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Climate Change Momentum - A Conversation

By: Amy Tyler

Climate Change - A Conversation

There’s momentum brewing that we wanted to share with you. It started with conversations between Global Greens facilitated by our incredible convenor Keli Yen. It then solidified as Greens supported one another to send delegates to COP24. It expanded with a Global Greens climate change webinar with 50 attendees from every possible time-zone. And now it is coalescing with the formation of a Climate Change Working Group.

Despite the enthusiasm and undeniable importance of a climate change, I’ve a niggling question. Is participating in a Global Greens Working Group the most effective way to achieve change now? With my own cautiousness in mind, I set out to ask some of our leading thinkers about why they think a Global Greens Working Group is important and what we can hope to achieve from it.

The first person I spoke to was Georg Kössler. Georg has been a member of the Greens for over 18+ years and he’s now a Member of Parliament for the Berlin State Assembly. Well spoken, thoughtful and experienced across the local, national and global levels of the Greens, Georg didn’t hesitate in his support of a Working Group.

More than ever before Georg is in a position to take action and make decisions that directly address climate change. Not only is he a Member of Parliament, with access to the public platform and resources that come with this position, he’s also working full-time on issues like climate change and doesn’t have to squeeze volunteering in and around his day job.  

He explained how holding this position makes him even more aware of the importance of global Working Groups like the one proposed. Why? Because he can only help implement the best, most thoughtful and inclusive legislation if he has a robust network to consult and work with. As Georg said:

 “It would be great to bring Green Members from the Global South to Germany or Europe because there’s an immediate trust there. And with this trust and connection comes the possibility of building a solid contact with whom to discuss ideas and develop policy.”

That is to say, the relationships individuals form through their involvement with the Global Greens build the backbone and trust for frank discussions about what’s possible, where to compromise and where to stand firm on challenging policy issues like Climate Change. In short, the more discussions global greens can facilitate through Working Groups like the one proposed, the better the legislative outcome at every local, regional and national level.

This point about trust and connections was reinforced, although from a different angle, by the second person I spoke to: Pegah Edalatian, who came up with the idea of forming a global Climate Change Working Group with Keli. Pegah is undeniably a deep thinker. She’s the elected Spokesperson for a Working Group on Global Development in Germany. And this is just in her spare time! As a day job, she works as a political advisor on issues of International Affairs and Youth to parliament.

In her words:

 “Climate change policy will only be effective if we take a multilateral perspective. And the only way to develop this perspective is to have a global mindset. And the pathway to this mindset? Communication with those from different backgrounds and experiences.”

I asked her though whether taking onboard so many perspectives slows or undermines the effectiveness of climate change actions.  It seems hard enough to decide on the best technology or way to transition to renewables, let alone consider the myriad complexities involved in human rights, feminism or intergenerational justice.

Quite the opposite, Pegah responded. Not taking into account these perspectives delivers poorer outcomes. Below are just a couple of the great examples she gave that illustrate how including a gender perspective makes climate change policy more effective

The final point she made left me convinced about the relevance of forming a Climate Change Working Group now. She reminded me that even as the urgency driving global action increases daily, the multilateral institutions set up to respond to these types of global threats become weaker. That is, even though conferences like COP can bring together the world’s best minds, they no longer have the moral legitimacy to enforce climate policies at a regional level. As Pegah said:

"The biggest threat is the rollback into nationalism that we are witnessing. It makes international agreements difficult and in times when global problems can not be solved by isolated states, this development is a threat to all our security - particularly when it comes to Climate Change."

 The Global Greens Climate Change Working Group proposes countering the above threat by: a) strengthening our networks to support a global movement for climate justice; and b) supporting delegates to attend conferences like COP and ensuring the latest developments and best thinking is translated back to the national, regional and local level for effective implementation; and c) reinforcing and pushing multilateral institutions like COP to take even stronger positions.

As Pegah said: “It’s all a reinforcing circle. The greener regions and municipalities can exchange knowledge, learnings and also back up multilateral agreements that then creates pressure for less green regions to act. It’s a bottom up approach that creates the circle.”

If you would like to find out more about the plans / developments for the Climate Change Working Group please contact [email protected] 

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