The first step to action is education.
While many people around the world know about climate change, or see their climate changing daily, many are unaware of the
extent of the most recent science, and that world leaders are gathering this year to decide upon our future. This presentation
is meant to be a tool for you, a local climate change organizer, to raise awareness about climate change in your community,
and build momentum towards the 24 october international day of climate action.
Let’s get started!
This presentation is divided into three main parts: the science, the
politics, and the movement of climate change. We believe that,
together, these three components will help to educate and empower
people to take action in their community. However, do not feel that
all of these slides must be used, and that the script must be read
word for word. Customize and edit the presentation to suit your
needs! Include recent news, facts that you think are important, and
perhaps information that is relevant to your town, city, or region.
Again, the main goal is to build momentum towards October 24th.
And don’t worry -- you don’t need to be an expert on climate change
to give this presentation. All it takes is a bit of research beforehand,
and practicing the slideshow a couple of times. Before you know it,
you will become an educator in your community!
Steps for educating your community about
350 and climate change.
1) Read through the slideshow and script, to the point that you What you need for your presentation:
feel comfortable with the material.
2) Research climate change issues that you do not understand, so
* A projector - oftentimes a local school,
that you will be able to talk about the science and politics of this university, organization, or library will have one
issue with more ease. Some great resources are: you can borrow - ask around! If it’s a small
* http://www.unep.org/climatechange/ group, you could just use a computer and have
* http://www.ipcc.ch/ everyone gather around.
* A space to present and an audience - perhaps
3) Customize the presentation for how you see fit. If given in the same group that lends you the projector
complete form, this presentation will take about 30-40 minutes,
which can be good for a classroom, but way too long for other
might have some space to organize the
settings. Figure out how much time you have, and customize as presentation.
needed. Add or delete slides, and include information that you think
is relevant. Some slides in the presentation are already marked for
possible customization. Here´s a quick list of things to customize, * Optional: printouts of the slides handout, the
or ideas to research to make this presentation more relevant locally: 350.org science, policy, and solutions factsheets,
and the 9-step organizing plan. See www.350.
Include local climate impacts: do a bit of research on how climate
change is impacting your country or region, and include important org/action-resources for everything available at
headlines, quotes, or statistics this moment!
Know your politics: Look up your country´s position in the
UNFCCC, or your national plan/policy on climate change
Look up local solutions: honor, and spread the word about the good
work that others in your community or country are doing to address
Tips for presenting
Try to move around during your
presentation. Use your body language. If you just
stand still in one place, you will become invisible
soon to you audience and their eyes and mind
might start to wander around.
Include other multimedia: show the 350 videos as part of the slideshow, photos
Use examples and stories to illustrate
of climate impacts from where you’re from, etc. to make your slideshow more concepts. This can be your experience or
interesting something you read.
Cut it down! We purposefully included a lot of material so that local organizers Make eye contact. If you’re speaking to a small
can include what they find useful, and delete the rest. group (for example, 2-15 people), then try to
accomplish eye contact with each person for a few
4) Plan where you want to give the slideshow, and practice!
seconds throughout your delivery. Look up from
Here are some ideas for where you can give the presentation: your materials, or notes, every 5-10 seconds.
• High-schools, Universities, and Community Colleges Speak a little bit louder and a little bit slower
• Environmental studies department or institute than you normally would do with a friend. Vary the
• Environmental clubs volume and rate of your speech. A monotone voice
• Chambers of Commerce in towns (at lectures/events)
won’t keep the attention of an audience.
• Organizations that are dedicated to the environment - check out www.
idealist.org or www.wiserearth.org for ideas and contact information.
• Major Worldwide Community Clubs - Rotary, Lyons, and Kiwanis clubs Appear knowledgeable. A key PowerPoint
• Local environmental, community, religious, social organizations presentation skill is rehearsal. You must be
familiar with the material, its context and timing.
Also, here are some other organization that give similar presentations: Once you are familiar with your PowerPoint slides,
you will appear more natural. Know the facts
• The Climate Project: international non-profit founded by Al Gore with a
and figures that you quote and don’t, whatever
mission to increase public awareness of the climate crisis at a grassroots
happens, be tempted to read from the slide
• Alliance for Climate Education: performs interactive assembly screen. Not only do you turn your back on your
presentations for high school students that explain global warming and its audience, but you also appear less knowledgeable.
effect on our planet, while offering solutions to combat it
• Earthwatch Institute: Engages people worldwide in scientific field research Take some questions. A well-built PowerPoint
and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a presentation should allow you to hold a slot for
questions before you reach your conclusion.
• Sierra Club/Sierra Student Coalition: The oldest, largest, and most
Use a blank slide while you hold your question
influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States.
Sierra Student Coalition is a broad network of high school and college-aged and answer session. You can also refer to
youth from across the country working to protect the environment. supplementary slides if you feel they add
• Cool the Earth: ready-to-run program that educates K-8 students and something to an answer. The rules for all question
their families about global warming and inspires them to take simple and answer sessions still apply, however: keep
actions to reduce their carbon emissions them short and concise and you will achieve more
• Climate Classroom (part of National Wildlife Federation)
5) Give the presentation, and train others to do the same! Encourage
discussion, and set aside some planning time for an event in your community for
the 24 October International Day of Climate Action.
