Much has happened this year globally, across the US, and here at Path to Positive Communities. Leaders from all sectors have a lot to be proud of, and their work in 2015 may just mark a turning point for finally getting serious about climate change. Here is your guide to some highlights from 2015:
- The biggest story in climate this year was of course the meeting of nearly 190 nations in Paris for the 21st United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate. Surpassing all expectations, a deal was reached that marks a serious first step in keeping climate warming under 2-degrees Celsius. With each country pledging to cut emissions, regularly scheduled reporting guidelines on progress, and commitments to help finance and support developing nations—the deal goes further than any international climate agreement on record.
- Back in the US, against all odds, major climate action has finally gotten some traction. In August, President Obama released the details for a comprehensive plan that implements strict carbon standards for power plants and industry. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) aims to address all sectors affected by fossil fuel emissions—including protecting public health, reducing energy bills for families and businesses, creating jobs, and fostering development and investment in renewable energy sources. The CPP has already had an effect, leading states to outline their action plans, and in many cases, begin to transition to sustainable energy.
- Path to Positive: Last year, Path to Positive Communities was able to break ground on a new initiative that committed mayors throughout the Mississippi River Delta Region to act on climate. The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative has thus far enlisted nearly 20 mayors throughout the region, and progress is being made to encourage more to sign on.
- Climate Day LA: In November, in conjunction with Climate Resolve, Path to Positive hosted leaders across multiple sectors to gather and discuss climate solutions. With leaders from faith, communities, business, higher education, and health—the diverse coalition was able to come together and draft a climate declaration that was taken to Paris.
- Let’s Talk Climate: ecoAmerica just released groundbreaking new research outlining how leaders from all sectors can successfully communicate about climate change. Effective climate communication is essential for inspiring action, combating denial, and expressing how combined actions lead to personal benefits.
With such a successful 2015, the year to come has big shoes to fill. Implementing the pledges of COP21, the CPP, the MRCTI and putting Let’s Talk Climate into practice now represent the real work ahead. Accountability to these commitments is critical, and it is important for all to keep a diligent eye to whether progress is being made and promises are being kept. Leaders must also continue to push ahead, creating more opportunities in their cities, educating and communicating with residents about the shared benefits of climate action, and paving a Path to Positive Communities!
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