Today, in the Maritim Hotel in Bonn, where a new meeting of United Nations climate change convention is taking place, the delegates are starting to hustle. Between nine and ten AM they all ran into the building to hear the speeches of their ministers. But what they did not know is that the speech they most needed to hear was waiting for them outside.
We – civil society – are delivering a very clear message to government ministers today:
"People have the power and we choose renewable energy for all, now. Stand with us or step aside."
Climate action by regular folks is blossoming across the globe. Unlike governments, civil society is getting active – in an impressive way – to guarantee a better future for the coming generations; they – we – told policy leaders today that we are ready to defend our climate and develop a just transition from the dirty era of fossil fuels towards a renewable energy future. We want to live in a carbon free economy that preserves our planet, boosts climate resilience, globalizes energy and food access for all, and prevents us from wasting money and lives. Lives will be lost if we do not act now to stop climate change.
We want it, not only because we know we need it, but also because we know it is within our reach. Apart from helping us meet the urgency of the climate crisis and some of the most important sustainable development goals, renewable energies provide an excellent source of employment and energy independence, with decentralised energy systems supplying a means of employment that we can all own.
And these are only some of the reasons why Greenpeace is among those organisations calling for a global goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Seeing the delegates racing around us today I wondered if they remember who they work for. Their job is to represent us and in order to do so they need to take note of our action today and meet the demands we have all agreed in our joint Declaration. There's no way the ministers here in Bonn can do their job properly if they do not listen to the majority of civil society which they represent. Some of them have already realised that climate and development movements are coming together to fight for a better future... and those who did not get it yet will see it in the coming months because we speak with one voice now, and we are much louder.
Aida Vila Rovira is a Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Spain.