- I don’t live in the United States, can I sign the Pledge?
- What happens after I take the Pledge?
- What is The Climate Mobilization's Strategy?
- Is 2ºC the "safe limit" to global warming?
- If climate change requires such rapid reductions in emissions, why don’t other plans and politicians call for them?
- Is The Climate Mobilization in favor of Industrial civilization?
- What is the Climate Mobilization's position on nuclear power?
- What are some of the techniques to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere?
- What is a safe level of carbon in the atmosphere?
Yes! You can sign our International Pledge.
But we need Mobilizers in every country to take the reins in advocating, spreading, and potentially revising your country's Pledge. Only nationals can know what language, cultural references, and practical factors are most appropriate and most appealing to their countrymen and women. Note: The one thing we do not want to change is making the targets weaker. Though if you think your country can hit net zero before 2030, we would be happy to move it forward!
What am I committing to? How will you help me meet those commitments?
When you sign the Pledge, you acknowledge that climate change threatens to cause the collapse of civilization and commit yourself to being part of the solution. Taking the Pledge commits you to three specific things:
- Voting for candidates (on the local, state, and national levels) who have signed the Pledge over candidates who have not,
- Devoting time, money, or both to political candidates who have signed the Pledge, and
- Spreading the truth of climate change, and the Pledge itself, to other people, such as your neighbors, friends, and family.
We also offer the "Mobilize Yourself: Step by Step" program to help you organize your community, volunteer your time, or volunteer your skills!
To get the best explanation of the Pledge to Mobilize strategy, please read The Transformative Power of Climate Truth our primary strategy document. In brief, we believe that a sense of helplessness is one of the key drivers of climate change denial. A feeling of helplessness also drives many of us to live in apathy and willful ignorance in the face of such a vast problem. It's so scary and overwhelming that many of us just tune it out.
The Pledge provides a way for every individual to be a meaningful part of a comprehensive response to climate change. It also provides a clear way to build support for such a thorough response. This empowerment allows us to emerge out of intellectual and emotional denial. Once you sign the Pledge, it is easier to face climate change head on.
No! Warming the earth anywhere close to +2ºC above pre-industrial (1750) levels would be highly catastrophic and immoral. It would likely cause a global food crisis, an extreme increase in international freshwater scarcity, and an 82-foot sea level rise over the next 2,000 years that would inundate many of the world’s core population centers.
The truth is that humanity has already warmed the earth too much, and any further warming is insanely risky. We are experiencing the hottest global average temperatures in the history of human civilization. Dangerous climate change is already here:
- In 2014, NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot warned that global warming has already set in motion the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could ultimately raise sea levels by 13 feet.
- A 2012 study commissioned by 20 vulnerable countries found that ~1ºC global warming kills, on average, 400,000 people every year - including 1,000 children every day - via increased hunger and the spread of communicable diseases. Since then, the planet has warmed to nearly +1.2ºC above 1750 levels, according to our advisor, the climate scientist Michael Mann.
- Warming of +1.6ºC would likely melt the entirety of the Greenland Ice Sheet, leading to a long-term 23 foot sea-level rise, as well as the release of 8 percent of the world’s freshwater into the oceans, which could radically alter ocean circulation patterns.
- A 2013 study of Siberian caves led by the earth scientist Anton Vaks projected that global warming of +1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels will likely initiate a "continuous thaw" of the land-based permafrost, or frozen soils, in the Arctic regions — an event that could release hundreds of billions of tons of carbon in the coming decades and centuries and make it virtually impossible for us to restore a safe and stable climate on any time-scale relevant to humanity. The land-based permafrost contains approximately 1.7 trillion tons of carbon, which is more than three times the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere through fossil fuel burning since the industrial revolution. The carbon would be released in the form of carbon dioxide and methane — a short-lived, extremely potent greenhouse gas.
Even worse, the Vaks study projected that a "continuous thaw" could occur at some point between a range of +1ºC and +2ºC of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with warming of +1.5ºC being the most "likely" to cause the continuous thaw. We are now in the low end of that range, and there is growing evidence that the boundaries of the permafrost are beginning to thaw and release methane. See the terrifying short film posted by Yale Climate Connections on the potential for a continuous thaw of the permafrost. The film features Vaks and former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who warns: "We cannot go there."
According to Mann, if the current rate of emissions continues, the earth will warm +2ºC by 2036 - just twenty years from now. A climate catastrophe for the poorest people in the world will almost certainly unfold before then, unless we act immediately and on an emergency basis. In a Feb. 24 interview with Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a renowned climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who advises Pope Francis and Governor Jerry Brown, described the extreme urgency of our situation:
The worst consequences of climate change will be experienced by the poorest 3 billion (people), largely living in villages, who had nothing to do with this. Not 100 years from now. Not 50 years from now. Ten to 15 years from now, they’re going to see major disasters...The Paris agreement is a watershed, but it’s a toothless agreement. The actions we need to take are so drastic, no leader in the world has the support to take these actions.
