It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm | COP24 North American Frontline Delegation

The Just Transition Alliance is proud to be part of the grassroots delegation at UNFCCC 24 in Katowice, Poland.
December 2-14, 2018

Please read about our delegation’s goals, our events and support our efforts on Environmental and Economic Justice!


Our Future Will Not Be Traded

As we head into COP24, the crisis of global warming and climate change has only become more evident as what could very well be the greatest danger to survival of humanity that we have ever faced.  It is a crisis caused by a very clear, specific reason—the ongoing  accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C warns that to stay below 1.5°C, “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land-use, energy, industrial development, buildings, air, ground, ocean transport, and cities, the world must take immediate action to transition away from fossil fuels. The IPCC report concludes that a world with 2°C of global warming will lead to more heat-related deaths, smaller crop yields, more intense extreme weather events, slower economic growth, more people in poverty, and an increase in the population facing water stress by up to 50%, compared to a 1.5°C world.  These impacts will get progressively worse if temperatures warm beyond the 2°C limit. Indigenous Peoples, frontline communities and everyday people around the world, are already facing devastating impacts from wildfires, floods, drought, and food insecurity.

The climate science is clear: we must reduce emissions as soon as possible—especially emissions from burning fossil fuels.  

Negotiations at COP24 are focussed on the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the framework for international action being the Rulebook that will set this Agreement in motion by laying out the tools and processes to enable its full, fair, and effective implementation. Countries agreed to develop and finalize the Paris Rulebook at the COP24. ITR recognized that the adoption of  the Rulebook will provide guidance for how countries should implement and strengthen their national climate plans under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Real emission reductions happen at the source where they are produced: coal mines, oil refineries, tar sands, fracking, waste incinerators, the aviation industry.  Carbon pricing, carbon markets and offset schemes, domestic and internationally,  do not cut emissions at source and release dangerous levels of toxic emissions spewing in environmental justice communities located at the fenceline alongside toxic industries, with the erroneous assumption that investments in the conservation of forests and ecosystems in one place can somehow “neutralize” fossil fuel emissions taking place elsewhere. At the same time, the implementation of REDD+ and similar forest-based carbon credit and payment for ecological services schemes have been documented in many  instances to have failed to recognize the principles of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), and have resulted in land grabs, human rights violations and the loss of livelihood for forest-dependent communities. For all of these reasons, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is a central focus for It Takes Roots and Indigenous and frontline communities impacted by the financialization of nature and carbon pricing and trading schemes.

Earlier this year, parallel to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), thousands of grassroots leaders from Indigenous and frontline communities across North America, along with global social movement allies, and an Indigenous delegation from Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and Nigeria took to the streets of San Francisco for the It Takes Roots Solidarity to Solutions (Sol2Sol) Week of Mobilization.  Sol2Sol highlighted frontline community place-based solutions to both climate and economic crises, including Indigenous rights, food sovereignty, zero waste, public transportation, ecosystem restoration, universal healthcare, worker rights, housing rights, racial and gender justice, and economic relocalization.  As North American frontline communities, we understand our critical responsibility to challenge the leading role the US plays in advancing both the right wing backlash of climate denialism, and the neoliberal corporate capture of international climate negotiations. We are mobilizing for COP24 to continue lifting up regenerative frontline solutions that truly cool the planet.

Just Transition

For Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, impacted workers, and global leaders, Just Transition will be a central focus at COP24.  In hosting the COP in Katowice, Poland the UNFCCC brings global attention to the contradictions faced by coal impacted workers and surrounding communities, whose livelihoods and daily survival have been tied to the very industries that pollute the land, water and air, and are burning up the planet.  COP24 illuminates the dire need for alternative economic and energy models that are in alignment with our collective survival.

The It Takes Roots delegation is comprised of grassroots leaders, some of  whom participated in developing the concept of a Just Transition as part of the historic work of the environmental justice movement,  which drew on leadership from Tony Mazzocchi of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union during the 1970s. The Just Transition Alliance grew out of this work, and continues to build Just Transition campaigns globally, along with a new generation of Our Power Communities within the Just Transition Alliance.

Just Transition is a vision-led, unifying and place-based set of principles, processes and practices that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy that recognizes the rights of local ecosystems and nature to maintain their vital natural cycles of life. This means approaching production and consumption cycles holistically and waste free. The transition itself must be just and equitable– redressing past harms, ecological restoration and creating new relationships of power for the future through reparations. If the process of transition is not just, the outcome will never be. Just Transition describes both where we are going and how we get there.

