The Secret Deal to Save the Planet | Rolling Stone

The Secret Deal to Save the Planet | Rolling Stone.

Inside the high-stakes drama behind Obama’s China climate talks

Aweek after Democrats took a drubbing in the midterm elections, as pundits were suggesting President Obama should start packing up the Oval Office, he stood beside Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and announced a historic climate deal that may be one of the most significant accomplishments of his presidency. In the works for nearly a year, the agreement unfolded in a series of secret meetings in the United States and China and was carried out with the brinkmanship and bravado of a Vegas poker game.

RelatedBicyclists riding through smog in China

China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet

The agreement comes at a time when awareness of the risks of climate change has never been higher, thanks to the sobering accretion of extreme weather events around the world. But the prospects for significant action to reduce carbon pollution have never been lower. Which is why virtually everyone in the climate world was stunned when the agreement was announced on November 12th.

Negotiations started in February when Todd Stern, the State Department’s lead climate negotiator, put in an exploratory phone call to his counterpart in the Chinese government, Xie Zhenhua. Stern was in Seoul, South Korea, and would soon be joining his boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, in Beijing for a series of high-level meetings with the Chinese leadership, including Xi Jinping. Kerry, long a forceful advocate for action on climate change, simply wanted Stern to see if there was any possibility the upcoming talks might yield a joint public statement on the issue. Beyond that, the State Department team sensed that the Chinese were looking for areas of common ground to help improve relations. White House counselor John Podesta, President Obama’s de facto point person on climate, agreed that it was an idea worth pursuing.

Stern knew that Xie, with whom he has shared many dinners at climate conferences all over the world, was a straight shooter whose goal, like his own, was to actually make progress on solving the climate crisis. “I made the case that if the deal were done well, and it had enough ambition, it could help to build momentum for Paris next year,” recalls Stern. “Xie was interested. But there were obviously a lot of issues to work out. So we proceeded cautiously.”

Obama arrived in the White House in 2009 determined to take on climate change. In his first term in office, he instituted tough new automotive fuel efficiency standards and pushed through $90 billion for clean energy in the stimulus bill. But after legislation to limit CO2 pollution failed to pass in the Senate in 2010, climate change seemed to slide down the list of issues that engaged the president. That changed after his re-election, when he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to write new rules to govern carbon emissions from power plants and brought in Podesta. Early this past summer, those plans took shape when the EPA finally announced its plan to crack down on carbon pollution from existing power plants.

But Podesta understood that no matter what the U.S. did, it wouldn’t matter without larger global cooperation. The last major round of international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009 had been a festival of conspiracy and betrayal, ending with an 11th-hour, closed-door confrontation between rich and poor nations that only deepened the cynicism among many that the world would ever strike an agreement to cut carbon pollution. A year from now, the world is set to meet in Paris for another summit. Would this next meeting be any different? Probably not, concluded Podesta and the State Department’s climate negotiators, unless they could get China to the table.

It was not just because China was the world’s biggest polluter (an honor the U.S. had held until about 2006), but the Chinese also hold tremendous sway over developing nations of the world. Get China to take action, and chances were good that India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia and other increasingly prosperous nations would come along too.

Beijing Pollution

A Chinese man wears a mask as he waits to cross the road near the CCTV building during heavy smog in Beijing, China on November 29th, 2014 (Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty)

But moving climate to the top of the agenda, Podesta realized, would be difficult. “In China, the politics of climate change are different than in the U.S.,” says Li Shuo, a Greenpeace activist in Beijing. “No one in China denies climate change is a problem. But we have more immediate problems – like air and water pollution, most of which come from our dependence on coal.” According to one study, air pollution contributed to the premature death of 1.2 million people in China in 2010. “China today is a lot like America was in the 1960s and Seventies – the rivers are on fire, the sky polluted, and the rising middle class is not going to put up with it anymore,” says Jigar Shah, a solar-industry pioneer. For U.S. negotiators, it was important to convince the Chinese that cutting carbon pollution would not only clean up the air but also lead to more political stability for the regime. “They will have a social revolt on their hands if they don’t come up with a way of dealing with this,” U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus told me bluntly when I was in Beijing this past summer.

