People know time’s up for a safe climate. What’s next?

This article by Rupert Read and Liam Kavanagh first appeared on LBC here.

For over twenty years, we’ve been hearing that there’s just enough time left to fix climate change — if we act now. This treaty. That summit. They come and go. The clock has been stuck at ‘five minutes to midnight’ while every grave international meeting and report comes billed as our last chance…. and leaves us looking forward to our next ‘last chance’.

July 3, 2023 was the hottest day ever recorded, over 1.5 degrees above historical temperature, showing that dangerous climate change is here. 

This week, records are tumbling across Europe; Italians and Spaniards are coping (or not) with temperatures in the high 40s; forests in the Canary Islands are being incinerated. 

Understandably people are getting desperate — inaction must be broken very soon, if we are to avoid the worst. 

Desperation shows itself in radical actions, like Just Stop Oil’s recent disruptions of Cricket and Wimbledon, which aim to raise the alarm. But is all attention good attention, and will these tactics alone really bring about the change we need?

Like Extinction Rebellion before them, Just Stop Oil have raised awareness, but their methods are not how most people will address the issue. 

Polls show that a majority of people are now concerned about climate change and authorities’ failure to act, but they don’t feel like climate action is for people like them. 

We at the Climate Majority Project (CMP) have been engaging with many climate-concerned Britons about the matter — many of us share the urgency of XR and Just Stop Oil, but still feel a world away from their tactics. 

CMP is working to channel that energy into citizen action that can make governments take notice. We are also attracting many who tried JSO or XR and decided their time was best spent in other ways.

The next big thing is a lot of smaller things.

The desperation that climate news arouses turns into hope when we each have the support of others who are facing the problem, have a part to play and trust that others will play their parts too. 

People have enormous power to create change in their workplaces, communities and organisations. We can directly lower emissions and show politicians that people want action. 

Projects that make this possible are already emerging, and we are here to help them grow, multiply, coordinate and connect with as many people as possible. 

CMP is incubating successful initiatives that are helping professionals coalesce on ambitious climate targets (as with Lawyers for Net Zero), catalysing community climate action where people grow food and advance a climate agenda in their local parishes, informing local groups about their MP’s positions on climate, rewilding royal lands, and more. 

We also are engaging at the highest levels of government and industry where many are realising that change is needed now and are working to get there step-by-practical-step. The climate majority includes everybody who understands the need to act for a liveable climate – and it holds the future in its hands.

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