2020: starting a decade of change to protect the climate and nature

In the last 12 months, climate change and the destruction of nature have become impossible to ignore. Millions of people took to the streets as wildfires raged and heatwaves threatened lives – hitting many of the communities least responsible hardest. 2020 will kickstart a decade of change so forests, oceans and the climate can be restored and renewed.

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We know we have 10 years to put the brakes on the climate crisis and stand a chance of avoiding global temperatures rising above 1.5ºC. That’s not long, just the length of a single childhood. Time is also running out to reverse the devastation of nature, protecting forests and oceans to prevent the extinction of countless species.

This coming year will be the start of a decade of change. The 20s will be the decade when the mantra of ‘business as usual’ will be over. When the companies and governments that have been pursuing profit over the interests of people and the planet are forced to radically change how they operate. The millions taking to the streets as part of the school strikes and Extinction Rebellion events are just the beginning.

At Greenpeace, we’re ready to leap into 2020 and secure some major progress on protecting the climate and the natural world. This year, there are at least three moments of reckoning for the governments and corporations who have been blocking progress so far.  We’ll be doing everything we can to turn these events into major milestones on the road to building a green and peaceful future.

Here’s how 2020 will begin a decade of change

1. Major climate decisions being made in Glasgow

In 2020, the annual UN meeting to negotiate international climate change commitments comes to the UK. Delegates from every country will descend on Glasgow to assess progress and make pledges to do more.

This year’s Conference of the Parties – COP 25 – recently wrapped up in Madrid and the results were disappointing to say the least. Fossil fuel companies and governments, backing their interests once again, undermined efforts to deliver a radical global agreement that would help address the climate crisis.

Attention now shifts to COP 26 in Glasgow next November. As host, the UK government will have enormous influence over how ambitious the negotiations will be. The new Conservative government has started to listen to the need for more climate action, but with their plans still full of holes, the coming year will see Greenpeace redouble our efforts to push radical climate action to the top of the cabinet’s agenda.

We’ll also challenge companies like BP that are still intent on polluting our atmosphere with yet more oil and gas, pushing them to switch to 100% clean energy or face going out of business.

2. A global treaty to protect our oceans

Throughout 2019, Greenpeace has been campaigning for a strong global treaty to protect the open oceans. In 2020, there’s the chance to make this a reality as nations come together to agree just such a treaty.

More than 64% of the world’s oceans fall outside national boundaries, with little in place to protect them from overfishing, deep-sea mining and oil drilling. To safeguard marine wildlife and help prevent climate change, at least 30% of the oceans need to be protected from the ravages of industrial activity.

Around the world, Greenpeace has been pressing governments to back this treaty. In the UK, we’ll be asking the new government to send a minister to attend the UN meeting this coming spring, and use their global platform to keep pushing for the strongest possible agreement.

3. Broken promises to protect forests

Ten years ago, major international companies agreed to end deforestation by 2020. Members of the Consumer Goods Forum – a trade body with Nestlé, Unliever and Mondelez among its ranks – promised to make sure that the soya and palm oil in their supermarket products was free from forest destruction.

Time’s nearly up and very little progress has been made. Deforestation rates in the Amazon and elsewhere in South America are increasing as industrial agriculture expands the cattle ranches and soya plantations. In Indonesia, peatlands drained to produce palm oil have caught fire once again. All of which adds to the climate crisis and pushes wild species into extinction.

These companies have failed to keep their promises. In 2020, we’ll force them to not just protect forests, but restore them as well. Helping damaged forests recover will help tackle climate change and pull nature back from the brink.

Help kickstart a decade of change

We don't have long to turn the climate and nature crises around – but we can do it. Greenpeace remains fiercely independent so we can challenge the governments and companies blocking progress. We do this by only accepting donations from individual people. Anything you give will be put straight to work on securing strong global deals to protect the climate and oceans, and making companies uphold their commitments to save and restore forests.

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