But for the U.S., nothing with China comes easy. “The relationship between China and the U.S. has been on a downhill slide,” says author Orville Schell, who has been writing about China since the 1970s and now heads the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. The Chinese fear the U.S. has a long-term strategy to contain China, while the U.S. fears China’s increasing strength means trouble for American interests in Asia and beyond.

On top of the rising superpower tensions, climate negotiations are made more difficult by the fact that China is a developing nation. It may be the world’s number-one polluter by volume, but its per-capita emissions are far lower than ours. The Chinese argue (with some justification) that global warming is a problem that has been largely caused by 200 years of fossil-fuel burning, mostly in the U.S. and Europe, and so it is the West that bears most of the responsibility for fixing it. Which meant that if U.S. negotiators were going to entice China into making a commitment to cut carbon emissions, the U.S. needed to jump first. But Obama’s hands were tied. The U.S. Congress was not going to pass global warming legislation, so the only option was executive action. Everything depended on the EPA rules on power-plant pollution, which were still in the works, and dependent on withstanding court challenges – not at all a sure thing.


Still, after some discussion between the White House and the State Department, Obama gave them the go-ahead to pursue a deal. After Stern made the phone call to Xie in February, Kerry broached the idea with many key figures in the Chinese leadership, including President Xi, on his swing through Asia a few days later. The response: “ ’Oh, this is interesting,’ but they were not eager to pursue it,” Podesta says. It became clear it would take presidential muscle to get any kind of a deal moving. In mid-March, Obama sent a private letter to President Xi that brought up a range of subjects, from the nuclearization of North Korea to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but which also pushed for a climate agreement between the two nations. The gist of the letter, according to Podesta, was that “ ’this could be meaningful, if we both make serious post-2020 contributions.’ ”

Soon after Xi, whom Schell describes as “a ruthless utilitarian,” ascended to the role of China’s president in 2013, he had traveled to Rancho Mirage, California, to meet with Obama for two days of informal talks, where, among other things, they struck a deal to limit emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, a climate-eating gas. Schell describes their relationship as wary, but pragmatic. “There is no warmth between them,” he says. “There is a lack of trust, a paranoid attitude toward each other. But also an awareness that they have to work together.”

President Obama and President Xi

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) after a joint press conference at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China on November 12th, 2014. (Photo: Feng Li/Getty)

Obama’s hand was strengthened in early June, when the EPA formally announced the Clean Power Plan, which would cut carbon from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The result of a 2013 executive action in which Obama instructed the agency to come up with new regulations on power-plant emissions, the plan was well constructed and would likely hold up in court. It was an important sign of the seriousness of the administration’s effort, and it gave U.S. negotiators leverage to say to the Chinese, “Hey, we mean business.”

A few weeks later, a swarm of U.S. diplomats, including Kerry, Podesta and Stern, flew to Beijing for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, a high-level diplomatic meeting between the United States and China. I accompanied the U.S. delegation on this trip. There was a lot of talk about what kind of commitment the Chinese might make in Paris and about what the U.S. could do to strengthen that commitment, but no indication, on or off the record, that a secret deal was in the works. But clearly, talks were serious. The day before the official meeting, Podesta and Stern, as well as U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, spent a full day at the Diaoyutai State Guest House with their Chinese counterparts, going over economic modeling results and various technological options, trying to get a sense of what the costs of various levels of carbon reductions would be.

In addition, Stern and Podesta had one-on-one meetings with Xie Zhenhau and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (“the man with the portfolio,” Podesta says). “They told us we might be able to put a deal together, but not until 2015,” Podesta recalls. “But Todd and I both thought there was potential to do something earlier.” U.S. negotiators knew that the sooner the deal could be announced, the more leverage they would have to shape the outcome of the Paris negotiations.