6) Take a photo! Take a photo with everyone present, and some representation Read on for a
of the number 350, and send it in to the 350 website! This will help connect your
activity to the global movement, and build momentum for your local group. slide-by-slide
7) Repeat these steps! Bring more people into the movement by continuing
script for the
to educate more people in your community. 350 climate
350.org is an international climate change campaign calling for a
fair Copenhagen climate treaty that meets the latest science. 350ppm
represents the safe upper limit of CO2 in our atmosphere. Take part in your
community on 24 October, 2009: An International Day of Climate Action.
Visit www.350.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
This script is for a presentation to
take about 30-40 minutes. Please
feel free to cut it down, rearrange it,
Follow along, or create your own! and/or add your own information!
I’ve already given a brief intro about what this magical number represents,
but….(flip to next slide)
Self-explanatory (read aloud)
It has a lot to do with science, and, more specifically,… (flip to next slide)
Self-explanatory (read aloud) (flip to next slide)
Self-explanatory (read aloud)
Climate change is already happening, and we are already seeing the impacts
all around the world. Which means we must take action now to ensure a
future safe from the worst effects of climate change.
We can all take action in our daily lives, by using less energy, consuming less,
changing our lightbulbs and more. But to make the big changes in our world
that are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must
focus on the politics. And as a problem that is truly global, we must find a
350 represents a specific goal for our entire planet, a line in the sand...
….to ensure an equitable future safe from climate catastrophe.
It’s no small task, but for people and nations everywhere, we need to make
sure all of the world’s decision makers pay attention to the most recent sci-
ence that is telling us 350 is the right target to aim for. And that’s what we
need this December, when world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark
to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions. The treaty currently on the
table doesn’t address the severity of the climate crisis--it doesn’t pass the
In order for 350 to become a reality for our world, we need to mobilize NOW!
…by moving away from fossil fuels and utilizing alternate sources of en-
...and uniting together to make sure our voices are heard, and to hold world
leaders accountable to protecting our collective future.
On 24 October, an international day of climate action, communities all around
the world will hold rallies large and small to let their leaders know what kind
of action they need to take on climate change: whatever can get us back to
On that day, there will be actions at thousands of iconic places around the
world - from the Taj Mahal to the Great Barrier Reef to our community – to
send a clear message to world leaders: the solutions to climate change must
be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the
scale of the crisis.
But first, let’s take a look at the science of climate change a little bit more.
What’s interesting is that the essential science behind climate change is
accepted by almost everyone – environmentalists, scientists, and politicians
alike. What remains at the center of heated debates, however, is how severe
climate change is and will become in the next few decades – and in turn, how
we must respond.
Over the last century, scientists have measured that the average temperature
of the earth has risen more than 1.3 ºF (0.7 ºC), namely due to enormous
amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that have been
released into the atmosphere over the last 150 years. While this increase in
warming might not seem like a lot, think about the fact that a rise in 3ºC is
comparable with the warming that occurred between the last ice age – 15,000
years ago – and the temperature of the 18th century.
The greenhouse effect refers to the rise in temperature that the Earth experi-
ences because certain gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and
methane, for example) trap energy from the sun.
Without these gases, heat would escape back into space and Earth’s aver-
age temperature would be about 60ºF colder. Because of how they warm our
world, these gases are referred to as greenhouse gases – much like how the
glass panes of a greenhouse let in light but keep heat from escaping, causing
the greenhouse to heat up.
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere behave much like the glass panes in
a greenhouse. Sunlight enters the Earth’s atmosphere, passing through the
layer of greenhouse gases. As it reaches the Earth’s surface, land and water
absorb the sunlight’s energy. Once absorbed, this energy is sent back into
the atmosphere. Some of the energy passes back into space, but much of it
remains trapped in the atmosphere by the greenhouse gases, causing our
world to heat up.
For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained
275 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Parts per million is simply a way
of measuring the concentration of different gases, and means the ratio of
the number of carbon dioxide molecules per million other molecules in the
Then, beginning in the 18th century, humans began to burn coal and gas and
oil to produce energy and goods. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere
began to rise, at first slowly and now more quickly. Many of the activities we
do every day like turning the lights on, cooking food, or heating or cooling our
homes rely on energy sources like coal and oil that emit carbon dioxide and
other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.
Right now, the planet has reached 390 parts per million CO2 – and this num-
ber is rising by about 2 parts per million every year.
Before I go on, do you think that 390 ppm CO2 is a safe level for our planet?
(wait for audience response) To find out, we’re going to take a look at some
climate impacts that are happening now.
Our first example is the rapid melting of glaciers around the world.
