Globally shared youth vision
Policy Principles, Our Guiding Principles – International Youth Delegation
Youth envision a world with a safe and stable climate. In this world, unmitigated pollution of the shared atmosphere is no longer acceptable. Developed countries have paid the full debt of their historical emissions burden on the climate by facilitating and financing necessary adaptation measures in developing countries. Also financed by developed countries, global innovation has been harnessed, and effective renewable and energy efficient technologies have been developed and equitably distributed throughout the world.
Having addressed climate change through a strong global agreement, and free from the added pressure of a more dangerous climate, we are now able to turn our full attention to the world’s other pressing issues including food security, water & sanitation, health care, education and freedom. The lessons that we learned from climate change will allow us to work effectively on these issues.
- Emissions Targets
- Technology Transfer
- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)
- Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry
- Global Financial Crisis
- Youth involvement in COP
Temperature increase due to global warming must be kept as far below 2°C as possible. In order to minimize the risk of climate catastrophe, we must, at the very least, reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to 350ppm CO2-e as quickly as possible, and follow that up with increased efforts to return to pre-industrial levels of greenhouse gases. For those who want to go for a 450ppm CO2-e target, a key aim of many negotiators at this conference, would give us a less than 50-50 chance of staying below 2°C, which is unacceptably risky. Thus, getting exposed to a high level risk like that is uncompensated compared to the little or no economic gains for few. Henceforth we must aim at the highest level possible.
To achieve our goal of a safe climate future, we believe that:
- Global emissions must be reduced by at least 85% by 2050 (compared with 1990 levels), in line with IPCC recommendations for maintaining a safe climate.
- Developed nations must actively lead, committing to emissions reductions of at least 40% by 2020, and 95% by 2050. Global emissions must peak and decline by 2012.
Technology Transfer - Go zero carbon
The undeniable link between energy and other forms of technology with global poverty is a key area which must be addressed in a sustainable way to increase the resilience of the global community. This means that by financing and supporting sustainable development globally, developed nations have the ultimate power to end inequity. Supporting mechanisms for this purpose will create a world where all have equal opportunities to minimise the impact of climate change. To this end, developed countries taking leadership in research, development and commercialization of renewable and energy efficient technologies is sufficient to transition global infrastructure to a zero emissions future together than the change in attitudes for the global population. The benefits of technological advancements in such a scenario must be equitably distributed throughout the world, facilitating clean, efficient and sustainable development in vulnerable regions. Through capacity building and transfer of intellectual property, developing countries should be empowered by addressing the gap in needed and existing levels of capacity for technological advancements.
Adaptation – Now or never
The impacts of climate change are disproportionately felt. Those that are most vulnerable also have the least capacity to adapt. Entire populations are threatening with total annihilation. In line with the common but differentiate responsibilities principle, developed countries need to pay the full debt of their historical contribution to climate change and manipulating the use of natural resources of planet earth by facilitating and financing necessary adaptation and mitigatory measures in developing countries. Action must be taken to create new and additional funds that are separate from existing development assistance. The current amount of funding available for adaptation measures in developing countries is completely inadequate, being only a fraction of that required and governed by institutions with a bad record.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) - Plantations are not forests
Forests are more than just trees and carbon. They are living systems which ensures the well being of all living organisms on this green planet. It is essential that deforestation and forest degradation are dramatically reduced in developing countries equitably and rapidly. Degradation is any activity that reduces a forest’s carbon carrying capacity and/or harms biodiversity. Additionally, any definition of deforestation and forest degradation should distinguish between native forest ecosystems and agricultural tree crops, noting that the native forests are more sustainable and efficient and effectiveness in storing carbon and making the planet cooler. Developed countries have a responsibility to provide finance and support for developing countries to take immediate action to avoid deforestation, permanently conserve, and sustainably manage native forests. Priority must be given to protect primary forest caps which are richer in carbon and has amazingly rich biodiversity. REDD accounting must accurately reflect the actual carbon carrying capacity of these forests. Accountability, transparency, and good governance must be required of all participating parties. In addition, developing nations have a responsibility to prevent emissions leakage and to engage their society in all levels of decision-making. The engagement and participation of local and indigenous communities must be guaranteed and are not negotiable. Moreover, the centrality of secure land rights to the REDD conversation cannot be understated. An equitable and effective REDD regime will ensure the security of the land and property of local and Indigenous peoples under the sustainable managing practices of resources. Critically, REDD must be a mechanism for forest conservation and sustainable management for the sake of climate stabilization, not a mechanism for profit. By extension, we reject REDD as an offset mechanism for Annex-1 countries.
Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry - Banking carbons and accounting
Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) accounting and reporting must be mandatory, to ensure that all emissions are accounted for when assessing mitigation progress.
Despite the huge technical difficulties, LULUCF accounting must accurately reflect the actual carbon carrying capacity of standing forests. Also in the vein of accuracy, there should be a distinction between native forest ecosystems and agricultural tree crops, noting that the former has a far greater carbon carrying capacity.
In addition, LULUCF accounting must be structured such that there are strong incentives for protecting natural, bio-diverse, pristine ecosystems. Accountability, transparency, and good governance are essential.
Finally, all land use and forestry measures must engage and empower local and indigenous people to sustainably manage their local resources and maximize benefits to ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Global Financial Crisis - Capitalism fails, again!
The global financial crisis provides a valuable opportunity to reconsider the foundations of our economic structures, and to begin the transition to a sustainable, low emissions future. It is a perfect educate our self’s to what kind of things to come if we follow this mutant globalized and capitalistic paradigm of existence. Major reformations to financial structures in the first world should be coupled with substantial investment in renewable and energy efficient infrastructure which is urgently required, and its implementation will create green jobs that will last beyond the financial crisis. The global financial crisis does not provide an excuse for inaction on climate change. Actually it opened all the close windows and doors to see the world. Action on climate change is urgent, and will remain so for the duration of our lifetimes. As youth, our future quality of life depends on the actions of today. We cannot afford any delay. NOW or NEVER!!!
Youth involvement in COP – No more promises. We need strong action NOW!
Young people offer hope, optimism and vision and the much needed energy and capacity. International youth delegates are the human face of the United Nations, as we will fully experience the future consequences of the actions of older generations. At every COP, we remind governments that they are bargaining with our future, and that their calls for action on climate change must be sincere. Every time we push older generations to go for fair deals.
In order to guarantee a safe climate for generation’s present and future, governments worldwide must act, and act now. Because future generations will either suffer or benefit from decisions made today, it is crucial that young people are involved in shaping these decisions. As a result, we demand that all government delegations to have a youth representation, in order to ensure a tangible youth presence in the most important international negotiations of our known modern history.