7 January 2018
In November, three South West Greens stepped back on the pedals that took them to Paris for the UNFCCC COP21 climate conference in 2015, … and cycled 600 km “On2Bonn” for COP23. SWGP Co-ordinator, Ewan Jones, rejoined1 former Elections Co-ordinator, Roger Creagh-Osborne, and Falmouth’s Euan McPhee to carry Climate Vision Carbon Logic pledges from Truro to Bonn in their panniers.
Ewan, Roger and Euan rode from Paris across the plains of Northern France; over the Ardennes, where they discovered that Belgium does have hills; then down to the Rhine, in Germany. While the rain mercifully held off, the only mechanical difficulty was Ewan’s bike’s rejection of Roger’s navigation via rutted Belgian tracks. Magically, a Raleigh specialist appeared in the next town, to get things rolling again en route to Spa.
Through the power of social media, the three timed their arrival to join 3,000 “Critical Mass” cyclists coming from Köln. Erland, who had also ridden from Paris to Köln spotted “On2Bonn” stopping for a photo at the Bonn boundary sign; then so did Uli, who was connecting the 400+ climate cyclists converging on COP23. In town, they met Thierry and Olivier, who had pedalled from Grenoble across les Alpes aboard a yellow tandem; then Danielle who had ridden from Venice. In total, over 140,000 km were cycled from around the globe. All inspirational.
When Roger and Euan returned to the South West, Ewan stayed on for the duration of the COP23 climate conference as a delegate of the Green Economics Institute. Ewan says:
“Bearing witness at COP23 was a re-energising reminder that the world continues to build a toolkit to deliver the COP21 Paris Agreement, and keep the global temperature rise beneath 1.5°C, while the UK Government remains blinded by ‘Brexit’.
Fiji’s Presidency (generously in hosted by Bonn) upped the ambition, and provided the vision of "Talanoa": inclusive, transparent dialogue, in which people listen to each other, respect each other's perspectives and seek solutions that benefit everyone.
Even the U.S. mayors and business leaders brought an America’s Pledge: #WeAreStillIn ‘Climate Action Zone’, dwarfing the official delegation – to remind the world that the USA remains a signatory to the Paris Agreement, despite Donald Trump’s bluster.
I personally hope that SW Greens can help our own small island state to rediscover its responsibilities to the wider world in 2018…”
Ewan, Roger and Euan would welcome invites from local Green Parties to report back on their experiences at COP23.
1 Happily, former SW GPRC representative and GPEW Conference Co-ordinator, Ricky Knight, was unable to bring his unique style of roadside debate this year – owing to duties in Barnstaple following the birth of his first granddaughter.