From the Himalayas, to the Andes, to the Alps to the Arctic, glaciers are
melting aroudn the world, and at astonishing rates, as you’ll see from the fol-
lowing series of photos. Many major cities and populations depend on these
glaciers for water, and agricultural productivity – the impending disappear-
ance of these glaciers is a major threat to food and water security for major
population centers worldwide. Over 1.5 billion people from India to China
depend on the Himalayan glaciers, which are melting at a rapid rate
Earlier this year in Bolivia, the Chacaltaya Glacier completely disappeared,
one of the glaciers that once supplied water to farmers and inhabitants of the
For example, take a look at this picture of Muir and Riggs Glacier in Alaska in
And now take a look at that same shot of the glacier in 2004. The glacier has
obviously receded in a drastic manner – in fact, it’s been measured that the
glacier has retreated more than 20 km.
Or look at Pedersen Glacier in Alaska in 1920….
…and now in 2005. Not only has the glacier itself declined, but the lagoon in
front of the glacier has become grassland.
Secondly, oceans are acidifying. What this means is that, as oceans soak up
large amounts of carbon dioxide, the water is becoming more acidic, affecting
coral reefs, algae, and marine life. As ocean acidification increases, calcium
carbonate ions that protect coral reefs are becoming more scarce, and reef
skeletons are eroding quickly.
Algae that live within coral reefs produce its vivid colors while secreting lime-
stone to build skeletons that make up the reef itself. However, with increasing
temperatures, the algae starts to photosynthesize at a rate too fast for the
coral to handle.
To protect its own tissue, the coral then expels micro-algae, causing the
white skeleton to show through – also known as mass bleaching
In addition to the fact that oceans are absorbing and releasing heat is the
rise in sea levels. As ocean water warms, it also expands, and the rise will be
increasingly compounded by glacial melting.
Due to the melting of glaciers around the globe, land-based ice melt, accord-
ing to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), has caused a
rise in ocean levels of about 5 cm per year.
This might not seem like a lot, but the rise is slowly creeping upward, with
the potential to make islands and coastal regions around the world uninhab-
itable. The IPCC conservatively estimates that sea levels could rise by 1m by
2100, which would have a devastating effect on major coastal cities, island
states and populous delta areas such as those in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
In addition to rising seas, ocean warming also causes weather patterns to
become more extreme..
As climate change has acclerated, so to has the number, frequency, and
intensity of hurricanes (also known as cyclones and typhoons, depending on
which part of the globe you live in). In 2005, three of the six most powerful
Atlantic hurricanes ever observed hit North America. Australia was also hit
in 2006 by three cyclones, each with winds over 155mph, offshore and on the
coast. Stronger hurricanes in a warmer world makes sense. Warm ocean
waters create hurricanes and cause them to grow in intensity. Scientists
have observed that the larger the area of ocean with waters above 26ºC, the
greater the chance that a tropical storm will ensue. In May of 2008, Cyclone
Nargis hit Burma hard, killing over 43,000 people, destroying about 95% of
the homes, and making over 190,000 people homeless.
The damage done by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina topped anything produced by a
single US storm for many decades. More than 1,800 people died, and billions
of dollars were needed to repair property damage caused by the storm. Even
today, four years later, New Orleans has not completely recovered from the
…and now in 2005. Not only has the glacier itself declined, but the lagoon in
front of the glacier has become grassland.
Less dramatic, but no less devastating, intensifying droughts and heat waves
due to climate change are majorly impacting countries around the world.
Climate studies and scientists’ understanding of the greenhouse effect both
point to an increase in hot spells and heat waves. Remember the massive
heat wave in Europe in the summer of 2003? More than 50,000 casual-
ties were reported that summer, and no heat wave in history has produced
such a large number of documented deaths.Increasingly warm ocean tem-
peratures offset the steady balance we typically have observed in the past.
Drastic shifts in climate dictate the amount of water that gets absorbed into
the atmosphere and that falls back down to earth, bringing both persistent
wetness or dryness to different parts of the world. An example is the drying
that is occurring in southern Australia. Over the last century, rainfall across
far southwest and eastern Australia has declined greatly. As of 2005, the city
of Perth had gone 38 years without reaching a yearly total of 1000 mm (39 in)
of precipitation, a mark once reached regularly. For a city with about 1.5 m
people, that’s a dangerous statistic. . Warming temperatures help evaporate
what little rain does fall before it can replenish water reserves.
While the number of droughts are on the rise due to climate change, as we
saw before, too much rain at once has also been causing horrific floods.
Precipitation intensity is increasing in certain areas, and snow or rain – once
it comes – tends to last several days instead of just a few hours.
What’s even worse is that higher temperatures not only allow more rain-
producing moisture to enter the atmosphere, but they also take more wa-
ter of out of land where it hasn’t been raining, resulting in both floods and
droughts. Recently, in February of 2009, the Solomon Islands declared a
national disaster after rain and flooding in the South Pacific nation killed 8
people and left another 13 missing, destroying homes and bridges.
Flooding was also observed in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and the
Marshall Islands, forcing tens of thousands of islanders to abandon their
homes. As you can see here, the number of floods witnessed worldwide since
1950 has skyrocketed.
