12th December 2015
Dear Friends of NE-CAP,
“This is not the end, this is not even the beginning of the end, this is just perhaps the end of the beginning.”
These were the words most memorably spoken by Winston Churchill, after Montgomery’s victory in the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, in the Autumn of 1942. But they could, with equal justification, be said about the Paris Accord, the agreement by nearly 200 nations on Saturday 12th December. At least, they could be applied to the Accord if we put the, “JUST PERHAPS”, in capitals and in bold!
Or to put it another way, “I’m ecstatic about the outcome – with strong reservations!” ☺
The reasons for my reservations hardly need stating – the fact that the ink was barely dry on the signatures before our own, ‘Greenest Government Ever’, was taking a chainsaw to support for renewable energy and energy conservation, for example.
However, what the Accord may give us is ‘momentum’ – that across the world, the tide could now turn against fossil fuels and in favour of low carbon developments, and just think how terrible it would have been if the conference had broken down in confusion and acrimony, like the one in Copenhagen in 2009!
The situation reminds me of the ‘Gleneagles Agreement’, at the G8 in 2005, when we had the great ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign nationally. At that time, the leaders promised to provide treatment for everyone with HIV/AIDS, as far as was humanly possible, and I stated that, among all the commitments they made, this was the only one to measure up to the scale of the challenge – and that it was imperative that we held them to it. We did hold them to it, and they did hold to it, and earlier this year Millennium Development Goal 6, on HIV/AIDS, was reached – one of humanity’s greatest achievements of the new millennium! So it is now, that the Paris Accord will provide us with plenty of ammunition as we follow through with our campaign to secure Climate Justice.
SO THANK YOU, ALL OF YOU, who have supported our move, disliked by many, to add climate change to our ‘Call to Action’! AND THANK YOU TO OUR AID AGENCIES, who had the vision and courage to lead the way on this!
Finally, a particular word of thanks to our North East ‘Paris Champions’! To Chris Myers who undertook the ‘Pilgrimage2Paris’, a 200-mile, two week-long hike from London to Paris, arriving just before the Conference opened; and to Hannah Jack, who mobilised the support of students for our ‘Family Climate Parade’ in Newcastle and, after participating in that, took herself off, by coach, to join the thousands of young people on the streets of Paris calling peacefully for the conference delegates to ‘do the deal’!
So stay with us, and campaign with us, as we try to play our part in ending severe poverty and providing a sustainable future, ‘for all, for ever’.
On behalf of the Officers and Committee of North East CALL TO ACTION, I send you all our best wishes for a happy Christmas and a productive and fulfilling the year to come!
Dr David Golding CBE
(Development Coordinator for NE-CAP)