We need a manifesto to explain what it is we want: carbon freedom. A short text which can be endorsed by individuals, organisations and bodies, as well as governments at all levels.
Below are some existing manifestos. They provide ideas to what a Carbon Freedom Manifesto could contain.
• Terra Carta
• The Roadmap
• Seven Generations New Deal
• Canada: The Leap Manifesto
• The Carbon Manifesto
• The Energy Reality Pledge
• The Climate Emergency Declaration
• Australians for Climate Action
Most ‘Carbon Freedom Manifestos’ that have been suggested so far contain two or three of these fundamental demands:
1) Coal, gas and oil must stay in the ground
All public investment in and all subsidies to fossil fuel projects must end immediately.
2) The real cost of carbon emissions must be paid by those who burn the fossil fuels
Polluting the atmosphere has huge impacts on societies and it simply can’t be free to flood the atmosphere with carbon any longer.
3) Invest massively in renewables
Massive ‘Marchall-plan-like’ public subsidies and private investments must be directed to developing, producing and enhancing renewables as well as energy saving technologies.
Ad 1) Numerous campaigns for this are already well in place and running, but they are badly co-ordinated and there is much too little co-operation and collaboration between the many organisations which work for the same goal.
Ad 2) The huge long-term expenses on climate related problems caused by the burning of coal, gas and oil should be reflected in the price which industries and consumers are paying for it. This will enable national and local governments to deal with the problems of climate change as well as to speed up the transition to renewable energy sources.
Those governments which already have put a price on carbon emissions must form a ‘carbon tax club’ or ‘carbon cartel’ to strengthen their position, consolidate the concept internationally, as well as to put pressure on irresponsible governments which have not yet understood why the implementation of carbon regulations is urgent for humanity as a whole. This doesn’t have to go through the United Nations whose ability to create any real action on this issue is being obstructed by a minority of nations which benefit from fossil fuel production.
Ad 3) This must be followed up by government-funded information campaigns on how to reduce one’s carbon footprint, whether you are an individual, an organisation, a company or an official body, and it should include government directions to public broadcasters about their obligation to follow up on and support this.
A recovery plan for Nature, People and Planet
On 11 January 2021, Prince Charles announced the ‘Terra Carta’, a new initiative which offers the basis of a recovery plan to 2030 that puts Nature, People and Planet at the heart of global value creation.
Devising its name from the historic Magna Carta, which inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people over 800 years ago, the Terra Carta aims to reunite people and planet, by giving fundamental rights and value to Nature, ensuring a lasting impact and tangible legacy for this generation.
HRH The Prince of Wales wrote in Terra Carta’s foreword:
“The interdependence between human health and planetary health has never been more clear. As we start a new decade, it is time to focus on the future we wish to build, and indeed leave, for generations to come. Humanity has made incredible progress over the past century, yet the cost of this progress has caused immense destruction to the planet that sustains us. We simply cannot maintain this course indefinitely.
To build a productive and sustainable future, it is critical that we accelerate and mainstream sustainability into every aspect of our economy. To move forward, there must be a center of gravity to catalyze such a monumental effort, and to mobilize the resources and incentives required.
Over the past year, through my Sustainable Markets Initiative, I have convened leaders from across industries and almost every sector, and challenged them to identify ways to set our planet on a fundamentally more sustainable trajectory. Together, these outstanding business leaders have seized this opportunity to develop a charter of ambitious, but practical action. With these insights, I am launching this ‘Terra Carta’ as the basis of a recovery plan for Nature, People & Planet.
At this historic tipping point, with the lives and livelihoods of present and future generations in mind,the Terra Carta aims to provide a roadmap for acceleration towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector.
For nearly every problem we face, Nature, with the benefit of billions of years of evolution, has already provided us with the solutions. Universal principles rooted in the harmony of Nature’s patterns, cycles and geometry, which ancient civilizations and indigenous peoples have known all too well, need to be harnessed to inform science, technology, design and engineering and can, in fact, drive a sustainable future. But time is fast running out and we are rapidly wiping out, through mass extinctions, many of Nature’s unique treasure trove of species from which we can develop innovative and sustainable products for the future. Timelines for change must be brought forward if we are to make a transformative shift by the end of the decade and before it is too late.
Over the coming years, my Sustainable Markets Initiative will report on and update the Terra Carta regularly in order to reflect the rapid pace of change and the continuous progress being achieved around the world.
