Last week, firstlight – along with an amazing team of collaborators – launched the Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) and I was fortunate enough to lead the charge. It’s the type of project that you dream of as a comms professional, and one that I have enjoyed taking from conception through to launch.

What makes CCAG so exciting is that we’re only just beginning. The ambitions are lofty, we aren’t simply aiming to shout loud – we want to be heard by those in power, to agitate for real and meaningful climate policy change.

But why would they listen to CCAG? After all, the climate space is not short of expert voices. In the UK we have the CCC, and internationally there are the likes of the IPCC and the UNFCC, amongst many others. But we believe we’re bringing something different and important to the table.

Led by Sir David King, we’ve assembled an all-star cast of experts (you can see the full list of scientists here), including the likes of Professor Johan Rockstrom, Professor Nerilie Abram and Fatih Birol. Each expert has an outstanding reputation and many have major public profiles, but all of them believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With their collective authority we can help persuade governments and policymakers to make much needed climate commitments.

It’s not just the collective might of the Group that’s our differentiator, it’s also how we plan to operate. We believe the only way to push for change is to give high quality advice to governments in an open and transparent way that brings the public along for the journey. We aim to highlight where governments and institutions are already doing the right thing, and of course where they aren’t. By arming the public with the right information, they in turn can apply the pressure needed to help achieve these goals.

So, to that end, we will be producing monthly advisory papers on key issues related to the three key pillars that the Group have identified:

  • Reduce: Current targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction are not enough. Nations need to triple their emissions-cutting pledges to limit the effects of the climate crisis.
  • Remove: We need large-scale investment to develop and scale techniques to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Repair: Deep research is needed to explore and investigate safe methods and technologies to repair parts of our damaged climate systems.

As seen with our launch, each report will be accompanied with a public briefing, broadcast live on YouTube and hosted by veteran BBC presenter Ade Adepitan. The briefings will allow the Group to discuss their advice and why they have made those recommendations. It will also provide opportunity for the public and media to ask the questions they crucially want answering.

Beyond the public meetings, we will also be able to provide reactive advice and insight into all manor of issues relating to the climate crisis, from extreme weather events to carbon targets. We aim to become a go to source for all. 

To those who have followed our work at firslight (or much of the news), this model may sound familiar. Indeed, CCAG is borne out of the success we have found using this approach with Independent SAGE.

But we’re not naïve to the challenges ahead. Independent SAGE’s success has taken place in the context of a new global pandemic spurred on by a failing British government. There is nothing new about climate change or the science behind it, yet still the appropriate action hasn’t been taken

And whilst the immediacy of the pandemic has brought those responses into focus, the reality is that we are also in a climate crisis today. As I write this people are dying in Canada due to an extraordinary heatwave. With sea levels rising and increased extreme weather events on the horizon, we all have a duty to do more.

I hold out hope that CCAG can at least bring further attention to the climate cause and offer something different to move things forward. I know I speak for the whole extended firstlight team when I say say we are excited and honoured to be working on a project of such magnitude.

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