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From G7 to Paris: Goodbye Fossil Fuels!

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G7 leaders just committed to getting the global economy off fossil fuels -- forever!

We're one giant step closer to a huge win at the Paris summit in December - where the entire world could unite behind the same goal. Let's share encouragement and wisdom for the road ahead, and celebrate a battle won!! 

As we celebrate, let's look at how we got here: 

Step 1: For 2 years our community has led global public mobilisation for this goal, spearheading the gigantic, momentum-shifting, almost 700,000 strong People’s Climate March, getting 2.7 million signatures on a petition for 100% clean energy, sending a quarter of a million messages to climate ministries around the world ahead of key talks in Lima, and dozens of rallies, meetings, polls, and ad campaigns (all funded by our community) that pushed for ambitious national and global emissions reduction targets. 

People's Climate March, September 2014

UN head Ban Ki-moon receives the 100% Clean petition

Climate march at UN summit in Lima, December 2014

Together, we played a central role in changing the political momentum on climate change, setting the stage for a 2 month all-out push for the G7 summit and its chair, Angela Merkel, to say goodbye to fossil fuels...

Step 2: Focus on the French - As the chairs of the Paris summit, the French government role in the G7 was crucial. We repeatedly met with French President Hollande, Deputy-Prime Minister and environment minister Royal, foreign minister Fabius, and other cabinet members to deliver our members' voices and make the argument for the long term goal. 

Over 25,000 joined the People's Climate March in Paris French President Francois Hollande receives the 100% Clean petition

Step 3: Hundreds of Avaazers followed Merkel on every step she took in the weeks before the summit. From Hamburg to Berlin all the way to the G7, we chanted and inspired her to be the Climate Chancellor. Merkel recognised us and couldn’t help smiling, the media loved it and our heroes flew out through the news across the planet! 

Step 4: We personally delivered our 100% clean energy petition to all the decisive ministers in Merkel’s Cabinet, and the whispers that we’re serious about this got around to her office.

Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel Minister of the Environment, Barbara Hendricks

Step 5: We called out the blockers in Japan and Canada. This outcome was never in the bag -- it wasn’t clear the G7 would even focus on this issue months ago, and blockers in Canada and Japan looked poised to bring down the deal we needed. Our Japanese community sent tons of messages to their government, and we raised hundreds of thousands from small donations around the world to pay for a massive ad in the Financial Times, opinion polls and a viral ad in Canada that was viewed over 450,000 times in less than 2 days on Facebook and YouTube! 

Step 6: At Merkel’s personal request, we met with her chief climate adviser just before the summit. We got to explain to him in detail what these 2.7 million Avaazers wanted from the Chancellor. Other insiders told us that knowing that a mass movement like ours had her back, and that they'd get praise for progress and not just criticism for failure, really did matter to Merkel and other leaders' willingness to fight hard for this goal!

Step 7: We didn’t let up for a second. We worked with Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk!) and grew our 100% clean energy petition to 2.7 million signers over the last few days, briefed journalists at the G7, asked questions at press conferences, and spoke to one of Merkel’s secretaries to make this a priority. 

And now, with Merkel's and French President Hollande's leadership, we have a true climate victory worth celebrating! 

And it wasn’t just saying goodbye to fossil fuels, the G7 came out strongly on climate change across the board. Saying their intentions for the Paris agreement are:
  • Decarbonise the global economy over the course of the century

  • Sign a binding agreement that has legal force (this is also huge!)
  • Strive to transform the energy sector by 2050
  • Aim for up to 70% carbon emission cuts by 2050 (compared to 2010)
  • Develop a plan to mobilise $100 billion per year in climate finance for developing countries. (another big win!)
  • Provide four times more insurance and protection to 400 million of the poorest and most vulnerable people impacted by climate change
Just last year climate change seemed to many of us like a behemoth that was dooming our species to a significant probability of extinction due to our own stupidity and corruption.

But with hope, and good strategy, (the Avaaz effect:)), and the efforts of many leaders like Merkel and Pope Francis, and organisations like our friends at 350 and the Guardian newspaper's work on fossil fuel divestment, as well as killer research from groups like the World Resources Institute, most experts now believe the tide is turning, and momentum is building to get a global deal in Paris this year that will set the world on course to a solution.

There’s still a long way to go, and the whole world needs to get on board. So we’ll keep pushing. That means a million on the streets for the People's Climate March 2015, continuing to show up at international meetings to defend our goal, killer lobbying and advocacy, more national-level work to stop blockers, and building up more heroes to join Merkel.

Paris, here we come!

PS: Read more about the journey to Paris on our climate blog.

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