Canadian climate activist Tzeporah Berman envisions a future where she will sit with her grandchildren and explain that there was a time not long ago when we filled cars with gasoline and cut down forests for oil.
“And they will hardly believe me because the world will be a very different place,” he said.
Berman’s vision of a carbon-free future was broadcast to the world from a dimly lit stage in Glasgow on October 13, where he was one of seven international speakers chosen to present at the TED Countdown Summit. His message was clear but ultimately optimistic: “We are capable of enormous change in the course of our lives.”
Berman, director of international programs for Vancouver-based Stand.earth, spoke about the need to divest from oil, gas and coal and how fossil fuel non-proliferation treaties can help us achieve this.
She is part of the steering committee of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty campaign, which has obtained the support of 132,737 people and more than 800 organizations. The group calls for a global treaty to phase out gas, oil and coal, and provide support to workers during the transition. Berman stressed that the need for action is immediate and will require “unprecedented international cooperation in three main areas: non-proliferation, global disarmament, and a peaceful and just transition.”
Berman’s talk comes just weeks before COP26, this year’s UN climate conference, which some policy and climate experts are calling our “last hope” to meet the global goal of the Paris Agreement.
The conference, also known as COP, short for Conference of the Parties, has brought the world together since 1995 to strike agreements to reduce global warming. The talks bring together legislators, scientists, environmental activists, climate experts and the media from the 197 member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to set and work towards global climate change goals. This year, COP26 will take place at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12.
For Canada, the only G7 country other than the US where emissions have risen every year since the Paris Agreement, COP26 could push decision makers to make unfathomable climate promises. Right now, Berman said the world will produce 120% more fossil fuels over the next decade than the level needed to stay below the Paris target of 1.5 C. And he warned that even if we stopped the development of new fuels fossils, existing projects would still push us beyond our warming target.
“A fossil fuel treaty will help us reduce fossil fuel production. It will be a complement and will help us achieve the objectives of the Paris agreement, ”said Berman.
“It’s a big, bold new idea. But at this point in history, we need some big, bold new ideas. “
The theme of the TED event was “Imagining,” which according to Christiana Figueres means looking beyond the effects of climate change. Figueres, who was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change during the 2015 Paris Agreement, said that while it is important to understand the breadth of climate change impacts, more information is needed on what should be happening to address it. .
Tzeporah Berman is part of the steering committee for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty campaign, which has garnered the support of 132,737 individuals and more than 800 organizations. The group calls for a global treaty to phase out #FossilFuels.
Without that information, it is very difficult to imagine a different world, much less how to create it, he said.
“So here at Countdown, we would like to paint a collective picture of a much better world so that each of us can decide for ourselves how close or how far we are from that future. But most of all, we want to encourage you to focus on how (we) can accelerate the transformation we need. “
During his speech, Berman noted that the Paris Agreement does not directly mention fossil fuels, noting that since 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has continued to subsidize the oil and gas industry. That shows that the federal government may be regulating emissions, but not fossil fuel production, he said.
“For decades, our countries have been negotiating targets. But behind our backs, the fossil fuel industry has been increasing production and blocking more emissions, ”Berman said, explaining that he soon discovered how few frameworks exist to regulate fossil fuel production.
That is why it is so important not to let governments get out of trouble, Berman said. Rich countries like Canada, the US, and Norway must lead the way by divesting from fossil fuels first. He said the UK cannot call itself a climate leader if it approves the looming permit for Cambo oil field, a controversial drilling project in the North Sea.
And yet there is hope. Several cities, including Berman’s hometown, Vancouver, Barcelona, Sydney, Spain, and Los Angeles, have endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Berman acknowledged critics of the treaty as being too ambitious and said the campaign’s founders are aware that it will be difficult to get oil-producing countries to join. However, he said a similar sentiment revolved around the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was signed in the late 1960s by 191 UN member states, including the five nuclear-weapon states: the United States, China, France. , Russia and the United Kingdom.
At the end of her talk, Berman recalled a conversation she had with her grandmother when she was feeling particularly discouraged by the state of the world and climate change. Her grandmother’s description of the unfathomable change she had seen throughout her life reminded her that the same is possible in 2021.
“So when I do this work every day for a fossil fuel treaty, I cling to the idea that one day I will be sitting with my grandchildren. I’m going to tell you about this moment in our history … when we scraped the last of the primary forests for oil, this crazy moment in our history where we used to fill our cars with gasoline, ”he said. .
“And they will hardly believe me because the world will be a very different place.”