This guest blog post is written by Hub member Mitchell Beer, co-host of the Climate Action Panel on April 20th.

In the nearly four months since French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced the successful conclusion of the Paris climate change conference, two questions are by far the most frequently-asked that I’ve heard:

  • Did the conference deliver powerful enough results to be worth the effort?
  • Now that the agreement is in place, what can we do—each of us, all of us—to speed up the shift to a post-carbon world?

When you attend our HubTalk Climate Action Panel (April 20th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm) at Impact Hub Ottawa, you’ll see that the answers to the two questions complete each other.

The Paris Agreement: Not Enough or Just Enough?

As a first-time observer at a United Nations climate conference, it took me quite some time to sort through everything I’d seen in Paris.

If you’ve heard that this was a landmark agreement, the first time virtually all the nations of the world agreed on a common strategy to fight climate change, an historic moment that brought attention and momentum to the biggest crisis facing human civilization, and the best we could expect from a consensus process involving 195 countries…that’s true.

If you’re troubled that the targets in the Paris Agreement are purely voluntary, that the sum total of those promises would fall far short of stabilizing the global climate, and that delegates were almost perverse in setting aside some of the most promising opportunities to cut carbon and build a more equitable global economy…those things are true, too.

All of those pluses and minuses, strengths and weaknesses will be front and centre again on April 22, just two days after our panel discussion, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon marks Earth Day by officially opening the Paris Agreement for signatures in New York City.

Now It’s Up to Us

Now that the diplomats have done their part, it’s up to the rest of us to finish the job—same as it ever was. That’s why we’ve titled our panel “What’s next after Paris? Community action for a post-carbon future.”

Discussion will focus on the federal government’s emerging climate strategy, as well as the solutions we should be looking for at the municipal, provincial, and bilateral levels. We’ll talk about what businesses, utilities, and community non-profits are already doing to decarbonize the energy system, and what new developments to expect in the weeks and months ahead.

And we plan to close the session with a slightly different twist. We’re all used to being asked—yet again—what we plan to do in our own homes/workplaces/lifestyles to cut carbon. Even though we know the solutions to the climate crisis are a lot bigger than changing out light bulbs or turning down the heat. So this time, we’ll ask you what commitments you would need to see from governments, industry, and other big institutions to believe that, this time, we’re going to make a difference.

Join Us!

There’s limited space at The Hub, so you won’t want to wait too long to register for this panel! Visit our event page, and join us for a great discussion April 20th.

Mitchell Beer is President of Ottawa-based Smarter Shift and curator of The Energy Mix.

James Chan