Connecting Pittsburgh To the COP21 International Climate Negotiations
Author: Mark Dixon
Film Producer, Activist, Entrepreneur
Mark graduated from Stanford University in 1997 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. He started his technology career in Silicon Valley and worked for two start-up companies, including Akimbo Systems, where he managed the deployment of nearly 10,000 programs for its Internet video service. A citizen of the world, he lived on three continents and visited 26 countries, particularly enjoying a year in Tokyo, Japan. Mark also entertained audiences on stage with choral and solo performances of jazz, comedy, gospel, opera, and classical music as well as improv and musical theater. As evidence for global warming and resource depletion moved into prominent view on an international scale, Mark decided to refocus his life on tackling those issues, launching "YERT - Your Environmental Road Trip" in 2006 with his college buddy, Ben Evans. Mark (as Producer) and Ben (as Director) ultimately created a feature film documenting the YERT adventure, which has been enthusiastically screened by dozens of film festivals around the world. The film has earned numerous awards, most notably the Audience Awards at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and the Environmental Film Festival at Yale. "YERT - Your Environmental Road Trip" was recently picked up for distribution in the U.S. and Canada by First Run Features and continues to screen around the world. The film is also available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, or simply at YERT.com. Mark currently contracts for Google in Pittsburgh; he also leads the New Economy Working Group’s “Mapping Project” at the Thomas Merton Center. In 2011, Mark received PennFuture’s “Citizens Choice Green Power Hero” award for his work on the YERT film.
I’ve been following The Climate Mobilization organization for a couple years now, and have been pleased to see them rally around a “wartime mobilization” platform to address climate change in a timeframe that I feel is the most ambitious and most meaningful of any plan I’ve ever seen. I still have yet to dig into the details, but the bullet points look very good and I encourage any climate-caring citizen to familiarize yourself with the plan and share it widely. They’re looking for feedback, too, so definitely send them your comments! Here’s the link: http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/victory_plan
Just a few short months after the COP21 event in December, and coinciding with Earth Day, world leaders gathered today at United Nations HQ in New York City to sign what is being called the “Paris Climate Agreement.” The details of the signing and ratification process are complicated, so I’ll just say that it is likely that it will be signed and ratified by enough nations to come into effect, though I’m not sure when.
Friday’s signing sets a record for the number of countries signing an agreement on the first available day, the Associated Press reported. The old record goes back to the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay, which was signed by 119 countries in 1982, according toAccuWeather.
Signing the accord is only one step in the process. The leaders must now go back to their home countries’ governments to ratify and approve the agreement, which could take months or years. The deal goes into effect once 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions formally join.
I am not in a celebratory mood on this occasion. Just since December we have seen the global heat record get “smashed,” as noted by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson at the Weather Underground here. The annual mean growth rate of CO2 in the atmosphere also hit a record high in 2015, with 3.05ppm.
The Paris Agreement will be useful IF and ONLY if it triggers massive global action AND we do not use it as cover to grow complacent in our local, regional, and global efforts to combat climate change. I believe, as Bernie Sanders has mentioned and as championed by the Climate Mobilization, that a wartime-scale mobilization to address the climate crisis is our only option. Hillary Clinton still supports burning natural gas as part of a broad energy transition (which I view as a non-starter), and Republican presidential candidates are barely worth mentioning on this front (though Kasich does at least believe it exists).
One of my most trusted climate news aggregator sites, CarbonBrief.org, highlighted these two articles today that I feel are particularly important to consider on this day:
And don’t forget that I keep a curated breadcrumb trail of climate articles I find noteworthy in Mark’s Climate Mag(azine) via Flipboard. Subscribe to this ever-updated collection of articles (662 articles so far!) that I think might be interesting to those who follow my climate work. Great for mobile devices, too. Beautifully formatted on the Flipboard platform.
While not an occasion for a victory dance, today is an important day in climate history. I encourage you to use it as an opportunity to redouble your own carbon reduction efforts at home and in your community. Gather yourself, then step outside of your comfort zone. Nothing less will preserve a livable planet for future generations.
People often say nice things about my Power Point (actually Apple Keynote) slides, and I appreciate the encouragement! I’d like to share my secret sauce: a little book that I received during my training with Al Gore’s Climate Project. I can’t recommend it enough: Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes. You can now download the book for free at http://www.thegoodmancenter.com/resources/
I’ve trimmed it down a bit for the sake of your time, but it is quite comprehensive and covers multiple dimensions around COP21, complete with loads of photos, not to mention videos of the protests and COP21 grounds and booths, and even a brief snippet from noted scientist Kevin Anderson. You can find the slides for the lecture HERE. E-mail me if you’d like a version that contains the notes with the slides: mark [at] yert [dot] com.
You Are Invited: Filmmaker Mark Dixon on COP 21 Paris Adventures! Monday, February 1, 2016 at 7:00 PM in the Monroeville Public Library
Join us on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 7:00 PM at the Monroeville Public Library to hear Mark Dixon on his trip to Paris for COP 21 A FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF THE COP21 CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT
Mark Dixon, known throughout the region for his dedication to more sustainable solutions to our ecological and climate crisis, will be offering his impressions and experiences of the COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris in December. Mark’s trip to Paris as a representative of western Pennsylvania was funded by members of the Pittsburgh ecological community. Before he left, he spoke to many groups including FUMC about the issues and dynamics that would be at play at the Summit. Now, after having attended the summit as a reporter and an observer, he will be sharing his impressions and insights to our church and the wider Pittsburgh community. This is a bit of planetary history that is crucial to every one of us. Here is your chance to get a first-hand account of an international history making event.
I will be giving a COP21 presentation at the GBA’s “Lunch and Learn” event on Wednesday, 2/10. Ari Lattanzi from Pgh’s department of sustainability will also be presenting on the COP21 ramifications for Pittsburgh. Come on by! (But be sure to register.) https://www.go-gba.org/…/from-paris-to-pittsburgh-cop21-an…/
I’ll be interviewed live today at 1pm on Patricia DeMarco’s radio show on The Union Edge. You can listen to the live stream online here. I’ll be discussing lessons learned from the COP21 climate negotiations, not to mention how we can advocate for climate action at all levels of government, business, and community life. Hope that you can make it!