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Introducing the U.S. Climate Rapid Response Network

SustainUS is partnering with the Sierra Student Coalition to launch the U.S. Climate Rapid Response Network for the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.

We will use the network to drive domestic action on priority climate policies by building a bridge between youth, student, NGO, and civil society climate activists in the US and the young activists participating in the climate negotiations.

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What’s it all about?

Rapid Response Network (RRN) members will be called upon to react to political and policy developments as they arise at COP18. We encourage individuals and organizations that join the network to respond to new developments quickly and creatively in order to most powerfully influence domestic policy during the COP negotiations. Joining RRN is not like signing up for any old mailing list: we will be using the network to coordinate strategic and large-scale actions to pressure US politicians to be more ambitious on climate policy, both domestic and international. Actions could include:

  • Generating a Twitter storm to defend the U.S. EPA’s funding and ability to regulate emissions, in reaction to the U.S. delegation’s unwillingness to commit to binding targets within the negotiations.
  • Planning a campus-wide action to hold U.S. delegates accountable for not prioritizing the interests of youth in their policy positions.
  • Asking participants to call upon their Senators to defend the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit.
  • Mobilizing local media coverage to highlight the fossil fuel industry’s corruption of the negotiations to push domestic fossil fuel subsidy reductions.

What happens after COP18?

After COP18 concludes, we hope to expand RRN to serve as a rapid response mechanism for any US group with time-sensitive climate priorities. This network can grow to become both the bridge that connects civil society to any US climate policy-related process, and the platform to create a powerful push for action.

Will it work?

This rapid response model has been highly successful at previous climate negotiations. At COP16, for example, we used stories of oil lobbyists at the COP to drive US youth at home to push their elected representatives to end domestic fossil fuel subsidies.

Why start with the UNFCCC?

The UNFCCC is a terrific stage and media focal point for advancing a narrative of climate urgency the US. This is exactly where the RRN comes in, taking singular events at the COP and linking them to larger domestic campaigns to generate the motivation for action here in the US.


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