With a brand New Year upon us and as we slowly get back into our daily grind, this is an excellent moment to pick up the COP21 conversation: dust off the rhetoric of what was and what was not accomplished; take a good look at the challenging realities of climate change all around us; and then begin the hard and fascinating work of finding avenues able to help us transform the words into sustainable action!
Two weeks of debate and negotiations during the Paris Climate Conference, or COP21 (Conference of Parties), brought heads of state and/or their environment representatives from 195 countries together around global concerns of Climate Change. Optimists hailed the achievements of that gathering as “historic” and a “turning point” to move societies away from highly polluting fossil fuels and towards a “Climate-Sane” future. Meanwhile, popular movement watchdogs – a plethora of thought leaders from civil society, Indigenous nations, climate and environment scientists and experienced, climate justice trailblazers – are still waiting to see timelines and tools in place that would breathe life into what still just look like ideas on paper.
Nevertheless — the initial, convenient fact remains that the gathering actually did conclude with a Climate Agreement and some specific expectations.
Three Key Objectives
- Temperature: Confirming the need to maintain global warming well below the critical 2 degree centigrade mark;
- Carbon: Supporting actions that will reduce or sequester carbon (CO2) currently in the atmosphere;
- Money: Recognizing that the poorest countries in the world — with their relative low levels of mechanized technologies — are the least responsible for climate change, yet will be the hardest and earliest hit. For that reason, the industrialized world has a financial responsibility to support these countries create climate change resilience and adaptation strategies.
Those three cornerstone objectives are agreed upon, “worthy goals” – but without the right kind of energy behind this, it might still take quite a long time to get the wheels of the Big Machine turning in directions towards sustainable systems. However, this does NOT mean we’re at a standstill. There are already countless examples of people, organizations and companies doing some truly amazing work in the trenches.
Now for the fun part
Over the course of the next weeks and months, I will be taking advantage of this space to present key pieces to the overarching climate change puzzle; discuss some of the current climate challenges and how they play out across the Specialty and Fair Trade Coffee supply chains; and, showcase cutting-edge examples of effective work to offset emissions, reduce carbon footprints, regenerate soils and enhance our capacity to capture carbon from the atmosphere that is already underway and being implemented by CoopCoffees roaster members, producers partners and industry allies.
2016 promises to be a monumental year of exploration, experimentation and innovation. The organization 350.org summarizes the climate challenge in this short video. The gauntlet has been thrown down… now let’s pick ourselves up and run with it!