In July 2018, Fresh Energy earned the high honor of an invitation to give the keynote address to an international climate justice conference. Hosted by the United Nations Center for Constitutional Research, the “Climate Justice: Fit for Purpose?” weeklong seminar sought “an American expert to describe what companies, nongovernmental organizations, and individual states are doing within the USA to face the challenges of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.”
The organizers found that expert in our own science policy director, J. Drake Hamilton, who delivered the keynote presentation in Greece. Her talk “American Climate Justice Action: Deep Decarbonization at the U.S. Subnational Level” focused on deep carbon reductions that are being achieved now in Minnesota and other states—and by corporations headquartered in Minnesota and around the United States. In some cases, these commitments to decarbonization will result in carbon reductions at three times the rate of the global Paris Agreement. The event included attendees from 16 nations and four continents. Participants are now finalizing an action document, including recommendations for global action to improve global climate governance. Fresh Energy’s contribution calls for development of a pathway that holds climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, with an automatic trigger for additional climate action if we fall behind on meeting this obligation.
Next Steps in Fresh Energy’s International Climate Work
This conference was the most recent in a long line of international events where J. Drake Hamilton has showcased Fresh Energy’s—and Minnesota’s—progress to the global community. Later this year, the 24th meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be convened in a coal-mining center of Katowice, Poland from December 3-14, 2018. Hamilton is preparing work that will help hold the official United States delegation accountable to climate action and will highlight Minnesota’s actions and results on the path to deep decarbonization.
Negotiators from almost 200 countries will be decided on the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, and we expect calls for action on financing climate action in the poorest nations that are now suffering from climate change-imposed damage. You can follow Fresh Energy’s work leading up to the global climate summit by signing up for our e-newsletter to receive updates about two free webinars: A pre-Summit webinar to let you know what’s at stake in these tricky negotiations, and a post-Summit wrap-up of results and what they mean for needed U.S. state and federal action.