If climate change requires such rapid reductions in emissions, why don’t other plans and politicians call for them?
This is a great question. The political solutions that have been proposed to respond to climate change are generally way less urgent and rapid than what the Pledge to Mobilize calls for. There are exceptions, such as Lester Brown's Plan B 4.0, written in 2009, which advocates an 80% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, or Paul Gilding and Jorgen Rander’s One Degree War Plan, which cuts global greenhouse gas emissions in half in five years, starting in 2018. But generally, proposals for emissions reductions, whether coming from elected leaders (such as Obama’s plan to reduce emissions from power plants 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, effectively reducing U.S. carbon emissions 6% over a 15 year period) or from NGOs (such as 350’s campaign to fight the approval of the Keystone pipeline) are more modest than those of the Climate Mobilization.
While other climate organizations have done excellent work in raising awareness of climate change and preventing the expansion of the USA's fossil fuel infrastructure, they have tended to limit themselves to battles that are "politically feasible." Understandably, organizations want to take on fights they think they can win. There is a widespread belief that climate change communicators (expressed in this article, or this communications guide for example) cannot be honest about the dire risks posed by climate change, because it makes people tune out and turn off.
The good news is that we believe that the Pledge to Mobilize strategy can fundamentally alter what is politically feasible! We believe that denial comes primarily from feeling helpless, not just from feeling afraid. When people are offered viable solutions that they can be a part of, such as the Climate Mobilization and the Pledge to Mobilize, they are much more able to cope with the frightening truth.
We hope, that other climate organizations (as well as professional associations, civic associations, unions, veterans associations, political parties, and other groups) will realize that the Pledge to Mobilize is a game-changing social technology, and will integrate it into their operations.
We are in favor of a rational, moral, organized human civilization. Although industrial civilization has led us to the brink of cataclysm, we think some form of civilization is worth saving, as it represents the accumulation of all human achievement throughout history, and sustains life for billions of people.
The Climate Mobilization represents a new wave of civilization, one that will look quite different from the industrial wave that preceded it. We believe that humanity has the ability to change, grow, and mature. In the brief history of civilization, this has happened many times, whether through the abolition of slavery or the defeat of fascism.
We are in favor of a rapid, large-scale deployment of renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal. If nuclear energy development is needed to rapidly decarbonize civilization, then so be it, as long as it is done safely and rapidly—two hurdles that might prove insurmountable. We welcome both 100% renewable advocates and advocates of a hybrid nuclear/renewable energy supply to take the Pledge to Mobilize.
You call for a massive effort to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere. How do you do that?
Techniques to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere include Agroecology, Bio-char, Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), Air Capture, and Reforestation, among others. Many of these techniques are referred to as “Carbon Dioxide Removal” (CDR) technologies.
- Agroecology is an agricultural system that breaks the agricultural dependence on fossil fuels by relying on principles such as crop rotation, cover crops, and using waste products for fertilizer. Agroecology, especially when utilizing biochar, can be carbon negative while also providing a food supply that is more resilient to droughts and severe weather.
- Bio-char is agricultural charcoal that can be buried in soil. Bio-char is produced by heating trees or plants (biomass) in a low or no-oxygen kiln, in order to prevent the materials from combusting. Since trees and plants extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, bio-char contains carbon. Decaying dead trees and plants release their stored carbon back into the atmosphere. When bio-char is buried in soils, it can sequester the captured carbon securely in the ground for hundreds to thousands of years.
- Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage also makes use of biomass. In BECCS systems, trees and plants are burned in power plants to produce electricity. The carbon dioxide exhaust is captured and stored in geological reservoirs underground. If used at all, these techniques should be done in moderation, as bio-char and BECCS could pose threats to arable land and food supplies, if used inappropriately or excessively.
- Air capture technologies are industrial systems that suck carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere using fans. The carbon is then stored deep underground in geological formations for thousands of years. Air capture tends to be expensive and energy-intensive.
- Reforestation—planting trees on deforested land—can also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, although reforestation projects could compete with other land uses, such as agriculture. An international effort to plant trees en masse for the rest of the 21st century could remove the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through all historic deforestation.
In order to restore the Arctic summer sea-ice on a long-term basis, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels must be reduced from present levels of roughly 400 parts per million to 300 - 325 parts per million, according to a research team led by leading climate scientist James Hansen. Hansen has proposed an initial target of 350 ppm, to be reassessed at a later date.
To fully restore a safe climate, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may ultimately need to be returned to the preindustrial level of approximately 280 parts per million, according to the renowned climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.