New network, to be launched in Paris, will engage citizens in climate solutions


New network, to be launched in Paris, will engage citizens in climate solutions

OCT. 30, 2015 — A new strategy for citizen participation in global climate change negotiations will be launched in Paris this December – the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network (CCEN). The announcement came from Citizens’ Climate Lobby Global Strategy Director Joe Robertson this week at Minneapolis 2015: Climate Action, Last Stop Before Paris.

The CCEN will provide a way for non-governmental stakeholders throughout the world to shape policies after the Paris climate accord that will reduce greenhouse gas emission currently putting our climate at risk.

“It’s important to remind ourselves that we are called to ethical action,” said Robertson, adding that “engagement is how we expand the civic space, how we empower people to serve as citizens, taking an active role in the building of their own future.”

Robertson said the CCEN would be an action-oriented platform for engagement, sustained by partners who have committed to ensure that individuals, communities and volunteer networks, including local leaders, who want to bring their local genius, solutions, and capability, to global negotiations, can do so.

Madeleine Para at Minneapolis 2015
CCL Program Director Madeleine Para speaks with panel moderator Don Shelby at Minneapolis 2015.

At the Minneapolis event, former Minnesota Governor Al Quie set the tone, when he said recently that action on climate requires “radical integrity, creative collaboration, and no excuses.”

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.

Addressing delegates at Minneapolis 2015, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said the day of dialogue was “exciting”, adding that “what’s going to happen in Paris will really affect the world forever.” The Senator thanked participants for doing this work, to ensure we are all part of an open discussion.

At the event, Dan Kraker from MPR, and journalist Don Shelby moderated discussions among pioneers in citizen empowerment, economics, and policy. Shelby said that, while many believe all power resides in the hands of a few, “the truth is the history of our country is one that suggests that real, lasting change is brought about by people.”

Participants at the event focused on the role of cities, and the power of local engagement, where solutions “bubble up,” instead of being received as mandates from the top down. Participants recognized the risk to businesses from ongoing climate disruption and called for enhanced energy efficiency efforts, incentives, and routine accounting of secondary business costs externalized to society.

Minneapolis 2015 was the first in a series of dialogues. The next four will be in December at the COP21 in Paris, in April at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, in May in Oslo at the Partnership for Change annual conference, and in June at the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

In her closing remarks, Ingrid Stange of the Partnership for Change announced a pledge by leading Norwegian companies to work with government to strengthen national climate action. She said “I have an internal picture of us all walking different avenues from all areas of the world,” and quoted Arctic explorer David Thoreson, saying “let’s see what we can do together.”

Closing remarks on opening day came from Marilyn Carlson Nelson, co-CEO of Carlson Holdings, a large travel and hospitality company, who said she was “intoxicated by engagement” and, quoting Shakespeare, urged participants to “go out of this room and take the tide.”

Steve Valk
Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.