Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the purpose of the Glasgow Agreement?
The purpose of the Glasgow Agreement is to reclaim the initiative from governments and international institutions and create an alternative tool for action and collaboration, for the climate justice movement. Until now the climate justice movement has had a very big focus on pressuring governments to take action on climate, or to push for stronger international agreements within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 or the Paris Agreement in 2015. Meanwhile, emissions have continued to rise. Hence the Glasgow Agreement proposes that civil society proposes its own plan of action, no longer waiting for governments and international institutions to do so. We aim to use a vast array of strategies and tactics, including civil disobedience, to achieve the necessary emissions cuts to prevent a 1.5ºC temperature rise by 2100.
2. Which organisation(s) are behind the Glasgow Agreement?
The proposal for the Glasgow Agreement was presented for the first at the By2020WeRiseUp meeting in Iberia (Spain and Portugal), in February 2020, and at the By2020WeRiseUp meeting in Brussels, in early March. Other activists from organisations and grassroots movements around the world were consulted on the first draft.
Our first assembly was on the end of March and since then Glasgow Agreement was built with dozens of organizations from around the world, with clear and open processes, where the only criteria for participation was willingness to participate. Our political discussion was frank and open, we converged where we could and diverged where we had to, to reach our final agreement.
3. Why is it called Glasgow Agreement?
This initiative is called the Glasgow Agreement because the initial proposal was to sign it during the COP26 in Glasgow, planned for November 2020. With the postponement of COP26 to 2021, a discussion started on the name of the agreement. A final decision was reached and organisations decided that the name should be kept as “Glasgow Agreement”, with the subtitle “People’s Climate Commitment” underneath.
Who can join and how?
4. Which organisations can join?
Any social movement or organisation, small or large, local, regional, national, or international, can join, except for political parties and churches (religious groups can join). It is not necessary that your organisation is legally registered in your country. Commercial companies should not join as the purpose of the agreement is strictly non-commercial.
5. Our organization is good at technical issues but is far away from direct action, can we join?
Yes, one of the commitments in this agreement is to share skills globally, so you can help other organisations with your technical skills and other organisations can help you with direct action, tactics and skills if you so desire. (Also see question 6)
6. My organisation does not consider practicing civil disobedience, although we think it is legitimate that other organizations use this tool, can we be part of the Agreement?
Yes, your organisation can be part of this Agreement, as long as it is not opposed to other organisations taking civil disobedience.
7. How can I join the Glasgow Agreement?
If your organisation wants to sign and commit to the Glasgow Agreement, you should fill and submit the contact form. After submitting the contact form we will send you a welcome kit and add your email to our communications channels.
How does it work?
8. What is the structure of Glasgow Agreement?
The Glasgow Agreement does not have a fixed structured, in order to adapt to needs and context. We have an assembly and working groups. The following work guidelines are respected:
- i) decision making by consensus;
- ii) inclusivity and respect;
- iii) a decentralized approach;
- iv) the only rightful space for political decisions is in the assembly;
- v) the assembly is a sovereign body;
- vi) only organisations committed to building the Glasgow Agreement can send proposals for the agreement text.
9. How are decisions about the process and the agreement being made?
The decision-making process and proposals are an articulation between working groups and the assembly. We strive to make decisions by consensus. Political decisions and overall decisions are made in the assembly. The assembly also gives mandates to the working groups, which decide on their own internal process and operational decisions of their mandate. Working groups can bring proposals to the assembly.
The agreement text decision making process couldn’t make room for neither abuse of power nor hierarchies, and there must be an active effort to reach consensus without losing the propose of escalation and compromise. Therefore, during the first months we used ongoing feedback loops for the development and construction of the text.
The only text constraints were that it had to be short and concise, fully inside the limits of time and emissions, as well as inside the definitions of climate justice and civil disobedience.
We reached a consensus of the agreement text at the 18th October assembly. You can read it here.
10. How can I join the Assembly?
The active participation in the assemblies is conditional to the commitment made by organisations to participate in the Glasgow Agreement (see How can I join the Glasgow Agreement?)
Organisations interested in joining can be invited to take part as observers (including the ability to ask questions) but will not be able to take part in decisions until their organisation has expressed its commitment.
