Nothing is reasonable about climate disruption. The hardship caused by rising temperatures won't be distributed fairly. In fact, many of the nations facing the worst consequences have contributed the least to the problem. Despite that inequity, though, global climate change remains an inherently shared problem for all humanity. The people of the earth must solve it together.
That's why international climate negotiations matter, in spite of their mixed record of progress. Later this year, Paris, France, will host the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- COP21, for short. Leaders from 195 countries will attempt to agree on how to combat climate.
The good news is that we've never had better reason to hope for progress internationally. The U.S. will arrive with its strongest-ever commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with a proven record of success over the past decade, and with a Clean Power Plan from the EPA that can get us all the way to a 30 percent reduction in emissions and beyond. We're not alone, either. Major players from Europe to Asia are making serious commitments to reduce their use of dirty fuels and to promote clean energy.
People around the world want clean power and a safer climate future, and we will keep working toward those goals regardless of whether our governments manage to reach a meaningful international agreement. But it will be a lot easier for us to succeed if Paris is a success.
As people who care about the climate, how can each of us help achieve a strong outcome in Paris? By building momentum from the grassroots up:
- Speak out about COP21 -- talk to your friends, your family, your coworkers, and your neighbors to let them know what's happening.
- Share, tweet, and post about this historic moment in the climate movement (#ActInParis)
- Check out our #ActInParis campaign by visiting actinparis.org, where you can join our photo petition, get involved with our Local-to-Global campaign, sign up for the National Day of Action on October 14, and let President Obama know that you support strong climate action in Paris.
To change everything, we need everyone. When the whole world comes together, we can save the beautiful, life-giving, amazing planet we call home.