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Patrick Bond and Mithika Mwenda at Climate Futures symposium, Italy, 13-17 July

Purpose and goals
A three-day symposium at Bellagio on “Climate Futures.” is the first phase of our project and will identify innovative social, political, economic, and cultural approaches and proposals for dealing with the crisis of climate change. Our primary objective is to bring climate justice organizations and grassroots activists into conversation with public intellectuals and scholars from across the natural, physical, and social sciences to brainstorm ideas on how to craft action plans that address the root causes and future impacts of climate change around the world. These multi-faceted plans will not only help strengthen local, national, and global initiatives but will also incorporate policies created with grassroots input building on the interconnections among climate justice and social justice, sustainable livelihoods, transparent and participatory governance, and innovative political forms to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon, just future.

The cross-disciplinary conversations at the symposium will also become part of a volume entitled Climate Futures: Re-imagining Global Climate Justice. Co-edited by the four symposium organizers, the book will draw on submissions by the symposium participants and others identified by the group. In addition to more typical scholarly formats, some contributions will take the form of conversations, interviews, and creative works. Both the symposium and the book will be examples of a public engagement arising from the collaboration of the cutting-edge scholarship and practical, grassroots work and knowledge production that we feel is necessary to tackle issues that affect the future of our planet.

The forces at play now that create an opportunity for positive change on the issue
The early twenty-first century has revealed climate change as the most dramatic threat to humanity’s prospects for a dignified future on the planet. In December 2015, the UN will convene in Paris to finalize a global climate treaty. However, the process has been marked by a protracted stalemate, while the agreed two degrees Celsius threshold of warming is jeopardized by current business as usual models and heightened extraction of extreme forms of fossil fuel energy. A rapidly growing global climate justice movement has risen in response, with thousands of organizations interlinked in a vast network of networks. As the UN summit approaches, these movements are striving to persuade governments and global institutions to take decisive steps including, most significantly, signing a fair, scientifically soun