But the complexity of these negotiations is hard to overestimate. For one thing, CO2 pollution is on some level a proxy for economic development, so agreeing to cut carbon emissions is tantamount to calling for limits on economic growth – a tall order on its own, but even more difficult in an atmosphere of deepening distrust. “It is very hard for either side to believe what the other is saying,” says Li Shuo. “There are many cultural barriers, and a long history of suspicion on both sides.”

On the final day of the conference, I took a walk around the grounds of the Diaoyutai State Guest House with Stern. He seemed tense, unsure any deal could be worked out, and not even clear what kind of goal the Chinese might be willing to commit to: “Will it be a carbon cap? A coal cap? A renewable-energy quota? We are not sure.”

RelatedA satellite image of Hurricane Igor.

New Report Tracks Decades of Climate Change

The U.S. negotiators left China in a somber mood. During the first week of September, Obama sent President Xi a second letter. “It was a focused two-page letter on what could be delivered during the November APEC visit to Beijing, and it emphasized the climate joint announcement,” Podesta told me. But if Xi was serious about pursuing this deal, he didn’t show it by appearing at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York later that month. It was interpreted by some outsiders as a signal that the Chinese were not gearing up to make a serious commitment in Paris next year. Instead Xi sent Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, who asked to meet with Obama in New York, which, Podesta said, was “unusual.”

At that meeting, Zhang told Obama that Xi had decided to do the deal – and that he wanted to announce it in Beijing around the time of the APEC summit. But many details were still unresolved – including the all-important question of how strong the targets would be. For an agreement to have any meaning, the U.S. and the Chinese had to commit to carbon reductions that were both significant and credible.

During the last week of October, Podesta and Stern traveled to Beijing to meet with Xie Zhenhau and others at the National Development and Reform Commission. It was there that the Chinese finally put numbers on the table. The key figure was their pledge to cap carbon emissions by 2030. While carbon restrictions that don’t go into effect for 16 years in the future may not sound significant, for a country as big and fast-growing as China, such a promise translates into huge reductions over time. (Climate scientist Raymond Pierrehumbert estimates that the cap, if extended out to 2060, would reduce China’s carbon pollution by 790 gigatons over business as usual.) U.S. negotiators were not overjoyed by China’s offer. “We wanted sooner than 2030, but they told us that 2030 had been cleared by the Standing Committee [i.e., the leaders of China’s Communist Party],” Podesta says.

John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry (C), flanked by US ambassador to China, Max Baucus (L), and White House advisor John Podesta (R), speaks to his Chinese counterparts during a ‘Strategic Track Plenary Session’ in Beijing, China on July 10th, 2014. (Photo: Jim Bourg/AFP/Getty)

For the U.S. team, the carbon-reduction targets that they put on the table were a mix of technical capacity and political aspiration. They had to be deep enough to be meaningful, but they also had to be politically plausible, given the fact that there is no chance of anything moving through Congress in the next two years and the unpredictability of the 2016 presidential election. The number they came up with, 26 to 28 percent by 2025, represents the greenhouse-gas reductions proposed under existing U.S. law, plus possible further reductions based on executive actions the president may take during the rest of his term. “It’s a serious commitment,” says Stern, essentially requiring the United States to double its rate of carbon reductions in the next decade. Twenty-eight percent, says Stern, puts the U.S. on a straight-line path to 80 percent reductions – from 1990 levels – by 2050, a broadly shared goal within the international climate community.

Still, these targets – which were voluntary, after all – were nowhere near enough to put the world on track to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius (about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which is the level scientists have identified as the threshold for dangerous climate change. But negotiators on both sides knew the deal could be nonetheless deeply significant, for it could shift the political calculus of international climate negotiation and virtually assure some kind of success in Paris next year, when an agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is supposed to be finalized.