If we consider the legacy of our generation, more than 800 years ago, Magna Carta inspired a belief in the fundamental rights and liberties of people. As we strive to imagine the next 800 years of human progress, the fundamental rights and value of Nature must represent a step-change in our ‘future of industry’ and ‘future of economy’ approach. With this in mind, Nature, of which we are an integral part, lies at the heart of the ‘Terra Carta’.
Today must be the decisive moment that we make sustainability the growth story of our time, while positioning Nature as the engine of our economy. To help us succeed, and to complement global efforts across public, private and philanthropic sectors, I am calling on CEOs from around the world to engage and play their part in leading the global transition.To guarantee our future, we have no other choice but to make each day count – and it must start today.
~ Prince Charles
11th January 2021
THE SUPPORTERS OF THE TERRA CARTA
Commit to supporting and rapidly accelerating the world’s transition towards a sustainable future.
Recognize the urgency of the global climate, biodiversity and health crises and the stewardship with which we must act.
Acknowledge that to build a sustainable future, the transition must focus on a robust, positive and parallel impact for Nature, People & Planet.
Recognize that ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, on land and below water, requires that climate, oceans, desertification and biodiversity be treated as one common system and addressed simultaneously.
Acknowledge that we need to make health our goal; individual health, community health, economic health and the health of our Natural resources.
Take into account the value of diversity, recognizing that diversity is a strength that gives resilience to communities, systems and organizations.
Recognize the importance of ‘local’ – local traditions, languages and cultures along with local products, jobs and sustainability – and how these ‘locals’ connect and support each other in the wider tapestry of regional and global systems.
Acknowledge that Nature underpins the inherent prosperity, wellbeing and future of all people and the one planet we share. Further, that the restoration of the natural world is of common benefit to all humankind irrespective of borders.
Acknowledge that the required global trajectory is a sustainable one, where the private sector has a critical role to play. To accelerate along this trajectory, a ‘future of industry’ and ‘future of economy’ approach must be taken.
Take into account the need to ensure a skilled workforce and a cadre of leaders that are prepared to participate in a fair, inclusive, equitable and just transition towards a sustainable future.
Recognize that to scale sustainable solutions and investment, cross-border and longer-term ‘mega’ projects need to be explored, underscoring the importance of public, private and philanthropic collaboration.
Acknowledge the need for net zero commitments to be achieved by 2050 and, where possible, much sooner. Setting more ambitious timelines will emphasize and catalyze immediate action while encouraging continuous innovation and improvement.
Undertake to collaborate, share knowledge and ideas to propel the world towards sustainability at a faster pace through public, private and philanthropic collaboration.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
- The Terra Carta will serve as the guiding mandate for HRH The Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI).
- The Terra Carta aims to provide an integrated roadmap towards an inspiring, inclusive, equitable, prosperous and sustainable future for the sake of present and future generations; one that will harness the power of Nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector.
- The aims of the Terra Carta will be met by:
- Furthering, and where possible exceeding, the goals and targets outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- Broadening the definition of sustainability, beyond simply net zero transition, to be inclusive of Nature, People, Planet, Equality and Prosperity.
- Supporting the protection and restoration of a minimum of 30% of biodiversity, on land and below water, by 2030 and 50% by 2050.
- Making global investment and financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions, climate-resilient development and Natural Capital / biodiversity restoration (on land and below water).
- Encouraging coordination, cooperation and cohesion within corporate and public-private-philanthropic domains.
- Leveraging consumer and shareholder demand to drive sustainable transition and investment within the private sector.
- The Terra Carta recognizes that each industry, business and investor needs to chart its own course to a more profitable and sustainable future, and that global, regional, local and industry variance exists. With the sustainable direction increasingly clear, the Terra Carta aims to encourage and provide a voluntary framework for each actor to accelerate along their respective transition journeys.
- In targeting a global private sector and a diverse multi-industry audience, it is recognized that actions outlined by the Terra Carta will not apply equally to all. At the same time, to reach a sustainable future, the systems-level shift required relies on the leadership, resources and interdependence of diverse global, regional and local actors. With this multiplicity of actors, pulling in the same direction is critical.
- The Terra Carta recognizes that no one action, industry or actor is, in itself, sufficient to solve the climate and biodiversity crisis. A multitude of actions, initiatives and investments are necessary. The more coordinated, aligned and mutually reinforcing these efforts are, the higher the likelihood of success.
- The Terra Carta will be open to affirmation from any CEO, or equivalent, in any sector, that wishes to support the private sector’s role in helping to build an inspiring, inclusive, equitable, prosperous and sustainable future. In 2021, COP15 (biodiversity) and COP26 (climate) will be critical milestones to demonstrate private sector commitment and action.