Another cause of climate change is the devastation of forests. Increasing
temperatures produce severe droughts, an deforestation exacerbates the
problem due to the loss of the forest canopy, which helps retain moisture
in the forest. Also, the increase in pests due to a warmer climate has led to
rapid forest die-offs
In 2006, 9.2 million hectares of forest in British Colombia had already been
destroyed by mountain pine beetles – by 2013 the insect is expected to have
destroyed 80% of British Colombia’s forests, if not controlled. Once limited to
lower-elevation tree species, these beetles have now moved to higher eleva-
tions as temperatures warm – threatening expansion eastward over moun-
tain ranges that typically have stopped its spread. Forest fires are on the rise
and are expected to become more frequent and severe as the planet warms.
Not only do these fires destroy homes and land, but they are also a major
source of pollution. When trees are burned down, they release significant
amounts of CO2 into the air. Additionally, the loss of trees causes less CO2 to
be absorbed from the atmosphere.
Large forest fires and beetle invasions have been experienced recently in all
parts of the world, from Canada….
…to Australia, inciting the need for climate action now.
Small islands are at risk of disappearing. Islands that are just a meter or two
above sea level, such as the Maldives or Tuvalu, might be washed away in a
matter of years due to rising ocean levels and increased flooding from tropi-
cal storms. If this were to happen, island populations would become environ-
mental refugees, displacing millions of people.
Already, the president of the Maldives has created an investment fund from
tourism earnings so the nation can buy a new homeland in Sri Lanka and
India, for its citizens in case of massive flooding.
From droughts, to rising seas, to eroding coastal areas, climate change has
the potential to displace up to a billion people by 2050, some scientists say.
This has major humanitarian and security implications.
Potential climate change refugees, most of which live on small islands, are
responsible for an insignificant fraction of the world’s carbon emissions, yet
are considered among the most vulnerable people on earth to the effects of
All in all, climate change harms local livelihoods.
One of the key points of debate surrounding national and international efforts
to tackle climate change has been the potential economic cost. However, it
needs to be kept in mind that, if nothing is done to stop climate change, local
economies will be seriously compromised.
From tourism, to agricultural production, to the insurance industry, unpre-
dictable weather and harsher storms from climate change threaten to impact
every corner of the global economy as it functions today.
In 2006, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, a 700-page
report compiled for the British government, was released, detailing the ef-
fects of global warming on the world economy. The key take-away of this
report is that the costs of climate change in the future will be far greater than
the costs of mitigation now.
Climate change could sap anywhere from 5% to 20% from the global econo-
my by 2100, and global warming could inflict worldwide disruption as great
as that caused by the two World Wars and the Great Depression.
Even more basic than economic costs is the threat to our sustenance and
nourishment. Flooding from melting glaciers disrupts food production, and
unpredictable weather patterns make it difficult for farmers to cultivate
crops. It is estimated that between one and three billion people living in Asia
and African could lose 10-20% of their cereal-crop potential, increasing mal-
nutrition in less developed nations.
Warmer weather increases the spread of parasitic diseases. Malaria-carrying
mosquitoes are thriving in a warmer and moister climate, spreading the
deadly disease to previously untouched parts of Africa’s highlands.
Dengue fever, which is caused by 4 potentially fatal, mosquito-borne viruses,
is also on the rise, with about 2/5 of the world’s population now living in af-
fected areas, according to the WHO (World Health Organization).
Therefore, climate change threatens our basic security. (read quote aloud)
Perhaps the most startling evidence yet that we are outside of the safety zone
for planet Earth, has been the melting of the arctic. Take a look at the Arctic,
in 1979, and most recently, in 2007.
The Arctic is sending us the clearest message that climate change is occur-
ring much more rapidly than scientists previously thought. In the summer of
2007, sea ice was roughly 39% below the summer average for 1979-2000, a
loss of area equal to nearly five United Kingdoms.
Many scientists now believe the Arctic will be completely ice free in the sum-
mertime between 2011 and 2015, some 80 years ahead of what scientists had
predicted just a few years ago.
What this means is that climate change is accelerating, and impacts are hap-
pening much faster and more forcefully than previously predicted.
This is a chart that shows both how global temperature and CO2 concen-
trations have changed over time – scientists measure these by looking at
ice cores from the arctic regions. By looking at this chart, you can see how
closely temperature and CO2 have correlated over time – this is an essen-
tial piece of evidence in understanding how greenhouse gases effect global
temperature. As you can also see, CO2 levels have been erratic over the
course of time. However, they’ve stayed within the same range. Starting in
the 18th century with the industrial revolution, we began to creep slowly, and
now more quickly, outside of that range. Now we are far outside concentra-
tions we have ever seen in the past 600,000 years. As Reuters put it, “carbon
dioxide levels this year are literally off the chart” of levels we’ve ever seen
in recorded history. This means we are conducting a big experiment on our
Now, back to our current level of C02: 390 ppm.
