Bill McKibben Calls in From Paris

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Bill McKibben Calls in From Paris

December 2, 2015

Students, faculty, staff and community members at Middlebury College and Colby College joined Middlebury Schumann Distinguished Scholar Bill McKibben this afternoon on a live video call from the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, France. McKibben described the sullen mood in Paris after the recent attacks. Marches and demonstrations have been banned in Paris for safety reasons, but McKibben emphasized the importance and emotional impact of events hosted around the world (roughly 2,200 demonstrations reported).
 
While he does not have very high hopes for an incredibly progressive climate agreement coming out of the negotiations, McKibben did stress that the “keep it in the ground” movement is really taking root and gave credit to students and activists for their hard work on this effort. He encouraged listeners to think of COP21 as more of the “scoreboard than the game,” explaining that while large changes may not necessarily come out of the conference, it provides a way to gauge progress on the fight against climate change. 
 
McKibben observed that global attention continues to turn toward keeping coal and oil reserves in the ground while exploring alternative energy solutions. He also noted the increasing interest in New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's investigation into whether Exxon Mobil misled its shareholders about climate risks many years ago. Questions from Middlebury and Colby Colleges covered everything from divestment to social justice to local action, and sparked interesting answers from a true insider and climate hero.