“The question was, once we settled on the targets, was this deal significant enough for an announcement from the presidents of both countries?” says Podesta. Stern and Podesta weren’t sure. By China refusing to cap CO2 emissions until 2030, the U.S. team knew it would be open to the charge that we were giving China license to increase its carbon pollution for 16 years, while making costly promises to double our own reductions in the same period. But they saw a solution: The Chinese had mentioned they’d set an internal goal of generating 20 percent of their nation’s power from nonfossil fuel sources by 2030. (To meet the goal, the Chinese will essentially have to build the equivalent of the entire U.S. electrical system in the next 16 years – and do it with wind, solar and nukes.) U.S. negotiators pushed the Chinese to make this goal part of the agreement. But the Chinese were hesitant to go public with it. In addition, they wanted language in the agreement about different obligations between the developed and the developing world that the U.S. team couldn’t live with. For the second time in just a few months, Podesta and Stern left Beijing not sure they’d be able to make a deal at all.

In the next few days, there was a flurry of e-mail and phone exchanges. The APEC summit in Beijing was just a week away, and the Chinese clearly wanted to have something big to announce. But as Obama flew to Beijing, there was still no deal. Podesta told the president they were close to an agreement, but they were still juggling the language. The deal had to be “something we could feel good about,” says Podesta. “Otherwise, we could still walk away.”

The day before the summit began, Podesta and Stern hammered out the last details. The Chinese agreed to go public with the 20 percent renewable goal, as well as agreed to language that they would work to hit the 2030 CO2 cap earlier and to make clear that these reductions were made in the context of a long-term deep decarbonization effort (a point that Podesta says was “very important” to the president). In return, Chinese negotiators made sure the distinction between the obligations of the developed and the developing world was not lost in the agreement.

The next evening, Obama and Xi met privately to discuss the agreement. “It was important to both Obama and Xi to have real understanding where they were going with this, and to agree to keep talking throughout the year as we head toward Paris,” says Podesta, who briefed Obama beforehand. “The thing everyone wants to avoid is a last-minute Perils-of-Pauline situation like we had in Copenhagen.”

In China, response to the deal was straightforward: President Xi had not only pledged to clean the air and reduce carbon pollution, he had proved his diplomatic chops by striking a deal with the most powerful nation on Earth. “Xi was like a hedge-fund manager who just acquired a trophy wife,” one experienced Chinese observer notes. “It’s an affectation of being a great power.” In the developing world, there was criticism of the low ambition of the carbon-reduction targets. “These commitments are nowhere near the kinds of reductions we need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius,” one South American activist told me.


The Forbidden City is covered by smog November 29th, 2014. (Photo: Xiao Lu Chu/Getty)

But more practical-minded observers saw the announcement as a major breakthrough. “In one move, Obama and Xi broke the logjam of climate politics,” says Jairam Ramesh, a member of Indian Parliament and a longtime climate negotiator. “Until now, China has insisted that the U.S. and the EU are largely responsible for climate change. But this raises the bar for other nations.”

The deal also has huge economic implications both for fossil-fuel industries that dominated the 20th century (i.e., the losers) and the alternative-energy entrepreneurs poised to grab a much bigger piece of the world’s energy mix (i.e., the winners). “There is no question where the world is headed,” says Podesta. “Instead of thinking of the U.S. and China as two captains on two different teams, it’s a sign to everyone that we are both pulling in the same direction.” For tech investors, this kind of high-level alignment has a powerful impact on strategic decisions about where to put their money. It will particularly benefit clean-tech companies that can help the Chinese figure out ways to integrate massive amounts of renewable energy into their grid. “This is not some bullshit deal between [former U.S. Secretary of Energy] Steven Chu and Tsinghua University,” says Shah. “This is the U.S. government saying to American companies, ‘Go ahead, set up shop in China – we’ve got your back.’ ”

Finally, the agreement eviscerates one of the favorite talking points of climate deniers. “Their argument has always been we can’t do anything to cut emissions because China is not doing anything,” says Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. “Well, now China is doing something pretty significant, while Republicans are still huddled in the dark castle of denial.”