So going back to our original question – do we think we’re above or below
where we need to be? (read aloud and wait for audience response)
Accelerating arctic warming and other early climate impacts have led sci-
entists to conclude that we are already above the safe zone at our current
390ppm, and that unless we are able to rapidly return to 350 ppm this cen-
tury, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts, such as the
melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from in-
creased permafrost melt. The fact that we’re above 350ppm doesn’t mean
that we should lose hope. It’s like going to the doctor who tells you that your
cholesterol is too high – you likely won’t have a heart attack that day – but you
improve your chances considerably by acting quickly to lower it.
As James Hansen of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administra-
tion, the first scientist to warn about global warming more than two decades
ago, wrote recently, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that
on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleo-
climate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to
be reduced from its current 387 ppm to at most 350 ppm.”
The last section was a little sobering, but like I said, the fact that we’re above
350ppm is not the end of the world – as long as we get back to 350 as soon as
we can. Getting to 350ppm is no easy task, but its not impossible either – and
it can mean very positive changes for communities worldwide.
We are already above 350ppm, and global emissions are continuing to rise
2ppm every year. This means we have to change course quickly, and that we
must act globally. It means transforming the way we get energy, transport
ourselves, and consume resources.
According to NASA scientist Jim Hansen, here’s what we need to do right
away: The number one way to cut emissions quickly and get back to 350ppm
is to stop burning dirty coal as soon as possible. Without coal, we must find
a way to make cheap, renewable energy widely available in order to ensure
all communities the right to develop cleanly. Coal may be a cheap form of
energy, but it causes major health problems for populations near where it is
burned, and major contamination where it is mined. Aside from the devasta-
tion it creates for our global climate, there are many reasons to move away
The second important step for getting to 350ppm is improving land use - both
agriculture and forests - in order to reduce emissions, and sequester car-
bon. Current deforestation is releasing vast amounts of CO2 that was once
sequestered by trees as they grew. Stopping deforestation, and replanting
forests with native species will allow forests, known as ‘sinks’, to absorb CO2
again. Eventually, the Earth’s soils and forests will slowly cycle some of that
extra carbon out of the atmosphere, and CO2 concentrations will return to a
safe level. By decreasing the use of other fossil fuels, and improving agricul-
tural and forestry practices around the world, scientists believe we could get
back to 350 by mid-century.
Getting back to 350 is a unique opportunity to remake our communities in
ways that are healthier, more locally self-sufficient, and honor traditional
and indigenous wisdom. We can get away from relying so heavily on sources
of fuel and food that come from far away, and instead grow more of our own
food locally, ride bikes and public transit, depend on local energy systems like
wind and solar, and create economies that aren’t as dependent upon limitless
growth. These types of solutions help create communities that are not only
friendlier to our climate, but are also healthier for our children’s lungs and
our collective well-being.
Implementing many of these solutions will require work - solar panels and
wind turbines won’t put up themselves, and its work that can’t be outsourced.
In the face of an increasing unemployment rate, people need jobs desper-
ately now more than ever - now we can create employment that both helps
communities and families, and our planet. A report from the United Nations
Environment Program found that the “investments in improved energy ef-
ficiency in buildings could generate an additional 2–3.5 million green
jobs in Europe and the United States alone. The potential is much higher in
Overall, changing the way in which we currently create and use electricity will
make us focus more on local solutions and making our communities healthi-
er and more self-sufficient.
This chart simply recaps the different solutions that can get us back to
350ppm – and the trajectories we will likely see with each one. [reiterate
each solution, starting with the phase-out of coal]. 350 is a tough diagnosis,
but it also presents us with a huge opportunity to remake our communities in
a local, healthy, and positive way.
The second part of our story is the politics of climate change.
We went over the science first because the science doesn’t negotiate or com-
promise – politicans can. Yet we need to understand the politics - so that we
can affect the policy to make sure it’s in line with the most current science,
and is strong enough to avoid the worst effects of global warming.
…and now in 2005. Not only has the glacier itself declined, but the lagoon in
front of the glacier has become grassland.
And 2009 is a crucial year. In December of 2009, delegates, non-governmen-
tal organizations, and businesses from every nation will meet in Copenhagen,
Denmark to finalize a new global climate change agreement that will define
the terms of the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, starting in 2012.
It is critical that, when these world decision-makers gather at this meeting,
they understand and are held accountable to crafting a treaty that is equitable
and informed by the most recent science.
Let’s step back for a moment and see why this meeting in Copenhagen is
happening in the first place. Back in 1988 as the first scientists began to
study global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC), a scientific intergovernmental body to asses the risk of climate
change caused by human activity, was established by the UN. Now, it’s main
activity involves utilizing the brainpower of over 2,000 of the world’s top
climate scientists to aggregate thousands of papers on climate change – and
then issue a giant summary with policy recommendations to the UN Frame-
work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They issue these reports
every 4 years. Their incredible work earned them a shared Nobel Peace
Prize with Al Gore in 2007.
The UNFCCC was created in 1992 at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit – an
agreement designed to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmo-
sphere at a level that is not hazardous to human health.
