Join us at Tate Modern for 10:10 launch today 1/9/2009

Welcome to a very big day for Team Stupid,

How times change. A year ago, we'd have been all excited to get a tiny mention in a national newspaper. This morning we have the front page of the Guardian (attached) all of G2, our own section on the Guardian website with more than 20 articles + a photo gallery + video + audio interviews and a whole page in The Sun (attached). My favourite article is the one about how Delia Smith and Spurs football club plan to cut their 10%.

But before we get on to such excitements, I must first apologise for my recent messages being obtuse to the point of containing almost no meaning. The problem was that our newspaper pals didn't want us to reveal any details of 10:10 in case a rival pipped them to the post. Which made it tricky to invite everyone to the launch. But now the blinkers are off and we are tearing out of the gates towards the Tate Modern this afternoon.


10:10 is the national effort to cut the UK’s emissions by 10% in 2010. Please sign-up today. By committing to cut your emissions by 10% in 2010, you will join thousands of individuals and organisations all actively helping stop climate change by making simple changes to their lifestyles, homes and businesses. More importantly, your voice will be part of the national demand that the UK Government acts quickly to cut our country's emissions as a whole. If we in the UK can prove that fast, deep cuts can be made at a national level, then we may just inspire all the other big polluting countries to follow suit.

-> First 1,000 people to sign-up get free champers (in compostable glasses, of course) and the first 3,000 get a free tag made from our recycled plane

-> Live music from Reverend & The Makers and Stornoway, speeches from the not usual suspects and your big chance to start in a national newspaper's centrefold photo

-> Here's who you'll be joining if you decide to sign up:

VIPs: Lord Stern (Author of the Stern Review), Colin Firth, Delia Smith, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Ian McEwan, Irvine Welsh, Pete Postlethwaite, Ken Livingstone, Sara Cox, Kevin McCloud, George Monbiot, Peter Tatchell, Chris Rapley, Ruth Padel, Reverent & the Makers, Richard Curtis, Mark Ellingham, Adhaf Soueif, Ben Todd, Alistair McGowan, Cornelia Parker, Edward Cullinan,Nicole Farhi, Rory Bremner, Samantha Morton, Vivienne Westwood, Lord Giddensm, A L Kennedy, Ahdaf Soueif, Alain de Botton, Ali Smith, Alistair McGowan, Andrew Motion, Anthony Beevor, Anthony Browne, Bishop of London, Lord Giddens, Anthony Horowit, Antony Gormley, Russell from Bloc Party, Cornelia Parker, David Oyelowo, Deborah Moggach, Diana Athill, Donna Cullen, Edward Cullinan, Eley Kishimoto, Gillian Wearing, Jason Isaacs, Jeanette Winterson, Justin Rowlatt, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Luella Bartley, Margaret Drabble, Mariella Frostrup, Mark Ravenhill, Michael, Craig Martin, Michael Holroyd, Michael Landy, Michael Rosen, Mike Figgis, Peter Tatchell, PPQ, Richard Eyre, Richard Mabey, Sadie Coles, Sara Cox, Sarah Waters, Shami Chakrabarti, Simon Armitage, Simon Russell Beale, Tamsin Greig, Will Alsop, William Boyd, Zac Goldsmith
10 Organisations: Science Museum, Tate, Spurs Football Club, Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Women's Institute (NFWI), British Fashion Council, Business in the Community, Mumsnet, Sage Gateshead, Julies Bicycle, Arcola Theatre
10 Businesses: Oracle, Cooperative, Logica, Colliers, Ocado, Guardian/Observer, Adnams Brewery, Olswang Law, Ogilvy PR, Eaga
10 Hospitals / Health centres: UCLH, Nottingham, Bristol, NHS South West, St George's, Frimley Park, Old School Surgery, Tameside & Glossup, British Medical Journal, Basingstoke & N Hampshire
10 Local Councils: Greenwich, Hackney, Islington, Richmond, Oxford, Slough, West Sussex, Stroud, Eastleigh, Kirklees
10 Schools: Fox Primary, St Martin Primary, Petchey Academy, Crispin School, Ashley Primary, Rosemary Musker High, Ambler Primar, Kings College School, Whitby Community, Winton Primary
10 Universities/Student Unions: Edinburgh Uni, Westminster Uni, King's College, Liverpool Uni, South Thames College, Newcastle Students Union, National Union of Students (NUS) nationally, Birmingham Students Union, UEA Students Union, Leicester Students Union
10 Charities: Comic Relief, ActionAid, Global Action Plan, Women's Environmental Network, Campaign for Greener Healthcare, Operation Noah, Envision, OneClimate, Fauna & Flora Intl, Green Thing
4 (out of 6) Energy Companies: EDF, Eon, British Gas, Scottish & Southern

-> If you can't make the Tate Modern, you can sign-up online on our spanking new website:

-> Please spend as much of your working morning as you can get away with spreading the word about the Tate launch to all your London friends via Facebook, Twitter or even the old fashioned phone. Really need to get a good old crowd down there, so please have a think about which of your London pals might fancy some free champers and a place in history (maybe)

-> A few more volunteers needed to help run the Tate show. Should be good fun, honest. Please call Ben on 0777 209 0680

-> Sorry this is UK-only right now. Watch this space for 10:10 Global.

