Global Climate Action in 2021

The devastating impacts and costs of COVID-19, climate disruption, biodiversity collapse, and worsening inequality, interact and compound each other. The resilience of entire societies is at risk. To avoid catastrophic climate disruption, the world needs to keep global heating to 1.5ºC or less. The total projected climate action across the world, right now, is not enough to keep heating to 3.5ºC.

We not only need to build back better from the COVID economic crisis; we need to build a future that is climate-smart and resilient.

2021 provides a number of opportunities to make that possible.

  • All nations need to upgrade their national climate action plans, ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Change negotiations in Glasgow, in November. The return of the United States to the Paris Agreement is a geopolitical game-changer.
  • The costs of the COVID emergency have revealed the unaffordable consequences of poor disaster risk management. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank have recognized the high-cost threat of unchecked climate change.
  • National climate action strategies need to be economy wide, leverage all capabilities of government and enterprise, build and diversify local economies, enhance food security, and protect Nature.
  • Ahead of the Glasgow negotiations, the Climate Adaptation Summit, the Committee on World Food Security, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Food Systems Summit provide historic opportunities to work toward shared health and resilience.
  • Sustainable recovery efforts will also be shaped by the actions of cities, regions, trading partners, investors and entrepreneurs, and by people working to build resilience person by person at the local level.

Co-creating a livable future is everyone’s business.

The decisions we make rule out certain possibilities and create others. We are the crew on this spaceship called Earth, and everything we care about depends on whether we can achieve climate resilience. To achieve lasting, shared, adaptive resilience, we will need to recognize and act on these six Principles for Reinventing Prosperity:

  1. We are all future-builders.
  2. Health is a fabric of wellbeing and value.
  3. Resilience is a baseline imperative.
  4. Leave no one behind.
  5. Design to transcend crisis.
  6. Maximize integrative value creation.

Throughout 2021, Citizens’ Climate International will work with local volunteer chapters, networks of allies, and multistakeholder coalitions, to build support for and concrete action on these principles, and to ensure people have meaningful ways to engage in the design and realization of a healthy, sustainable future open to all.