Interview with Paul Zeitz
The Healthy Climate Alliance (HCA)
is an education, networking, and advocacy program of the Foundation for Climate Restoration. Its global dialogues unite stakeholders including the public, policy-makers, and technical and business experts. HCA is shifting our shared goal to reversing global warming and restoring the climate.
Hi Paul! Could you please introduce your work with the Healthy Climate Alliance (HCA) and tell us a bit more about what led to your working as a Senior Policy Advisor with the initiative?
Good morning everyone. Hi, my name is Dr. Paul Zeitz, and I'm the Senior Policy Advisor with the Foundation for Climate Restoration. The Foundation for Climate Restoration is dedicated to restoring a safe and healthy climate for future generations. We believe that everyone is accountable for the survival of humanity. My role is to conduct political advocacy at the U.S. government level here in Washington D.C., as well as support the efforts to do global policy and global outreach. We're working with the U.S. Congress, we're working with both bipartisan members of Congress, so Republicans and Democrats are actively engaging in legislative efforts to advance this new agenda to restore a safe and healthy climate for future generations. We're also working with the U.N., the Green Climate Fund and other stakeholders who are committed to accelerating climate action. And we believe that there are available solutions to rapidly advance climate restoration. These include: carbon negative building materials, ocean ecosystem restoration and, urgently, we need to focus on Arctic ice restoration. There are solutions, but we need the political will to generate action at the scale and pace that we need it, in order to achieve our goal. Ultimately, our goal is to return the atmosphere back, remove enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, back to pre-industrial levels - under 300 parts per million - by 2050. So our time to our measurable goal is to restore the climate by 2050. Thank you.
What have been the main projects, research, and publications you've focused on since you joined the HCA? What have been the main tenants of the policy memos you've written?
In my role as a Senior Policy Advisor with the Foundation for Climate Restoration, we've been focusing on trying to get legislative language - in resolutions or in bills - that support this agenda of restoring the climate for future generations. So, Representative Raskin introduced a standalone climate restoration resolution in April of this year, in tandem with Earth Day, so that was our first political signal. More recently, last week in July of 2019, the Congress - both members of the House of Representatives and in the Senate - introduced what's called the climate emergency resolution. In this resolution, the foundation and myself have worked to ensure that the climate restoration agenda is front and center. So I'm very pleased to tell you that the resolution includes language that says that resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives, that it is the sense of the Congress that the climate emergency demands a national, social, industrial and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive scale to halt, reverse, mitigate and prepare for the consequences of the climate emergency, and to restore the climate for future generations. That is a major breakthrough; we have six of the 24 Democratic presidential candidates that have signed on to this resolution. We are now working with bipartisan members of Congress to develop additional legislation, we're trying to integrate climate restoration into on bills that are being developed under the Green New Deal, and we're working on a bipartisan global Climate Restoration Act that would create a mobilize-
How can initiatives like HCA step in where public institutions leave gaps? How is the work of the HCA influencing policy?
The Foundation for Climate Restoration works with public institutions around the world to accelerate action, to restore the climate for future generations. We're working with local governments, having them advance carbon-negative building materials and ocean ecosystem restoration; we're working with national governments, particularly in the United States; we're supporting the climate emergency resolution that was introduced last week in Congress, in July of 2019; and we're now working on legislation to develop a whole of government approach to achieving climate restoration. This bill is being introduced and developed by bipartisan members of Congress, 'cause all people realize that we have a responsibility for the survival of the human species. At the global level, we're working with the U.N. and mobilizing member states of the United Nations to support rapid acceleration of climate restoration. This includes working with entities within the U.N., including the U.N. Office of Partnerships, the specialized agencies we are conducting outreach to, and we're in a dialogue with the Green Climate Fund, which is a multibillion dollar global fund and trying to establish collaboration with them as well. So the agenda that we're proposing to restore a safe and healthy climate by 2050 requires the mobilization of local governments - including cities and counties and states - it also includes the mobilization of the federal government and a whole of government approach: Department of State, Department of Defense and many others, and of course the global level stuff. Thank you and have a great day.
As a Senior Policy Advisor, how do you measure the impact of your consulting and research with HCA? What are your main KPI's?
As the Senior Policy Advisor for the Foundation for Climate Restoration, my work is focused on getting legislation and policies passed and approved by governing bodies, in support of restoring a safe and healthy climate for future generations. So, at this point, we're focusing on getting language built into congressional resolutions and we're developing legislation that can be introduced into Congress, like actual bills. We're also working at the level of the U.N. and developing statements and outcome statements that will be delivered as part of the Global Climate Restoration Forum being held in September 2017. We hope to influence the outcome statements and public speeches by leading officials from member states from countries around the world, as well as from U.N. leadership. We are also very excited about the possibility of private sector leaders stepping forward and supporting a bold agenda to restore the climate for future generations. So stay tuned for the Global Climate Restoration Forum being scheduled on September 17th in New York later this year. Also, we're going to be measuring our progress in mobilizing states and counties in the United States and their uptake and their mobilization around climate restoration. And finally, we're keen on building out the coalition for climate restoration, with as many stakeholder groups and movements and coalitions that we can engage with, that will help us achieve this very ambitious goal. So that includes the Earth Day Network and many others.
What's next for your work with HCA, as well as your other projects and endeavors? What will be your main focus throughout the next year?
The Foundation for Climate Restoration is working with a coalition of partners, including the U.N. Office of Partnerships, The Earth Day Network, Future Coalition and many others to host the first ever Global Climate Restoration Forum on September 17th 2019. This is planned to be held at the U.N. headquarters in the Trusteeship Council - which is the heart of the U.N. - where we will bring together governments from around the world, corporations and businesses, academics, civic groups, faith-based groups and, most importantly, youth-led movements that are fighting for bold and transformational climate action in response to the climate emergency. So climate restoration is emerging as a new area of endeavor that is complementary to the ongoing efforts of adaptation and mitigation. So we're proposing three legs of the Climate Action stool: adaptation, mitigation and restoration. And now, there's an emerging coalition getting behind that agenda. At this summit in September, or at the forum in September, we hope to bring forward concrete solutions that can be brought to scale, and then influence stakeholders from around the world and encourage them to take bold action. We hope that stakeholders will mobilize and support the decade of climate restoration between 2020 and 2030. And so we're also aiming towards a second Global Climate Restoration Forum in September of 2020, to continue to build out the coalition. We will be working with Earth Day on the fiftieth anniversary in April 2020, and the global movement - represented by Earth Day Network - is now also on board with mobilizing on climate restoration.