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.”