CCU Lesson: The Paris Agreement & Citizen-Led Climate Action

CCU Lesson: The Paris Agreement & Citizen-Led Climate Action

The following is the content of a Citizens’ Climate University lesson delivered Thursday, February 4, 2016, on the Paris Agreement, Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s organizing to support a strong outcome at COP21, the ongoing work of the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network, and how all of this translates into citizen policy action in the United States.

The lesson is broken into four sections:

  1. How the UNFCCC Process Works
  2. CCL’s Paris Ground Game
  3. How the Paris Agreement Mobilizes Action
  4. What does that mean for CCL and the US?

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Full Report from Minneapolis 2015

Full Report from Minneapolis 2015

A new platform for citizen engagement in global negotiations—the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network—was announced at Minneapolis 2015: Climate Action, Last Stop Before Paris. The spirit of Minneapolis 2015 was laid out by former Minnesota Governor Al Quie, who said recently that action on climate requires: “Radical integrity, creative collaboration, and no excuses.” We will now work to ensure that those three standards embody the effort to give people around the world a voice in global negotiations.

During the two-day event, Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the Partnership for Change brought together a diverse range of thinkers and changemakers to explore and develop concrete strategies for accelerating climate action. On Sunday, October 25, more than 170 people participated in 18 dialogue sessions and 3 plenaries.

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Australia Diary: Day 3

Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015

First day of the first-ever Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia National Conference.

It’s Rod’s day. I get some coffee and breakfast. Send some emails. Post some photos. Rod starts us off with good work on how CCL’s way of lobbying is different. It is excellent, because he is prefacing the Group Start I will do and the lobby training for the next day, so that all of that other work will be easier, more far-ranging, and more attuned to achieving the desired outcome. Then we have three presentations—one from Warwick Smith, one from Walter Jehne, and one from me—then a panel discussion between the three of us.

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CCL2015: Full Conference Report

An idea whose time has come

In 2010, when Citizens’ Climate Lobby brought 25 citizen volunteers to Capitol Hill, it felt like a big challenge to get enough people to go the distance, to meet with all 535 voting members of Congress. This year, we brought 36 times as many people, and it is looking more like we will need more elected officials to welcome and build relationships with all the citizen lobbyists coming to make democracy work.


The 2015 CCL International Conference brought a record number of citizen volunteer lobbyists together—more than 900—to have real policy discussions with elected officials. It was a breakthrough year in a lot of ways:

  • For the first time, we had more people attending than could reasonably fit into the meetings we had scheduled.
  • We had nearly three times as many volunteers to role-play members of Congress in our basic training than we had volunteers total in our first conference.
  • We heard from not one but two great scientists who have been named to TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people on Earth.
  • We were joined by dozens of faith leaders, who came to support this message of enhanced civics and substantive policy for a livable world.
  • Pope Francis released his Encyclical Laudato Si: On caring for our common home 5 days before we went to the Hill.
  • On the morning of our Lobby Day, the Lancet released a comprehensive public health study that calls for pricing carbon as necessary to protect human health from now on.
  • And, in one Republican office after another, we heard the message: we get the science; we want to talk about solutions.

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Hummingbirds, Polar Bears & People

The climate crisis is not only about polar bears. Our own actions have ramifications in the world, so polar bears and other life forms are threatened by the degradation of complex life-support systems. Those natural systems depend on a stable climate, with carbon dioxide concentrations between 280 and 350 parts per million. Those same life-support systems help to make our world livable for human beings, so we have built a civilization that depends on that efficient, life-giving interplay of natural forces. 

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How Citizens can Catalyze Climate Action

On June 5—World Environment Day—we held a press conference to announce CCL’s effort, through the Pathway to Paris project, in collaboration with the World We Want, to build a worldwide always-active Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network. The press conference was conducted in association with the Climate Matters video interview series, as well as COY11, CliMates, IAAI GloCha, Context News, and the Association Actions Vitales pour le Developpement Durable.

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