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Greetings GCCLP Family,

Nearly every year, the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change hosts a Conference of Parties (COP) to discuss and advance collective agreements to address the global climate crisis. 2021 hosted the 26th such gathering and GCCLP anchored a frontline delegation with participants from the Gulf South for Green New Deal and Red, Black & Green New Deal formations to participate in official and grassroots events alongside climate activists from around the world. In this message, we share what we learned and what we accomplished at this year’s climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

Photo credit: Breahna Crosslin. Left to right: issac sevier, Colette Pichon Battle, Wes Gobar, Laura Kigwebe James, Andrei Greenwood, Kendall Dix, Devin Murphy, Khai Nguyen, Grace Treffinger, Preye Cobham, Dominic Bendar, Tiffany Fant, Logan Burke, Yvette Arellano, Bette Billiot, Justin Solet, Jennifer Crosslin, Alex Clemensten, Peniel Ibe
Exclusion, Injustice and False Solutions at COP26

In 2015, 197 nation states (nearly every country) committed to working together to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement is an international legal binding agreement that commits nations to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and for developed nations to provide financing to developing countries to mitigate climate change, strengthen resilience and enhance abilities to adapt to climate impacts. Unfortunately, the commitments made at COP26, particularly by the Global North fall short of the goals of the Paris Agreement. While some nations have made new promises to reduce emissions, the world is still on track for significant warming. We are already living with the realities of climate catastrophe with our current 1.1°C of planetary warming. Current pledges—if they’re fully enacted—would allow for 2.4°C of warming.  The U.S. and rich countries also failed to address loss and damage by blocking and/or delaying efforts that would require the global North to pay its fair share of the impacts developing nations are now and will continue to experience as the climate crisis worsens.

Moreover, COP26 was the most exclusionary COP to date. More than usual, climate activists from the Global South faced racist immigration barriers and difficulties securing visas. This situation was worsened by the COVID pandemic and inequities in vaccine distribution from rich countries to the Global South—rightfully called vaccine apartheid by advocacy organizations. Two members of our own delegation from The Gambia were not able to enter the country. While more than 500 representatives of the fossil fuel industry attended, making industry the single largest delegation at the conference. Their influence on the negotiations and the emerging narratives was obvious with so much talk about blue hydrogen and carbon capture, despite studies showing that blue hydrogen is worse than coal.

Rich countries including the U.S. wagging their fingers at developing economies like India and China for resisting a fossil fuel phaseout in the final agreement while the US opened up the largest oil and gas lease sale in the nation’s history on 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico right after the conference ended.  And despite strong demands from Global South nations and advocacy groups including GCCLP, the U.S. and rich countries blocked any mention of finance to address loss and damage. Instead they watered down language in the final agreement to call for a “dialogue” on the topic in future meetings. Only one territory (Scotland) has pledged money to support Global South nations in dealing with climate change impacts.

Despite these failures of moral leadership in the final hours of the COP, we refuse to let our destinies be written by the same institutions that have stolen our wealth, stolen our land and whose greed continues to pollute our communities.  Click here to read our official statement on COP26 official UNFCCC proceedings. 

Leading the US Call for Global Climate Reparations

The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy brought together over 20 Indigenous, Black, Asian, Latinx, queer, differently-abled and southern climate justice leaders from 12 U.S. states and 2 african nations to advocate for immediate and adequate climate reparations for the communities of the global south.  Our main call was for climate reparations connected to the acknowledgment of Loss & Damage in the 2015 Paris Agreement (Article 8). Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation.

Climate Justice includes an acknowledgment that people in the global South have the least input into the climate crisis yet bear its worst consequences and should be recompensed by those in the global North. Climate change is an injustice that must be addressed through equitable compensation for past and ongoing socio-economic-political decisions as root causes of past and ongoing climate harms. Reparations would use international laws and resources to address inequalities caused or exacerbated by the climate crisis; it would allow for a way out of the climate catastrophe by addressing climate adaptation, mitigation and migration. GCCLP roots the implementation of climate reparations in the advancement of the Movement for Black Lives Reparations Toolkit.


Reparations is not just money: its policy and agreement that this will never happen again. It is an apology and an acknowledgement that what you have done is wrong… 

– Colette Pichon Battle

The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy partnered with Tipping Point UK to host a Climate Reparations & Decolonization Climate Movement Assembly at the COP26 Coalition People’s Summit. Both the #RBGND and  the #GulfSouth4GND delegates facilitated small groups during  the Climate Movement Assembly, led by Colette Pichon Battle and Harpreet Kaur Paul. We shared our visions and strategies for fighting for and winning Climate Reparations.

Photo credit: Breahna Crosslin. Picture: Jennifer Crosslin facilitating climate reparations conversation with climate youth leaders from Ireland and Germany.

People power will triumph from the Gulf South to the Global South. We left the session inspired by and connected to global movements demanding radical and transformative change and with a song for “Climate reparations” in our hearts.

#WeChooseNow – Global Day for Climate Action

On November 6, we joined in solidarity with the COP26 Coalition Global Day of Action, both in person at the protest march as well as through digital actions. #WeChooseNow, a message from the Southern Frontlines born out of Hurricane Ida, was amplified around the world as hundreds of people shared demands for climate justice from their communities.

At the mobilization in Glasgow, Bette Billiot and Yvette Arellano of the Gulf South for a Green New Deal joined Tiffany Fant and Peniel Ibe of the Red Black & Green New Deal and shared their stories of climate impact and climate justice with the crowd of more than 110,000 people. Their collective speech ended with the whole crowd chanting “The seas are rising… and so are we!” the slogan developed in 2014 by the Gulf South Rising initiative. It was a powerful moment of solidarity from the Gulf South to the Global South.

Photo credit: Breahna Crosslin. Left to right: Tiffany Fant, Bette Billiot, Peniel Ibe, Yvette Arellano

Climate Justice Requires Black Liberation

The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy hosted the first-ever Global Reception for Black & African Climate Leaders.  Over 150 climate leaders from more than 34 countries joined in a night of celebrating Black climate leadership, experiencing Black Joy and Collective Liberation. Liz Kennedy, a participant of the Global Black Climate Leaders Social shared that “the space felt like a much needed warm hug.”  This is what we hoped for in designing and preparing for the social, that as Black People from across the Diaspora we felt seen, cared for, celebrated, and affirmed because we know that it is out of our joy and pleasure that our freedom and liberation will come.

Photo credit: Breahna Crosslin

A few days later,  GCCLP’s Executive Director, Colette Pichon Battle met with Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and delivered a set of foreign policy changes toward climate justice developed and included in the National Black Climate Mandate including a call for  Indigenous Sovereignty so that tribes can better plan for and recovery from climate disasters; Global Divestment of Fossil Fuels and industry buildout; the unconditional cancellation of International Debt and the accountable payment for Loss & Damage throughout the global south; and systems change and support for climate migrants.

The work continues as we build power and strengthen our frontline formations. COP26 showed us what we are up against but also who we’re fighting alongside. We are a beautiful and growing global network of climate justice leaders and we believe that we will win.


With love and abundance,

the GCCLP Krewe


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