Of course, in the U.S., it took conservatives 30 seconds to begin hammering the deal as an economic suicide pact, arguing that the U.S. had committed to deep carbon reductions over the next decade, while the Chinese agreed to basically do nothing until 2030. In a column titled “The Climate Pact Swindle,” Fox News regular Charles Krauthammer called the agreement “the most one-sided deal since Manhattan sold for $24 in 1626.” Among other things, Krauthammer’s argument ignores China’s commitment to 20 percent nonfossil fuel power by 2030. As Sen. Whitehouse told me, “The idea that China has committed to doing nothing for the next 16 years is only true if you believe that Chinese leaders are going to wake up on New Year’s Eve in 2029 and suddenly build 1,000 gigawatts of clean energy in one night.”

The more substantial question is whether China and the U.S. can follow through on their commitments. Ironically, the Chinese may have more credibility than the U.S. “ ’Face’ is very important to the Chinese,” says Schell. “When they commit to something publicly, they do it.” Podesta agrees: “The Standing Committee has approved this commitment. The People’s Congress will approve it. It will be imbedded in Chinese law. That is significant.”

The U.S. commitment, on the other hand, stands on shakier political ground. As David Victor, professor of International Relations at the University of California, San Diego, and author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, puts it, “It’s not clear yet if it is an Obama climate agreement or a U.S. climate agreement.” In the Senate, Mitch McConnell has already said that he will use his new powers as majority leader in 2015 to launch a full-scale attack on the EPA rules on power-plant pollution – if that attack is successful, it would be all but impossible for the U.S. to meet its
carbon-reduction commitment.

Podesta, who will leave the administration in early 2015 and will likely play a senior role in Hillary Clinton’s not-yet-announced presidential campaign, relishes the fight. “They can investigate us, harass us, try to defund us,” warns Podesta. “But the president won’t flinch on this. This is our line in the sand.”

The fact that implementation of the EPA rules is likely to come in the middle of the 2016 election campaign is just another part of the White House political strategy. “What will become more apparent is that a candidate who denies the reality of climate change will have a hard time getting elected president,” Podesta says. “The candidate who says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem, I think we can work to solve it’ is going to win. I don’t think you ever go wrong playing for higher ground.”

However this plays out in the U.S., it is an indisputable fact that this deal has changed the odds for a new global climate agreement in Paris in 2015. Big questions remain about how much cash the West will pony up to help the developing world finance clean-energy projects and adapt to climate change, but that can be resolved. “This is a sea change in how we think about solving the problem,” says Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s senior climate-change adviser in London. “We will get a deal in Paris now, I’m certain of it. Will it be enough? No. But it will lay the foundation for the future. And it will say to the world, for the first time, ‘We are serious about this.’ ”

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Watch Colbert Shame GOP Climate Deniers: ‘I am Not a Scientist’ » EcoWatch

Watch Colbert Shame GOP Climate Deniers: ‘I am Not a Scientist’ » EcoWatch.

IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) provides a clear and up to date view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change. It consists of three Working Group (WG) reports and a Synthesis Report (SYR) which integrates and synthesizes material in the WG reports for policymakers. The SYR will be finalized on 31 October 2014. Further information about the outline and content and how the AR5 has been prepared can be found in the AR5 reference document andSYR Scoping document, AR5 page and on the websites of the working groups.

AR5 Media Portal
Outreach Calendar

Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change

The Working Group III contribution assesses the options for mitigating climate change and their underlying technological, economic and institutional requirements. It transparently lays out risks, uncertainty and ethical foundations of climate change mitigation policies on the global, national and sub-national level, investigates mitigation measures for all major sectors and assesses investment and finance issues.

Summary for Policymakers (en)
Working Group III Report website
Quick link to report PDFs

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

The Working Group II contribution considers the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation. The chapters of the report assess risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems around the world.

Summary for Policymakers (en)
Working Group II Report website
Quick link to report PDFs

Climate Change Reports | Office of Inspector General | U.S. EPA

Climate Change Reports | Office of Inspector General | U.S. EPA.


