Creating international policy to combat climate change is one of the biggest public diplomacy challenges of our time. With slow progress in “state-led” forums such as the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), advocacy coalitions of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are pressuring decision-makers and working to build global awareness. The power of NGOs is soft since state actors set emissions targets; nonetheless, climate justice organizations persistently broadcast several important messages, including: 1) industrialized nations along with private sector polluters have an obligation to remedy ecological debt; 2) low-income and marginalized populations are most vulnerable to climatic variations, even though they are generally not high greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, and; 3) current policy needs to protect the well-being of future generations. This article explores how civil society has been spurred into action by weak state commitments as well as how web-based, bottom-up, and network approaches to influence policy-makers and implement climate change mitigation can broaden our understanding of public diplomacy.

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Publication Date

Summer 2014

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Copyright © 2014, Public Diplomacy Magazine. This article first appeared in Public Diplomacy Magazine: 12 (2014), 11-15.

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