GBA Lunch & Learn Presentation on COP21

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.)…/from-paris-to-pittsburgh-cop21-an…/


Mark interviewed on Union Edge Radio today at 1pm!

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!

Event Tomorrow: Bill Peduto, Mark Dixon, and Angela Wiley Discuss COP21

“After Paris: Now the Real Work Begins”COP21_151208c_top-1410552

There is a Pittsburgh350 event tomorrow evening, where I’ll be discussing the COP21 proceedings with Mayor Bill Peduto and fellow activist Angela Wiley. Here’s a scrape from the Pgh350 announcement:
7:00 to 8:30 pm, Wednesday January 13 
Human Services Building, 1 Smithfield St., Pittsburgh 15222
(Free parking behind the building off Ft. Pitt Blvd).
To all friends of Pittsburgh350
At this, our inaugural Pgh350 Monthly Meeting, we will first hear from three Pittsburghers who were in Paris during the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris. Serving on the panel will be Mayor Bill Peduto, Mark Dixon, and Angela Wiley.
Following a short break, we will learn of current campaigns that Pgh350 is supporting as a consequence of our discussion many of you participated in last September:
  • City of Pittsburgh Divestment (Gabe McMorland)
  • Chatham University Divestment Campaign (Cameron Heyder)
  • Personal Divestment (Lucyna de Barbaro)
Interested friends are invited to sign-on to the above campaigns.  They are also invited to participate in the following activity.
  • Finally, we will collectively discuss how to translate the spirit of the COP21 conference to actions here in Pittsburgh during the week of May 7-15, in association with the world-wide ‘Break Free from Fossil Fuels’ campaign (see
See you all on Wednesday,
Peter Wray
Pgh350 steering committee

The UN’s Official COP21 Wrap-up Video

It was interesting for me to watch this video a few weeks after COP21. It brought me back to the build-up and the drama of the final hours. Would something get passed? Would it be good enough? The sheer emotion of it all was so thick in the air that this video doesn’t really do it justice, but it does show some hints:

I had a sense during the proceedings that world leaders weren’t necessarily calling this a victory, more just a vital step in a longer journey. But this video puts a bit more of a victorious tone on the whole gathering. A more “We did it! Now we’re done!” tone that I firmly disagree with. What do you think?

Mark Dixon Presents: Post-COP21 Climate Negotiations

A waste of carbon dioxide or a groundbreaking monument to international collaboration? Mark Dixon will share his reflections on the results of the complicated and emotionally-charged COP21 Climate Negotiations, including a discussion of the local, national, and international implications of the agreement. Refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday, January 19at 7 PM – 9 PM
First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh
5401 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232
Please RSVP at:

In case you haven’t been following Mark’s journey, he crowdfunded his way to Paris, France to attend the COP21 Climate Negotiations this past December, where he was able to get into the secure “Blue Zone” with a press accreditation. He covered the full two-weeks of proceedings from inside and outside the venue, with frequent blog entries here:

And lots of photos here:

Brilliant lecture by Tim Flannery on carbon sequestration

Tim Flannery goes into as much detail as he can about carbon sequestration opportunities in the time allotted for his lecture below.

The goal of keeping global average temperatures below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is a noble one, but it instantly points to the inadequacy of our current approaches to reaching such a goal. At this late stage in the game, even instantaneous full decarbonization of the global economy (i.e. instantly removing all dependence on gasoline, natural gas, diesel fuel, and all other carbon emitting power sources) does not give us time to achieve 1.5°C or better. This means that we need to actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere on an industrial scale using technologies that are both un-proven and un-discovered. Flannery’s talk dives directly into this important frontier with important implications for government and business research and development opportunities. One of my favorite videos of the year! Thanks to Pirate Television for recording it.

Getting my thoughts together on COP21

I’ve been sifting through countless articles while wrapping up my trip to Paris, and I’m sorry I don’t have more details to share with you sooner. That said, please keep up with my posts on Facebook and Flipboard (see the resources page of this site for Flipboard, and the right column on this page for Facebook). And as I prepare to board my flight home, I do have some initial reflections. Not final by any means, but a start to the digestion process… 

The COP21 agreement is clearly insufficient. And there are disconnects in various portions of the agreement. Huge gaps that all of civilization could fall through. But more than words took place at this monumental gathering. It was the greatest assemblage of world leaders in world history. It comprises the greatest pulse of human energy ever directed towards the 1.5C goal. It lit a fire under portions of the global media suddenly reporting on 1.5C. Now we will have a mainstream pathway to begin to discuss this moonshot goal. Perhaps we can finally now tap into and then harness the distributed genius of creative and motivated minds around the world to embark upon the magnitude of problem-solving required by our climate predicament. Perhaps now the task of highlighting pitfalls and opportunities in our moral landscape will no longer fall solely on the shoulders of volunteers, grassroots activists, and a handful of tenured college professors. Perhaps now it will be shouldered by the civilizational infrastructure that has, until this day, been hell bent on liquidating nature to benefit a minority of global citizens. The skeptic in me says it’ll never happen, but I also recognize that if it ever were possible, it would require a parade of world leaders the likes of which we have never seen. That happened. I would say that global mainstream media would need to actively grapple with the “rock and a hard place” nature of our climate challenge. That happened and continues daily. I would say that we would need to see ordinary people choose to stick themselves into the gears of the fossil fueled status quo machine. That has started to happen, and much more is slated for 2016. 

There is so much to discuss. I’m sorting through the details. Thank you for your patience.