The People’s Demands

It Takes Roots is aligned with more than 150 organizations globally who have signed on to support the People’s Demands at COP24:

  1. Keep fossil fuels in the ground
  2. Reject false solutions that are displacing real, people-first solutions to the climate crisis
  3. Advance real solutions that are just, feasible, and essential
  4. Honor climate finance obligations to developing countries
  5. End corporate interference in and capture of the climate talks
  6. Ensure developed countries honor their “Fair Shares” for significantly fueling this crisis

For information about events and actions related to the People’s Demands, and to sign on to the demands, visit:


Partial List of ITR Events at COP24

Tuesday, 04 Dec 11:30am -1:00pm
People Power Now! Transforming Our Energy System
Location: COP24 Venue, G-Room 2, Pieniny

Description: Join friends of the Earth International as we launch people power now! A Sept of Principles to Ensure a Just Transformation to a peoples energy system. Tom BK Goldtooth speaking (IEN/ITR)


Tuesday, 04 Dec 4:45pm – 6:15pm
Transitioning to a New Era of Paris Agreement Mechanisms for Increased Ambition
Location: COP24 VEnue, Room Warmia

Description: In light of the potential impacts of old Kyoto mechanisms on the Paris Agreement, this event will discuss how to transition towards a new system for international transfers under Article 6, and how to adopt safeguards to ensure that markets actually contribute to reducing overall emissions, respect human and indigenous rights, and promote sustainable development. Panelists will provide a diverse range of views on the lessons which can be drawn from past experiences, such as with the Clean Development Mechanism, in order to inform the design of new markets.


Wednesday, 05 Dec 11:30am – 1pm
Side Event – Fork in the road: Just Transition & True Climate Action or
Dangerous Distractions and Climate Chaos?
Location: COP24 Venue

Description: Parties face a choice between a global climate response that is meaningful and just or one that promotes profits over people. This event will explore the opportunity posed by Paris Agreement implementation, discuss real solutions to the climate crisis, and barriers to their access and implementation.  Tom Goldtooth, speaking with; Moderator Sriram Madhusoodanan (or Nathalie Rengifo), Corporate Accountability; Pascoe Sabido, Corporate Europe Observatory; Neth Daño (invited)ETC Group; and possible [PUSH Sweden]


Saturday, 08 Dec 12pm – 5pm
Climate March!
Location: plac Wolności (Freedom sq)
Website for more info:


Sunday, 09 Dec 11am – 1:20pm
Just Transition: Building Local Living Economies
Location: Climate HUB

Description:   A panel presentation with representatives from IEN (Tom BK Goldtooth), Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, La Via Campesina, the Just Transition Alliance; Friends of the Earth International, Transnational Institute.  This workshop will deepen discussion around what Just Transition means when grounded in the leadership of Indigenous Peoples, food producers, fence-line communities, and frontline workers movements. Economic and energy transition. We will hear directly from organizers who are advancing real alternatives for both energy production and economic self-determination transforming the conditions that are pitting our livelihood against our health and our collective survival.


Monday 10 Dec
Just Transition Day
Location: Climate Hub


Tuesday, 11 Dec 11:30am – 1:00pm
From Local Approaches to (Inter)National Policy: Gender Just Transition and  Decent Work
Location: COP24, Room “Warmia”

Description: Just Transition needs to promote rapid decarbonization, challenge social inequalities and overcome a green growth agenda. We need to question the predominant idea of work, power relations and consider intersectional issues (gender, human rights) and the participation of indigenous/local communities.  Speakers: Avril de Torres, who works at the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) in the Philippines and who will provide a regional perspective on Just Transition, Patricia Bohland from GenderCC who will look into aspects of gender justice; Dunja Krause, UNRISD, who will speak on translating Just Transition into policy and who will also refer to the report of the Just Transition Research Collaborative; Jaron Browne, National Organizer, Grassroots for Global Justice (GGJ) alliance; also stepping in for Tom Goldtooth, IEN, speaking on what makes a transition JUST for local/front line/people-of-color and Indigenous communities, issues of gender/sexual identity and Just Transition and present a brief of the IEN Indigenous Principles of Just Transition.


Wednesday, 12 Dec 18:30-21:30
Radical Realism – 1.5°C is possible
Location: Climate HUB
Description: (will feature Cynthia Mellon, Climate Justice Alliance)


Wedneday, 12 Dec 11:30-13:00
Women for Climate Justice Leading Solutions
Location: COP24 Venue. Room ‘Bieszczady’

Description: Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is hosting this side event featuring grassroots and Indigenous women leaders, alongside representatives from international organizations, addressing the need for solutions based in a climate justice framework, including forest and biodiversity protection, Indigenous rights advocacy, agro-ecology implementation, fossil fuel resistance, and protection of women land defenders.

Speakers: Carmen Capriles (Feminist, Human Rights and Environment Defender, Bolivia); Ruth Nyambura (Feminist, Organizer and Researcher, Kenya); India Logan-Riley (Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, Youth climate leader, Aotearoa/New Zealand); Aneesa Khan (COP24 Delegation Leader with SustainUS, U.S.); Elaine Colligan (Organizer and Activist, Masters in Philosophy in Political Theory at Oxford, and Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network Programs Contributor, U.S.); and a representative from the It Takes Roots delegation.



It Takes Roots centers the leadership and power of urban and rural communities on the frontlines of racial, gender, housing, environmental, energy and climate justice across North America to advance regenerative economies and healthy communities. ITR is a multiracial, multicultural, multi-generational coalition of networks and alliances representing over 200 organizations and affiliates in over 50 states, provinces, territories and Native lands in the U.S. and Canada, and is led by women, gender nonconforming people, people of color, and Indigenous Peoples. It is an outcome of years of organizing and relationship building across the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and Right to the City Alliance (RTC) alongside Center for Story-based Strategy and The Ruckus Society.

@IENearth @OutPower @ggjalliance @(Right to the City)

Contact for the ITR COP24 delegation: