October 20th, 2018
Blue Planet Foundation helps inspire and shape content of emergency resolution
This week, national parliamentarians across the world adopted an emergency resolution calling for decisive action on climate change. On the heels of a recent United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that painted a stark picture of the potential impacts of climate change, the resolution was adopted unanimously by representatives of 149 national parliaments at the 139th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The IPCC report makes clear that we are almost out of time,” said Henk Rogers, Founder and Board Chair of Blue Planet Foundation—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to clear the path for 100 percent clean energy. “The time for action is now. We must keep the earth’s warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.”
“Crossing the 1.5-degree line isn’t an option,” added Rogers. “It will take courageous leadership and unprecedented commitment to dramatic carbon reductions to stay below the 1.5-degree threshold. I believe that the parliamentarians of the IPU are the kind of leaders who can do it.”
Rogers attended the Assembly as a special guest and addressed the IPU members with a presentation about Hawaii’s progress on setting aggressive climate mitigation goals and making sure that they are achieved. He shared examples of Blue Planet Foundation’s work with students and schools across the state as a key component of Hawaii’s local clean energy movement. He further discussed Hawaii’s policy leadership on bold clean energy and climate action goals, including the three-year grassroots campaign led by Blue Planet Foundation to make Hawaii the first state in the United States with a 100 percent renewable energy requirement.
Blue Planet believes that the 100 percent renewable energy law has since aligned the state’s planning efforts, fostered collaboration, and unlocked innovation about what is possible for renewable energy. After the law passed, Hawaii’s largest electric utility found that they could achieve 100 percent renewable energy five years ahead of schedule (by 2040) at a cost that was billions less than the business-as-usual case.
Rogers also showed a video that told the story of Hawaii’s journey toward clean energy through the eyes of Mia, a 7-year-old from Hawaii, which left a memorable impression on the national dignitaries.
“What happens in Hawaii, shouldn’t stay in Hawaii,” said Jeff Mikulina, Blue Planet’s Executive Director. “Blue Planet Foundation’s theory of change is that the policies and programs we implement in Hawaii can inspire action far beyond our shores. And that’s exactly what we saw this week with this intergovernmental action.”
Rogers’s presentation was the catalyst for adopting the emergency resolution, which is expected to be the rallying cry for IPU parliamentarians heading to the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change happening in Krakow, Poland, in December.
Blue Planet Foundation played a direct role in shaping the language of the final resolution. In addition to calling on national parliaments to take immediate decisive action, the resolution urged IPU members to “[t]ake a leadership role in combating climate change and strengthening their partnership with all countries” to meet and exceed their Paris Climate Agreement goals. Blue Planet worked closely with IPU members to include language in the resolution encouraging countries around the world to achieve 100 percent renewable energy targets similar to Hawaii’s target. (The full text of the resolution is available online, along with IPU’s official press release and announcement.)
A coalition of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was the driving force behind the emergency resolution. The resolution includes specific provisions recognizing the risks posed by climate change to island communities and the importance of working closely to support SIDS in reaching their climate goals through regional cooperation. While small island countries were the driving force behind the resolution, parliamentarians from countries around the world spoke about the extreme impacts climate change poses to their homes—from extreme flooding to drought to fires.
“While islands are vulnerable to some of the most harmful threats of climate change, they are also places of hope and action,” said Melissa Miyashiro, Chief of Staff at Blue Planet Foundation. “Islands—like Hawaii and others across the globe—are already demonstrating what’s possible for a just, equitable, and sustainable clean energy future. The planet and humanity demand that we move forward quickly, and that we go together.”