Originally, the UNFCCC set no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emis-
sions for individual nations and contained no enforcement provisions. In-
stead, the treaty included provisions for updates, called “protocols“, that
would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Pro-
tocol, which was finalized in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 after years of negotiations.
As of mid-2007, 172 countries had ratified the treaty, as you can see from this
map. The US had indicated early on that it wouldn’t ratify the treaty, given the
absence of binding targets for developing countries. Under Kyoto, industrial-
ized nations have pledged to cut their emissions of carbon by 5.2% compared
to 1990, equating to a 29% cut in the values that would have otherwise oc-
curred. Unfortunately, few countries have met even these lower targets.
Each year since the Kyoto Protocol was brought into existence, there has
been a two-week Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss the terms of the
At these meetings, 10,000 participants come together for these two weeks
– from government representatives to corporate lobbyists to reporters to
citizens like you and me...
Self-explanatory (read aloud)
However, the next few years could make or break the global mission to deal
with climate change, as Kyoto’s first compliance period expires in 2012, and
there is currently no clear consensus on what to do next.
Back in 2007, at COP 13 in Bali, Indonesia negotiators created the Bali
Roadmap, a two-year process to finalizing a binding agreement in 2009 at the
The Bali Road Map lays out four main building blocks for a new treaty: adap-
tation, mitigation, technology transfer, and financial resources. As outlined
by this Action Plan, mitigation, or emissions reduction, stands as the essen-
tial pillar. Developed countries, which are responsible for the vast majority
of greenhouse gas emissions, will be expected to agree to major, binding
targets for emissions reductions. So far, they have not.Adaptation indicates
measures taken to minimize the vulnerability to climate impacts. Develop-
ing nations, justifiably, are seeking financing from the developed world (who
are largely responsible for climate change impacts we see today) to adapt
to climate change. Technology transfer is exactly what it sounds like – fa-
cilitating the spread of low carbon technologies around the world to assist
countries in developing cleanly. All of these actions come down to financing,
and questions of justice – how much should each country pay? Based on how
much they emit, or have emitted historically? [this can be a good place for
In addition to how much countries must pay, there is major disagreement as
to how much each country ought to have to cut their emissions. But first, we
must establish the overall target that we must seek to reach – then we can
break that down into how much each country is responsible for. The IPCC’s
Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 endorsed 450 ppm CO2 as the safety level
for our atmosphere…
…However, reaching 450 ppm gives us a 50% chance of keeping temperatures
below 2°C of warming, which would have tremendously adverse conse-
quences for everyone in the world, as we saw earlier on. If the arctic melted
at 1 degree, should we really see what happens at 2 degrees?
It’s important to keep in mind that, currently, many policy-makers, institu-
tions, and NGOs are still supporting targets that are out of date and greatly
increase the risk of catastrophic climatic changes. Yet increasingly, many
scientists and politicians are acknowledging that the recommendations from
the IPCC are out of date, and are supporting more ambitious targets.
Just over a year old, 350ppm is a relatively new target being discussed in
the scientific community, informed by the accelerating impacts that climate
scientists are seeing worldwide, that we discussed earlier.
At the last UN climate negotiations in Poland at the end of 2008, the 350 tar-
get began to attract more endorsers as new scientific reports and evidence of
early impacts made it clear that we are already above the safe level for CO2.
In fact, over 90 countries are now endorsing the 350 target.
At the same meetings in Poland, 40 of the most vulnerable nations who will
feel the impacts of climate change first and worst, the Alliance of Small
Island States (AOSIS) and the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s), included in
their policy statements the need to adopt a much stronger target than those
currently being debated, and to support a 350ppm target.
Leon Charles, chair of AOSIS, stated, “Two degrees is really not a safe level
for small island states. For many of them it would be like a death sentence in
the long run.”
In his annual speech, Nobel laureate Al Gore told delegates at the most
recent climate negotiating session that we must now “toughen our goal” to
Hopefully, ‘soon’ will be by the end of 2009. Because by the end of the year,
negotiators from almost 200 countries must agree to new terms for a climate
[Note to presenter: Here would be a good place to talk about what posi-
tion your country has at the negotiations. For more information, visit the
UNFCCC website: http://unfccc.int/. Also, talk about current national or
regional initiatives, if relevant.]
But the current plans for the treaty are much too weak to get us back to safe-
ty. This treaty needs to put a high enough price on carbon that we stop using
so much. It also needs to ensure poor countries a fair chance to develop.
One major issue has been the concept of carbon trading. The main mecha-
nism for this, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) alows developed
countries to get credit for bankrolling projects such as reforestation or wind
farms that reduce emissions in developing countries. Ccritics argue that
emissions trading does little to solve pollution problems overall, as groups
that do not pollute sell their conservation to the highest bidder. Some see
CDM as a tool that legitimizes the polluting actions of Annex I countries by
permitting them to buy their way out of any commitment to reduce their own
emissions. Additionally, the Kyoto Protocol has been ineffective in reduc-
ing emissions, since it didn’t become international law until the 1990-2012
period. By that point, emission amounts had risen substantially in many
countries – for example, over 20% in Canada. It appears that few, if any, of the
world’s big economies will meet their Kyoto targets by 2012. And even if they
did, scientists now say that it would only make a small dent in the world’s
increasing output of greenhouse gases. Overall, these current issues are a
result of the lack of trust between nations. Therefore, negotiation is critical,
and nations need to put aside nationalistic tendencies to counter a global
problem that doesn’t pay attention to borders.