Notes from Bruce Ferguson

  1. The IG assigns a GWP of 25 (over a 100 year time period) to methane, which is more than the figure of 21, which EPA has used in the past, but still well below the figure of 34 used by the IPCC.

2. Everything in the IG report couched in terms of the 100-year time period; the critical 20-year time period is (once again) ignored by EPA.

  1. Reading the  report it’s apparent that converting to the 20-year time period (and using a GWP of 86 instead of 25) would not only provide a sound basis for setting energy policy, but would also trigger regulatory actions. How many more local distribution companies would have to obtain CAA Title V operating permits and/or PSD’s if methane was assigned a GWP potential of 86?

 No Local Distribution Companies Have Obtained GHG Permits From EPA

No local distribution companies (LDCs) have obtained GHG permits from the EPA. In general, any facility with potential to emit 100,000 tons per year (tpy) or more of GHG (measured on a CO2e basis) must obtain a CAA Title V operating permit. Additionally, new facilities with the potential to emit 100,000 tpy or more of GHGs (measured on a CO2e basis)—and greater than or equal to the applicable major source threshold (i.e., 100 or 250 tpy, depending on the source category) on a mass basis—must generally obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) pre-construction permit before it can commence construction.Also, existing facilities that plan to undertake modifications that substantially increase their potential to emit GHG’s may also be required to obtain a PSD permit for GHG emissions before they can make the modifications.15

  1. Fugitive emissions are ignored by EPA.

 Thirty-six LDCs reported more than 100,000 tpy of methane emissions to the EPA in 2011.However, none of these companies has obtained a GHG permit. In our view, this is likely due to the fact that methane emissions from distribution pipelines are generally “fugitive” emissions resulting from leaks. Under current EPA policy, fugitive emissions from these facilities are not counted toward the thresholds for determining whether a source is subject to GHG permitting provisions, except for major modifications at sources under PSD requirements per the EPA’s 2013 permitting guidance that cites CAA Section 302(j) and relevant regulatory provisions.16

 15 EPA provides a thorough discussion of the various GHG permitting requirements in PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases (March 2011), at

16 Counting GHG Fugitive Emissions in Permitting Applicability (December 12, 2013); EPA guidance document addressing questions about GHG permitting at

             5. And there’s this:

 EPA Has Not Partnered With PHMSA to Control Methane Leaks

 Historically, PHMSA has regulated LDCs’ pipeline infrastructure with a public safety focus rather than an environmental protection focus.17 PHMSA’s regulations were not designed to mitigate the environmental impacts of leaks. PHMSA requires LDCs to repair or replace leaking pipelines that:. . . represent an existing or probable hazard to persons or property and requires immediate repair or continuous action until the conditions are no longer hazardous.PHMSA regulations leave the repair of non-hazardous leaks to the discretion of the LDC.

According to the Executive Director of BlueGreen Alliance,18 when LDCs discover a leak, they may vent the leak to the atmosphere instead of repairing it if the leak is not a safety hazard. An LDC may also vent a hazardous leak to reduce the safety threat of the leak, thus reducing its explosive potential and downgrading its hazard rating. If a state does not adopt initiatives to enforce the repair of persistent, non-hazardous leaks, the LDC can potentially allow a non-hazardous leak to vent to the atmosphere in perpetuity.

The EPA has not partnered with PHMSA to address leaks from a combined safety and environmental standpoint. EPA staff told us that they do not have a formal partnership with PHMSA, and PHMSA last participated in an EPA Natural Gas STAR workshop in 2009. The lack of coordinated action between the EPA and PHMSA hinders an effective partnership where PHMSA’s technology and regulations could be used to produce additional environmental benefits. The EPA has the opportunity to partner with PHMSA in implementing the 2014 interagency methane strategy.


This is an invitation to change everything.

In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.

With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

To change everything, we need everyone on board.
Sunday, September 21 in New York City. Join us.

Sign up now  – or read Bill McKibben’s invitation in Rolling Stone here, Eddie Bautista’s piece in Earth Island Journal, or Michael Brune’s piece in Huffingon Post.