- The Terra Carta is to be a living document that will be reported on and updated annually. This will allow the Terra Carta to keep up with global progress, technological evolution and a shifting investment landscape while seizing rapidly emerging opportunities developing around the world.
Seven Generations New Deal
A Climate Policy Centering Indigenous Science and Environmental Justice
A seven point action plan for an era of urgency.
2. Indigenous Science
3. Structurally Shifted Green Economy
4. Ecological Restoration
6. Climate Education
7. Systems Change
→ Home page: www.sgnd.info
“We won’t wait for someone to show us the road — we must create it. Our mission is nothing less than a comprehensive, global green energy transformation. This is a call for a democratisation of the clean energy transformation.”
~ Olafur Grimsson, former president of Iceland – about The Roadmap
→ The Roadmap (A4 PDF)
→ Home page: www.roadmap.org
Canada: The Leap Manifesto
A call for a Canada based on caring for the Earth and one another – for a just transition and for “a genuine leap to the next economy”
“Climate scientists have told us that this is the decade to take decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming. That means small steps will no longer get us where we need to go. So we need to leap.”
“The time for energy democracy has come: we believe not just in changes to our energy sources, but that wherever possible communities should collectively control these new energy systems.”
Naomi Klein explains about the Lee Manifesto:
→ Read more on www.leapmanifesto.org
Suzuki’s Carbon Manifesto
We can take inspiration from environmentalist David Suzuki’s ‘Carbon Manifesto’, which he wrote for Canadians, but which – slightly altered for a global reach – could look something like this:
1. Fossil fuels as our primary energy source are over. Within a generation they must stay in the ground. That means exploration and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry end now.
2. Save the Earth’s largest carbon sinks: forest and our oceans must be protected.
3. 70 percent of our energy must be renewable energy within one generation.
4. A carbon tax of $150 per tonne starts now.
5. Climate scientists must be able to share their findings uncensored and unimpeded by political and corporate interests.
David Suzuki’s Manifesto Pledge
“Human beings have become so powerful that we are altering the biological, chemical and physical properties of the planet on a geological scale. We must look to the future, and science rather than politics or economics must be our guide.
I know our dependence on fossil fuels must end.
I know it will take massive change for us as a species to survive let alone thrive in the converging global crisis around climate, food, water, fuel and the economy.
I pledge to stop the epidemic of blame around the climate crisis and recognize my own responsibility.
The way I live my life is part of the problem.
I believe we need a new vision for our future as [Canadians/Americans/Australians/etc] and as humans.
I pledge that I am ready to implement change. I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
I stand with the Carbon Manifesto. This is our way forward.”
→ Read more about David Suzuki’s Carbon Manifesto
The Energy Reality Pledge
“Energy is at the heart of the human predicament in the 21st century. The ecological and economic costs of non-renewable (and disappearing) fossil fuels are rising rapidly, and dragging down our economy. In every sense of the word, this is unsustainable. It’s time to remake our energy economy under different terms. Join the rest of us who are ready to create our own energy future that doesn’t destroy the planet… just to keep the lights on.”
“Pledge: I’m ready for an energy reality that:
• Prioritizes reducing overall demand for energy through efficiency and curtailment.
• Treats fossil fuels like the valuable, limited resources they are.
• Shifts from centralized non-renewable energy supplied by unaccountable multinationals to decentralized renewable energy produced by communities.
• Minimizes the environmental and social impacts of this transition.”
→ Take the pledge: www.energy-reality.org/art/pledge
The Climate Emergency Declaration
“Declaring a climate emergency is a vital step in building support for the very large changes required to restore a safe, cooler climate.
A society-wide mobilisation of resources is required at a scale and speed not seen since the Second World War.
Carbon emissions must be reduced to zero within a few years, not several decades, and we must draw down all the excess carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere using measures that include mass tree planting.
We must rapidly transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy, replacing fossil fuel jobs with jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The climate restoration is an enormous task, but given the risks to ourselves and future generations we must rise to the challenge.”
→ Read more: The vision
Australians for Climate Action
In an open letter to the Australian government, the organisation GetUp asks for stronger, meaningful climate action with these three demands:
• Cutting Australia’s pollution by at least 30 percent by 2020
• Moving Australia beyond coal and gas towards renewable energy, using a Renewable Energy Target
• Putting a price and limit on carbon emissions
→ Read more and sign the letter on: www.australiansforaction.org.au