Unfortunately, the United States has been both the biggest emitter, and the
least cooperative when it comes to climate change. Even though China now
produces as much CO2 annually, the US still produces many times more car-
bon per person than China, India, and most other countries. And America has
blocked meaningful international action for many years by refusing to sign
the Kyoto Protocol, and without their participation, it has been nearly impos-
sible to make significant progress.
Now, with Barack Obama as president of the U.S. there is at least hope that
the US will sign on and play a positive role. President Obama has consistently
emphasized that he has no intention of delaying firm targets for reducing
emissions, declaring that “delay is no longer an option” and that “denial is
no longer an acceptable response.” Of course, Barack Obama cannot save us
from climate change, but he could play an important role, if we hold him to
If the meeting in Copenhagen were to be held now, it would produce a treaty
that would be woefully inadequate. In fact, it would lock us into a future
where we’d never get back to 350 parts per million—where the rise of the sea
would accelerate, where rainfall patterns would start to shift and deserts to
grow. A future where first the poorest people, and then all of us, and then all
the people that come after us, would find the only planet we have damaged
That’s why we need to make our voices heard this year!
Which brings us to the final, and hopefully most uplifting, part of our story -
the movement. We like to think PPM doesn’t just stand for parts per million,
but also for ‘people powered movement’ - which is what we’ll need to de-
mand our world leaders put the planet back on track to 350ppm.
October 24 comes six weeks before those crucial UN meetings in Copenha-
gen. If we all do our job, every nation will know the question they’ll be asked
when they put forth a plan: will this get the planet back on the path to 350?
If this global movement succeeds, we can get the world on track to get back
to 350 and back to climate safety. It won’t be easy, and that’s why we need all
the help we can get.
Here’s the good news: This movement is big, it exists everywhere, and it’s
wired. Global public opinion polls have found 9 in 10 people want action on
climate change, and 7 in 10 want to see dramatic action ‘very soon’
Also, 110,00 civil society organizations are now listed on WiserEarth.org, and
the number just keeps increasing.
In addition, people continue to mobilize daily online. Since 2007, Avaaz.org
has collected 10 million signatures online for human rights and environmen-
About 25% of the world’s population is on-line – billions of people are on e-
mail lists, and millions of people are on Facebook and YouTube. We live in an
extremely networked time, as the Internet has become an essential tool for
building momentum behind all kinds of activism.
Therefore, all the pieces are already in place for a successful movement
around the world.
More specifically, a global climate movement is now surfacing in all corners
of the Earth….
….from Bali, Indonesia…..
….to Beirut, Lebanon…..
To our community! [Customize this slide with a photo of local climate action]
Since the climate crisis is going to affect future generations the most, today’s
youth is very active in trying to make a difference and find solutions.
Here are just a few of our youth partner organizations – the Energy Action
Coalition in the U.S, the Indian Youth Climate Network, the Caribbean Youth
Environment Network - who are making a major difference in their countries
and regions around the world.
Sometimes it seems like all this action isn’t quite adding up to make a dent
on these big decisions being made about our future. However, a global
movement connected by a common goal, and by the web can help weave our
collective actions together to make the seemingly invisible, all the sudden
visible, and our impact greater than the sum of its parts.
350 is a simple, clear message for everyone who believes in fighting for
safety from dangerous climate change. A message that demands equitable,
science-based solutions from world leaders, and holds them accountable to
a clear course of action.
So who is 350.org anyway? 350.org is a grassroots, distributed international
climate change campaign with the mission is to inspire the world to rise to
the challenge of the climate crisis--to create a new sense of urgency and of
possibility for our planet through a network of partner organizations, mes-
sengers, and a coordinating team of young people from around the world.
350.org is represented by citizens around the world who seek a fair solution
to the climate crisis.
…to the Canadian Arctic…
…and thousands of other places on Earth.
Customize this slide! Include some info about what your community is doing
locally to spread the word about 350.
Like I mentioned before, 350 is a network of 100s of partner organizations….
…from international NGOs, to local grassroots movements.
Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the groups involved in this effort – you can
see all of them on 350.org’s website.
Our local group here is a part of the 350 network too [Customize this slide
with your logo or website]
350 is also aided by inspiring global leaders…. [feel free to delete this section,
or parts of it for length consideration]
…such as Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a Canadian Inuit activist. She has been a
political representative for Inuit at the regional, national and international
levels, most recently as International Chair for Inuit Circumpolar Council.
Watt-Cloutier has worked on a range of social and environmental issues af-
fecting Inuit, and has most recently focused on persistent organic pollutants
and global climate change.
