand national or regional focus is where most effort is invested but that shouldn’t stop us being global in our embrace of our party and its worldwide effectiveness. Global outcomes need global action. Power shifts from nation to nation, region to region, continent to continent over decades.The global warming battle will be won or lost in Asia.

In Paris at COP21 Greens from all over the world came together to get behind a global agreement and celebrated when it was achieved. But we all know it is not enough to pledge to “pursue 1.5 degrees”, policies need to be implemented to make it happen. That is why we Global Greens took the opportunity to organise globally around the signing of the Paris Agreement in New York in April this year. So many countries signed and at the same time are approving new coal mines and new coal fired power stations. We all know that more than 80% of fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground if we have any hope of constraining global warming to 1.5 degrees yet fossil fuel subsidies remain in place for oil, coal and gas in all its forms and export credit agencies keep on funding coal and coal fired power stations elsewhere in the world. Legislation can change that.

To try to use our Global Greens structure for campaigning, we decided to release a Global Greens statement to coincide with the signing which undertook that where we have elected members in national parliaments that they would identify one fossil fuel reserve to leave in the ground and at least one fossil fuel subsidy to abolish or phase out and take legislative action accordingly. We invited national Green Parties to submit their particular initiatives and to put out a press release on the day. Thank you to those who did so.  No fracking said UK Caroline Lucas MP, no new coal or expanded coal or CSG said Australia’s Senator Richard Di Natale, and the complete transformation of the transport sector said German MPs.

The advantage of this action was that it gave elected Greens a platform at home to highlight the hypocrisy of the signatory Governments, to amplify the Greens message globally on the day and to take action when the Agreement hits national parliaments. Thank you to Elizabeth May MP Canada who was in New York for being prepared to be part of a press conference to launch the statement. Unfortunately we were unable to organise it in time but that is our next challenge, to make sure we use global events for better Global Green Coordination.

The statement remains an excellent resource and it would be great if more national Greens parties added their initiative to the list and undertook to take action when the Paris Agreement is presented for national ratification in their own legislatures. 

Our global warming campaign is something that we can all embrace and build upon as efforts ramp up to pursue 1.5. It will become more timely not less as time passes as the accompanying graphic shows. We are living a climate emergency and we are the party prepared to say so. Let’s get campaigning and legislating. There is no time to lose.

 

Further reading:

Global warming milestone about to be passed and there's no going back

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