Below you’ll find a calendar of events for the weekend of the mobilization. If you’re looking for events leading up to the march, you can navigate the calendar using the categories and tags below.
Or click here for lead up events in NYC in particular.

If you are adding your own event, please allow 24 hrs for the event to show up on the site.


Choose a date using calendar

The Make & Northeast Regional Climate Justice Gathering @ Wheelock Mountain Farm | Vermont | United States
Our coalition invites you to the Northeast Regional Climate Justice Gathering – building power for a just transition away from unsustainable energy and toward community-based economies. Together we will enjoy a few days of August

People’s Climate Train from SF to NYC @ Amtrak California Zephyr and Lake Shore Limited
People's Climate Train from SF to NYC @ Amtrak California Zephyr and Lake Shore Limited
 Sep 15 @ 9:00 am – Sep 18 @ 6:30 pm Mobilization Week Events Other Events
The People’s Climate Train is a once in a lifetime experience for participants to spend days together networking, sharing knowledge and skills, organizing and building towards a landmark moment in the climate movement. This cross-country

NYC Climate Convergence @ TBA | New York | New York | United States
 Sep 19 – Sep 20 ALL-DAY Mobilization Week Events New York City
Movement building teach-ins, speak-outs, skill-shares, and workshops occurring in the run-up to the People’s Climate March, focused on strengthening the fight for a world where people and planet come first.

Climate Ride NYC-DC @ New York City to Washington DC
Climate Ride NYC-DC @ New York City to Washington DC
Double your impact, March and then Ride to the Capitol in Washington DC. Join Climate Ride NYC-DC, the nation’s only ride dedicated to sustainability and bike advocacy. You choose from our growing network of 100+

A Global Climate Treaty: Why the US Must Lead @ NY Center for Ethical Culture, first floor auditorium
A Global Climate Treaty: Why the US Must Lead @ NY Center for Ethical Culture,  first floor auditorium | New York | New York | United States
 Sep 20 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm Mobilization Week Events New York City
In September, world leaders will meet in NYC for a UN summit on climate change. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is calling on world governments to commit to an ambitious, legally binding agreement in 2015

People's Climate March @ New York City | New York | New York | United States
With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’re taking a stand to bend the course of history. On Sunday, September 21st we’ll take to the streets to demand the world we
Choose a date using calendar


There are several different bodies that are convening to collaborate on the People’s Climate March, including local New York-area community groups, international NGO’s, grassroots networks, churches and faith organizations, and many more. You can see a list of participating organizations here.

Because this is a “movement of movements” moment, the People’s Climate March is being organized in a participatory, open-source model. This means that there isn’t a central “decision-making” body or single coalition. Rather, groups and individuals are collaborating with some basic shared agreements around respect, collaboration, trust, and many are using the Jemez Principles of Environmental Justice.

This September is going to be a success because of the work we all do together – not because of any one person or organization. Take the initiative to organize your community, your school, your workplace, and your neighbors. Find out how you can help here, orfind out how your organization can support the People’s Climate March here.

Report: Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies Exceed $21 Billion Annually in United States | Oil Change International

Report: Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies Exceed $21 Billion Annually in United States | Oil Change International.

Methane’s Role In Climate Change | July 7, 2014 Issue – Vol. 92 Issue 27 | Chemical & Engineering News

Methane’s Role In Climate Change | July 7, 2014 Issue – Vol. 92 Issue 27 | Chemical & Engineering News.

Subsidy Phase-Out and Reform Catalyst Bonds | Center for American Progress

Subsidy Phase-Out and Reform Catalyst Bonds | Center for American Progress.

Risky Business | The Economic Risk of Climate Change in the US | Risky Business

Risky Business | The Economic Risk of Climate Change in the US | Risky Business.

Woods Hole, feeling budget squeeze, looks to partner with energy industry – Nation – The Boston Globe

Woods Hole, feeling budget squeeze, looks to partner with energy industry – Nation – The Boston Globe.