It used to be said of climate talks that progress was glacially slow, until the accelerated melting of ice made the observation too painfully ironic. This is a problem in the middle of a climate emergency when the scientific consensus at the IPCC says that change, especially in wealthier countries, needs to be rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented to meet the 1.5°C temperature target.
Notoriously, international negotiations move at the pace of the slowest participants, but what holds nations back when there is so much to gain from climate action in terms of green jobs, cleaner air and the absence of climate catastrophe?
At the Rapid Transition Alliance, rather than accept at face value claims about the impossibility of achieving fair and rapid change, we produce evidence based hope that such change is possible.
It has happened before, in a wide range of different circumstances, and it is happening now across different regions and sectors of the world. In other words, people are demanding and enacting change themselves rather than waiting for governments and businesses to deliver it for them. This doesn’t let governments off the hook. Far from it.
It shows that people expect more of their elected representatives and that there is an appetite for far more ambitious action. We need to use this evidence to call out inaction and to say clearly this can be done because either it has been done before, or it is being done right now. This gives us hope that with effective mobilisation, the right support, clear priorities and the re-direction of our economies towards sustainability, we can tackle the climate crisis. Here we share with you some stories of rapid transition. We have chosen sectors like housing, heating and transport, some of the hardest sectors to decarbonise as we build towards a zero-carbon economy.
We have done this to show that even in these ‘sticky’ sectors with strong vested interests, infrastructures locked in over decades and claims that alternatives do not exist, that change has nevertheless been forthcoming.