Much has been made about French sensibilities-- their approach to art, fashion and food. My favorite out of the three is French food! Baguettes, buttery croissants, chocolate truffles—hmmmm, I could go on! I don’t think there is a dish from France that I don’t like - and I hope that will stay true this year as the climate negotiations are served up at COP 21. Currently, the City of Lights is the host of the COP21, a meeting where nearly 200 world leaders are gathered to finalize a climate deal that has been in the making for quite some time. What they decide will be felt throughout the world and set the tone for how the business community and others respond.
So what example will they set? If they follow the French cooking method, they will make dishes that are complex, layered in flavors and prepared with painstaking care. If we the people, could design the final menu worthy of an ambitious climate deal what would it include?
First Course: Reduce Emissions
The first order of business is to agree to stay clear of increasing global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius. To help in that effort all countries must do their part. To preserve the world as we know it, the reduction of emissions must be aggressive and science-based.
Second Course: Invest in Adaptation Tools for Farmers
Small-scale farming is an ancient profession that has stood the test of time in part because of the resiliency of small-scale farmers. Today, it is still a predominant profession for many of the world’s poor. However if this traditional way of farming is to continue in spite of extreme weather events climate finance needs to be taken seriously and support not only the proper tools but practices as well. Farmers need things like storage for animals and crops, irrigation, and greater variety of drought resistant crops. They also need extension services, trainings and farmer-led exchanges. Farmers already know what tools and practices would make a difference. A great climate deal would put them all on the table.
Third Course: Fight for a Living Income
Risk is a part of life and cannot be avoided, but the production of a small-scale farmer could be wiped out in seconds by climate change-fuelled disaster. A living income would help small-scale farmers better prepare for uncertain times. It's the difference between a life of constant anxiety and worry to a life of more restful nights. Living income is the security so many small-scale farmers so desperately need.
These are the three courses we want the negotiations to serve and deliver. The chorus of voices calling on world leaders to deliver an ambitious deal is growing. But we can’t win this alone - we need industries and companies to speak out against opposition to change. Now is not the time to be silent with so much at stake. There are still powerful industries using their weight to influence decisions or placing bets that world leaders will drag their feet to avoid the necessary changes.
But if we continue to band together, there is a chance the next big thing to come out of Paris is the most ambitious and comprehensive climate deal ever. Together we can do our part to push governments in the right direction - send a message to your government here.