The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report from the climate scientists has given a ‘final warning’ to policy makers on the crucial need for action on climate change. It clearly says we must fast-track climate efforts across every country.
The report states that “attention to equity and broad and meaningful participation” can build “social trust” and so “deepen and widen support for transformative changes.”. The radical social changes encouraged by this report won’t happen without the consent and participation of citizens around the world.
For many years, this critical part of the climate change response has been ignored. Socially marginalised and economically vulnerable citizens, and those who are more impacted by changing temperatures, remain excluded from the conversation.
According to Climate Home News, Governments have a duty – embedded in article 6 of the Paris Agreement – to educate their citizens on climate change, involve them in policymaking and ensure they have all the necessary information.
The UNFCCC’s Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) is made up of six elements: education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and international cooperation.
These six principles are all core to public engagement, and most importantly to holding governments accountable.
Scientists providing even more frightening information about future impacts of climate change can be overwhelming and not helpful.
Positive campaigns are needed, involving education, that give people the feeling that it is possible to do something about climate change, they can be involved and that that something has the potential to make a difference.
The IPCC report highlights bringing people together to take action on climate change requires a bottom up, participatory approach engaging and involving people. Climate education is one clear step we can and should take to inform and advise Governments and citizens to do more.