One of our founding goals was to offer rapid turnaround analysis of the most important climate and energy issues, and to make that analysis available ‘open source’. In doing so, we reasoned, we’d be boosting the effectiveness of the many, many parties –- from negotiators to civil society leaders — who are calling for climate policy ambitious enough to be consistent with the latest science. And, if such groups found our analysis helpful and clarifying, we assumed they would share it with their networks and constituencies, reaching more people than our small team ever would on its own.
Over the years, from Copenhagen to Cancun, this has been a productive formula for us, and it paid off again in Durban, where we analyzed the impact of waiting until 2020 to increase the ambition of pledges.
- The Washington Post covered our analysis on Dec 6th: U.N. climate talks move slowly as new studies urge more dramatic emissions cuts;
- Out of dozens of side events offered that day, the analyses from our team was included in the ECO – the Climate Action Network handout, widely read across the COP;
- In a youth briefing Jonathan Pershing was asked: “The current commitments that are on the table put us on a trajectory to around 4.3°C according to analysis by Climate Interactive. Are you suggesting that the commitments that have been put on the table are good enough and we should now look at 2020 and beyond?”;
- Civil society groups 350.org and Avaaz organized a global online petition drive that got 700,000 signatures in 48 hours. The petition said: “The world cannot afford delay on climate action. I urge you to abandon your proposal to postpone a binding global agreement until 2020, and stand with vulnerable countries around the world by stepping up your ambition and accelerating your timeline for bold climate action.”;
- The “Climate Progress” blog of Joe Romm reposted our findings; and
- Our analysis was shared within the TckTckTck network (a global alliance of more than 300 civil society groups). It also was included in a joint press release from Greenpeace and WWF.
While celebrating our role in these remarkable events, we also soberly acknowledge that, in the end, Durban did not increase the ambition of 2020 pledges to be in line with a feasible 2°C pathway. Our efforts helped the world to see, without any illusion, what was being decided, but we didn’t get a better deal.
So, we’ll be keeping at it, in 2012 and beyond. We’ll be ‘adding up’ current pledges, and we’ll be offering analysis of the ‘how-to’ of the transition to a low carbon economy, which is, after all, the fundamental re-orientation needed to deliver a liveable climate. As long as there are leaders out there calling for policy that matches the science, we’ll be doing what we can to offer analysis that helps them make their case.