And Van Jones. Van Jones is working to combine solutions to America’s two
biggest problems: social inequality and environmental destruction. In 2007,
he founded Green For All, a new organization working to build a green econ-
omy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, and has recently moved to a
role in President Obama’s administration as the “Special Advisor for Green
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation” at the White House Council on Environmen-
Or Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 until 1996 and the
1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu, as most of you probably know,
rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. Since
his retirement, Tutu has continued to work as a global activist on issues per-
taining to democracy, freedom and human rights.
In India, there is Vandana Shiva. Shiva is a world-renowned environmental
leader and thinker, and has fought for changes in the practice and paradigms
of agriculture and food. She has assisted grassroots organizations all over
the world, and is a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the
350 was started by a team of young people from all over the world…
…and author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. A writer, an activist, a
scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, and co-founder of 350.org,
McKibben wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a general audience on
Along with Bill McKibben, 350.org was co-founded by a team of university
Together, they ran a campaign in 2007 called Step It Up that organized over
2,000 rallies at iconic places in all 50 states, all on one single day.
These creative actions - from skiers descending a melting glacier to divers
hosting an underwater action - helped convince many political leaders, in-
cluding then Senator Barack Obama, to adopt Step It Up 2007’s common call
to action: cutting carbon 80% by 2050.
Now, 350.org is building off of Step It Up’s model of creative activism and
making it global.
A national goal to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050, which had once been
a radical target for the United States, was quickly adopted by major politi-
cal figures once they saw people out in the streets, all across the country,
The Step It Up team had a simple strategy that produced results: creative ac-
tions, combined with a targeted policy message, allowed for a real change in
the policy discussion.
350.org has now taken this same strategy and is trying to implement it at an
international level. 350 ppm is a goal that many of us in the movement can
agree upon, and that is a very specific call to action that holds politicians
accountable to what the most recent science is telling us.. As a number, it
is widely translatable and is already becoming a symbol for creative climate
Now it’s time for you to get involved! [this whole section will depend on how
much your community is already involved in 350 – for some, this may be a
great time to discuss what you want to do – for others who are further ahead
in planning, you might want to cut much of this section]
You can register an event in your community for the 24th of October interna-
tional day of climate action – a day when thousands of communities world-
wide will join together to show their support for strong climate action that
gets us back to 350ppm.
Why October 24th ?, you might be wondering…
October 24th is 6 weeks before the UN Climate negotiations in Copenhagen.
The timing here is crucial--there is a narrow window when we can have the
most influence in international climate politics. Too early and we’re irrel-
evant, too late and we’ve missed our chance to have a real impact. Though
the final climate meeting in Copenhagen doesn’t take place until December,
governments will be finalizing positions before the meeting takes place.
Also, October 24 is United Nations Day.
With creative actions happening all over the globe, and photographs of those
events appearing online, in the media, and on politicians’ desks, 350.org
hopes to change what these negotiators think they can achieve right before
they make the important decisions of the UN treaty. Right now most of them
know the science of 350ppm, but they don’t think it is politically possible. On
October 24, we are going to show them that not only is it possible, but it is
what everyone all over the world is demanding they do.
October 24 will be a single, powerful day to join together with people all over
…and make our voices heard….
…to the media…
…and to the world.
Actions and events on October 24th can take any shape or form.
Whatever you choose to do, just remember to plan a time for taking an action
photo that visibly displays the number 350. If possible, choose an iconic or
meaningful location for your action -- a place you wish to protect from cli-
mate change or which represents what matters to you and your community.
United by our common call to action….
…some people will gather…
…others will march….
… hike to the tops of mountains….
… dive underwater….
…ride our bikes….
…and lobby our politicians.
Anything goes…so we can come up with our own idea!
Where will we take action?
Many will rally at iconic places – places that represent countries, and the
threats that are posed by climate change.
No need to say anything
No need to say anything
No need to say anything
No need to say anything
So, where do you think you will hold your event on October 24th? [have a
discussion about what you could do in your commiunity]
All these actions will combine to create a giant, creative, worldwide demon-
stration that demands a better course of action for our planet.
So, please, sign up! Take a stand to help ensure that a science-based treaty is
adopted in December.
Contact [name of organization] at [contact info], or 350.org by e-mailing
And thank you for your time today…I hope that you will join the movement!
The 350.org crew will do everything it can to support you, providing templates
for banners and press releases, resources to spread the word, and tools to
help you build a strong local climate action group. If you need some help,
both [name of organization] and 350.org are just a phone call away.
It’s always good to cite your sources at the end! Be sure to add in any that
you used to add to the presentation.
Great work! Give yourself a round
of applause. Once your done, don’t
Leave some time for questions and discussion. Use this time to start
talking about October 24th - what does your audience think they could do that
Take a photo. Education is action - take a photo with 350 displayed, and
send it in to the 350 site!
Pass around a sign up sheet. Get everyone’s email address so you can
keep them involved in your local 350 movement
Do it again! Time to start planning your next presentation!