-> Full Franny explanation about what/where/why/how/who we got to 10:10 below. It all started in Regents Park, just before the Miliband Tricycle showdown...

Right, gotta write my speech... How did it come this? I was the quiet one at the back of the class, too shy to speak....

Hopefully see you later,
and Team 10:10

The Story of 10:10

If you put yeast into a jar with some sugar, they will gobble up the energy as quickly as possible, reproduce wildly out of control and then wipe themselves out in their own waste products.

So far, our response to climate change has been of the yeast variety. All the talking, all the documentaries, all the international negotiations have resulted in a net achievement of less than nothing: global emissions just keep going up and up.

As Pete Postlethwaite's character says in our, er, documentary, The Age of Stupid, "We wouldn’t be the first life form to wipe itself out. But what would be unique about us is that we did it knowingly." And there's the crux of it. We are the most intelligent creature ever to evolve. The first to understand how the overstretching resources->extinction pathway works and the first with the potential to use our big brains to jump off that pathway before it's too late.

So... to maximise our chances of preventing runaway climate change, we must quickly and massively cut global emissions. To quickly and massively cut global emissions we need a binding international treaty and the last chance we have to get that treaty within the timescale of the physics of the planet, is the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December this year. Hence the "Most important meeting in human history" moniker.

Clearly the treaty isn't just made up on the spot, they've been working on it for years. The best deal currently on the table is that from the EU, which calls for a 30% reduction by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). If this deal were to be accepted (which is a very big if, given that Japan argues for 8%, Australia for 5% and America for between 0%-6%) and if the emission cuts were then carried out (which is an even bigger if, given that no country has ever deliberately cut its emissions), this would give us about a 50/50 chance of not hitting the dreaded two degrees. Two degrees is where we trigger runaway climate change: two leads to three, three to four, four to five, five to six... by which time it's about over for life on Earth.

In other words, our elected leaders are giving us - at best - a coinflip chance of avoiding catastrophe. It is hard to imagine a more total failing of our political system. Imagine if they were standing at a plane door... "Come on citizens, everybody on board, 50/50 chance of a safe landing...."

All of which means that we non-politician human beings who depend on the climate remaining habitable had best jump into action.

Here's the plan: come down to Tate Modern between 4pm and 7pm today to sign up to the new 10:10 campaign. (If you're not in London, sign up at The first 1,000 people get a free glass of champagne and the first 3,000 get a free 10:10 tag (we bought a famous old 747 and recycled it into thousands of cute badges - think Make Poverty History's white wristband). There'll also be speeches and live music from Stornoway and Reverend & The Makers.

By signing up to 10:10, you will commit yourself, your school, your hospital, your church, your business, your whatever to cut 10% of your emissions next year. Which is easy. It's at the level of changing lightbulbs, turning down heating, driving a bit less and maybe sticking in some (free) insulation. Four of the big six energy companies have already signed up to help their customers cut their energy usage over the course of the year. In fact, one of the first inklings we had of the 10:10 magic was when everyone from Eon to the Women's Institute to Spurs to the Science Museum started rushing to sign up before we'd barely formulated the plan.

As well as being achieveable for the vast majority of the population, 10% in one year is the kind of cut the science tells us we need. Forget those long-term put-it-off targets of 80% by 2050 - we need to start cutting right now.

Once we have a sizeable chunk of the UK signed up, the next step is to challenge the Government to follow suit: to commit to reduce the whole country's emissions by 10% in 2010. Which would be difficult. But the other option - runaway climate change and a humanitarian catastrophe - has got to be worse.

And if one of the biggest historical climate culprits - that's us - stepped forward and made the first move, it just might change the outcome at Copenhagen. The international talks have long been hamstrung by "It's all China's fault" or "We're not playing if America's not playing" and so the UK going 10:10 has a small chance of breaking the deadlock.

One week after the talks finish - whatever the outcome - on January 1st 2010 the people of Britain will start getting on with solving the problem, supported by the Energy Saving Trust, the Carbon Trust and tonnes of online resources. Everyone who successfully completes their 10% cut should find themselves richer (for saving money on their energy bills), fitter (for the walking & cycling which replaced some car trips) and with more friends (the colleagues they car-pooled with or the neighbours who helped walk all the kids to school). More importantly, everyone who takes part will know that their efforts are part of the nationwide effort to prevent catastrophe. Hell, if 10:10 takes off as we are dreaming, their efforts will be part of the international effort to prevent catastrophe.

I was born in the early 70s and am part of the MTV generation who were told by a million adverts that the point of our existence was to shop more. Daunting though the task ahead may be, I personally feel enormously inspired and quite relieved that it turns out that we have something important to do. The people who came before us didn't know about climate change and the ones who come after will be powerless to stop it. So it's down to us. Other generations came together to overturn slavery or end apartheid or win the vote for women. There is nothing intrinsincally more useless about our generation and there is no doubt about what we have to do. The only question which remains is whether or not we give it a go.

Franny Armstrong
1st September 2009
Lanch of 10:10