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Tag: Youth Climate Movement

Youth “Roars” with Courage for Climate Action, World Leaders Fumble Over Future

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“Africa Roars” Aerial Art by John Quigley

Once again, in the shadows of COP15, it’s the young people from across the world, taking a stand, “roaring” for a binding global agreement and climate action.  Sometimes it is through the art and the voice of the people, especially the youth, where change can easily take root-as seen by the impact of art, especially aerial art, to communicate a “higher” vision.  The youth refuse to accept the prospect of a toothless treaty from leaders that claim to represent them at COP17. With their future under threat, young people are making their presence felt and their voices heard at the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

As climate talks heat up in this second week, some nations are still uncertain about extending the Kyoto Protocol (KP), which is set to expire at the end of 2012 Young people are calling for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to be implemented immediately to provide a bridge to a new, more comprehensive climate treaty by 2015.

Tom Youngman, 18, from Bath, UK said: “A second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is essential. The leaders of polluting nations have run out of excuses. We are running out of time. We need a legally binding agreement now to ensure a safe future for us and future generations. The Kyoto Protocol isn’t perfect, but it serves as an essential bridge to a new more holistic treaty. Under its watchful eye we’ve seen a transition in the way we live our lives – being ‘green’ is now thoroughly mainstream. It is essential leaders work together today to sign this treaty and protect our future. We stand with the leaders of vulnerable states that struggle to get their voice heard at these conferences when making this statement.”

This week, hundreds of young people have flooded the Durban conference centre playing host to COP17, the UN’s annual climate summit, donning t-shirts emblazoned ‘I ♥ KP’. Even leading negotiators have worn ‘I ♥ KP’ t-shirts and ties, showing that support for this treaty is widespread.

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This support was echoed by a negotiator speaking on behalf of the Africa group, speaking in the plenary session, who stated: “We will not let African soil become the graveyard for the Kyoto Protocol.”

A recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that we have five years to prevent irreversible changes in our climate and catastrophic impacts on humanity. Young people echo the report’s findings in stressing the urgency of the situation and the necessity of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in Durban.

“The Maldives are already experiencing adverse impacts of climate change in the form of issues of food security, water scarcity, and dengue epidemics. The economy is totally dependent on natural resources. Already, the beaches on which we depend are eroding and coral reefs being bleached due to rise in sea surface temperatures.” said Aisha Niyaz, age 29, who has travelled from the Maldives to stand up for her and her community’s survival as part of global youth at the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. “The Maldives was the first country to raise the issue of climate change in a UN general assembly. Without new legally binding commitments to act on climate change, our nation is doomed. Its future would be non-existent.”

The omnipresence of the “I ♥  KP” slogan is a symbolic call to negotiators to put politics aside and to remember what is at stake— lives and livelihoods of people and communities across the globe. By wearing the shirts throughout the negotiation halls, young people are reminding negotiators of the urgency in passing a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty in Durban.

COP16-Youth Move World Leaders

Last Year the Youth Rallied at Copenhagen’s COP15 and this year there was even more action at COP16. Youth  demanded Climate Justice from World Leaders, and they might have indeed helped to create a change..

Mirna Haider, a 21-year-old from Lebanon, today delivered a frank moral message of responsibility from international youth to United Nations leaders at the climate talks.

Haider, a youth climate leader from Lebanon, pressed negotiators during Friday’s high level segment to be more ambitious during the crucial second week of negotiations and highlighted the schism between the urgent case made by scientists and the inadequate solutions proposed by politicians.

“To be young and aware today is to be confused; to wonder why you can stand in front of us and both call for change, and refuse to change,” Haider said.

But Haider also added that she remains hopeful: “To be young and aware today is to know that a bright green future is possible.”

Haider spoke on behalf of about 1,000 young people from more than 40 countries that had traveled to Cancun for the two-week climate talks, many of whom represent large domestic youth constituencies.

A passionate and frustrated Haider spoke out against negotiators’ lack of transparency and interactions with civil society. “You’ve locked yourself in hotels and isolated yourselves from the communities who you are affecting.”

Haider finished by referring negotiators to a powerful statement that has become an unofficial slogan for youth groups at the UN: “You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell me you need more time.”

This motto is part of a unified action campaign run by youth organizations at the UN negotiations that  intensified the negotiations.

Through science-based emission reductions youth held interactive demonstration.

Cancun, Mexico 9-12-10 – In an interactive demonstration of the threat of rising sea levels, the international youth climate movement (YOUNGO) showed support for communities vulnerable to climate change disasters.

A 3-metre-wide world map showed the altered coastline of a world in which 2°C of warming has occurred. Passersby, including Mexican government delegates (photo: http://tinyurl.com/2ucnfwp) added their fingerprints to climate change affected areas on the map to call for limiting temperature rise to 1.5oC.

Youth at Cancun are pushing to keep temperature rise level below 1.5 oC, in line with updated science. This in contrast to the target of 2 oC outlined in last year’s Copenhagen Accord, which young people from at-risk communities say is inadequate.

“Small island states are among the most vulnerable to rising sea levels, but developed countries will suffer, too,” said Krishneil Narayan, a youth delegate from Fiji. “We need science-based targets or entire communities will experience disastrous flooding or even disappearing underwater.”

In addition, while the Copenhagen Accord aims to limit temperature rise to 2 oC, its non-binding nature means that countries’ current emission reduction pledges would not meet even this target. Meanwhile, negotiators have struggled to find consensus on setting targets for the second round of the Kyoto Protocol—the most prominent legally binding international treaty on climate change.

As the Cancun talks are wrapping up with high-level ministers negotiating behind closed doors, youth and other affected constituencies are clamoring for raised ambitions and increased urgency on an agreement that addresses the concerns of communities vulnerable to intensified storms and higher sea levels.

Alina Pohkrel, a 19-year-old youth climate leader from Nepal, said to country delegates: “You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell me you need more time.”

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