Individuals that confirm their commitment on building the Glasgow Agreement can join the assemblies but are not able to make political proposals.
There is an active effort to have simultaneous translations on the assemblies.
11. How can I join the working groups?
After you or your organisation has confirmed commitment you will receive a welcome kit with the steps to join working groups.
12. I don’t speak English; how can I participate?
Right now, our working language is still mainly English. We recognise the need to expand to different working languages soon, in particular, Spanish and French.
Solutions for non-English speaking people are being worked out, and it is an open process. We have thus far translated the text into Spanish, French and Portuguese. However, feel free to communicate with us in other languages (especially Spanish, Portuguese, French … etc.), and we will be happy to assist in any way possible to look for ways to make the process more language inclusive. We recognise that this is important to build a truly global and inclusive Glasgow Agreement.
About the Agreement
13. What is the purpose of the inventory that is to be produced?
The inventory will provide a listing of the main emission sources within the territory of a state (or region, if this is more useful), focusing on specific infrastructures, sectors and companies. Based on this, organisations of the Glasgow Agreement, that are located in a given state or region, will develop priorities for emissions cuts, that is, a list of infrastructures in that area to be shut down through different tools. This inventory will take into consideration the specific historical or political conditions of each country, and the level of emissions cuts required, will be analyzed through a “fair share” perspective, that is, in accordance to historical responsibilities.
14. Is the production of the inventory a complicated exercise? (We are afraid to commit to something if we are not certain that we have capacities to achieve it)
There is a guide for how to conduct the inventory and groups will have the support of the Inventory and Climate Agenda Working Group. This working group also has support from academic institutions.
The level of complexity will depend on the region and local context. Nevertheless, we are all learning together and as such there is room for different levels of knowledge and capacities, so all you need is the will and energy to do it, and we will be there to help you.
15. What is the advantage of focusing on infrastructures?
When institutions produce their climate projects, they split the total percentage of greenhouse gases that need to be reduced through different sectors. While it is necessary to understand where the reductions are needed in many cases this approach has led to inadequate action. Instead if we use this information to guide inventories that focus on concrete facilities, infrastructures, plants or fossil fuel industries that need to be shut down, we will be talking about what these cuts really mean and what they look like on the ground. We will stop addressing emission mitigation in an abstract way, but rather focus on political programs that can be immediately implemented.
We are aware that shutting down polluting infrastructures is not sufficient. We need a just transition, which includes creating alternatives. By shutting down existing facilities, infrastructures, plants or fossil fuel industries we will increase the political, social, and economic pressure for a just transition.
16. What is the purpose of the Climate Agenda that is to be produced?
The climate agenda is an action plan for shutdown, reset and transition designed by communities, movements, and organisations working on the ground. The agenda is based on the territorial inventory and climate justice demands, aiming to set us on track for staying below 1.5ºC global warming by 2100.
This is clearly an ambitious undertaking, and we are aware that we are only at the beginning. We see the Glasgow Agreement as a new attempt at looking strategically at how we can advance as a movement, and of course articulate with other components of the movement, such that we can actually provide plans that outline pathways to success, given the understanding that we are living in the decisive decade for preventing irreversible climate chaos.
17. Why is the focus/commitment on civil disobedience and non-cooperation?
The main narrative of the agreement is that movements should not be dragged into the failure of institutions. We know about the threat of climate change since at least 1980, we have tried many tactics, there have been two international agreements (see What is the purpose of the Agreement?), and yet global emissions continue to rise while time runs out.
When institutions fail us, civil disobedience and non-cooperation are the most important means available to us, as citizens of this world, to take action ourselves, to escalate and coordinate globally, and to reach the emissions cuts needed to prevent climate catastrophe.
18. Does the Glasgow Agreement mean the institutional advocacy work should be abandoned?
No. Every organisation that wants to continue the institutional struggle is welcome to do so. In this agreement however, that is not the goal. We focus on the power of the people and movements to cut emissions and shut down harmful industries and projects. Many movements to date, have focused on pushing institutions to take action, nevertheless we have failed to achieve the necessary results to prevent catastrophic climate change. With the Glasgow Agreement we look for a commitment for adequate, timely and concrete action, which institutions are invited to catch up with as well as commit to.