Saturday, December 8, 2012
UN Climate Talks in Make or Break Deadlock: Youth Still Fighting
The United Nations climate change negotiations (COP18 of the UNFCCC) in Doha lie in a critical deadlock tonight as the talks extend long past their planned deadline. Talks paused for the evening around 03:45 local time, with ministerial talks continuing through the night and the plenary scheduled to restart at 07:30.
Despite the late hour, young people from around the world attending the conference have kept the pressure on world leaders. At 03:30am, youth stood behind ‘red lines’ outside the plenary halls, chanting in unison a reference to an emotional address by the lead Philippine negotiator delivered on Thursday: “If not us, who? If not now, when? If not here, where? If not justice, nothing.” The action was a direct response to a call for civil society back up from developing nations, who have found themselves ignored and bullied into submission at COP18. Youth indicated their solidarity with developing nations, that have contributed the least to global carbon emissions and are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, chanting: “Developing countries, we stand behind your red lines”.
Sarah Arnold, coordinator of the UK Youth Climate Coalition delegation to the climate change negotiations, said: “At this stage the final text isn’t even published, but it does not look good. We are making clear to developed nations: no justice, no deal. We are standing behind the nations most vulnerable to climate change, directly responding to their requests for assistance in resisting the bullying and coercion of developed nations. If this text is not just, we will support nations to reject it. There is no point jeopardising the 2013 talks by forcing them to work from a weak text.”
Jamie Peters, a member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition’s delegation to the negotiations, said: “Quite frankly, youth are looking to call out the bullshit in these talks. Mitigation action was off the table months ago, finance has all but vanished in the last few weeks and loss and damage appears to be collapsing before us as we speak. The collapse of this text on loss and damage, which compensates nations that suffer the consequences of climate change without having caused it themselves, is intolerable. It is scandalous that developed nations are seeking to renegotiate a 20 year old agreement. The usual suspects are blocking progress – the USA in particular – but it is worrying to see the EU failing to take any meaningful leadership at this critical stage. If we do not see progress in Doha in the next 12 hours, this will be a victory for the developed nations and corporate lobbyists that have consistently sought to obstruct the talks.”
The emotional address made on Thursday by Naderev “Yeb” Sano, commissioner of the Philippines Climate Change Commission and the island nations’ lead negotiator at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, has received international attention. At the end of his speech Sano broke into tears, saying: “I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino… I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Civil Society Urges Developing Countries to Stand as Bloc and Refuse Weak Deal
DOHA, Qatar – Today, civil society groups issued a strong demand to developing countries, asking them to stand as a bloc, uphold their red lines and refuse any deal which locks-in inaction.
“I am here because we are in the red. The climate is in the red. This process is in the red, and those countries facing the brunt of our changed climate are out of time for talk,” said Cameron Fenton of the Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD).
The action was led by CYD, Earth in Brackets, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), SustainUS and Young Friends of the Earth with the support and participation from social movements, farmers’ organizations, civil society groups, faith-based organizations, youth, indigenous peoples, NGOs and networks present at COP18.
The group highlighted the three bottom line demands as:
· Ambition: A minimum of 40-50% domestic emissions cuts, based on 1990 levels, by 2020. Match your pledges to the Carbon Budget.
· Finance: Adequate, scaled up, new & additional public finance that matches the needs of those most impacted. Not crumbs.
· Justice: An international mechanism on loss & damage established here & now.
These three bottom line demands are what civil society sees as necessary for a successful outcome of COP18.
“We stand with the developing countries. We believe that equity means standing up for the world’s most at risk. And we believe that the only way to defend equity is for the G77 to be unified in their numbers,” said Anjali Appadurai of Earth in Brackets.
Minsters and delegates from the Group of 77 (G77) and other developing country political groups joined civil society and called on support from them to refuse and condemn an inequitable deal.
“Our strength lies with your strength,” said Naderev Saño, Vice Minister from the Philippines to civil society organizations.
Today in a closing plenary statement, Saño thanked the civil society for standing in solidarity with the Philippines in yesterday’s action.
Concerned Youth Call For Countries to “Finance Our Future”
Doha, Qatar – Youth today called on countries to scale up climate finance and ensure that efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation deliver benefits for the climate, people and forests.
A giant human tree was constructed on the floor of the Qatar National Convention Centre, where the international UN climate change negotiations have entered their second week. A banner with the words ‘Finance Our Future’ formed the ‘trunk’ of the tree. The leaves of the tree bore a range of messages to negotiators, including the protection of indigenous rights and addressing the drivers of deforestation, representing a strong display of solidarity.
“Deforestation and forest degradation contributes to around 17% of human-induced climate change and requires a concerted global effort to halt and reverse it,” said Samuel Lang, New Zealand Youth Delegation spokesperson.
“While there is a range of perspectives on how deforestation should be addressed, we must ensure the ability of forest communities to adapt, and that the drivers of deforestation are addressed. You cannot protect the forests without protecting the people. We need increased climate financing across the board from developed countries to achieve this,” he asserted.
“A sole focus on carbon represents a missed opportunity. By bringing attention to the non-carbon benefits of forests, we create the opportunity to realise much broader goals that enhance livelihoods, biodiversity and reduce the impacts of climate change”.
Countries are currently negotiating whether to initiate a work stream on the non-carbon benefits of forest protection. The establishment of this work stream would be a significant step towards addressing non-carbon benefits at the global scale.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Youth Groups Support Developing Countries in Climate Talks with Solidarity Action
December 5 – DOHA, Qatar – Today, youth groups issued a strong demand to governments across the world at the UN climate conference.
The youth groups from every continent stood in solidarity with the world’s poorest people, who are most at risk from the current and projected impacts of climate change.
The Filipino minister, Lucille Sering, held a somber tone at the action, in light of the devastating super-typhoon that has left over 80 people dead in her home country.
“We stand behind the countries who have voiced their rejection of false solutions and a dirty deal here in Doha. The deal on the table, which they are being bullied into accepting is a suicide pact for their people,” said Julian Velez, from Mexico and a student of the College of the Atlantic.
“We stand here today not only as members of a silenced civil society, not only as representatives of our various organizations, but as human beings standing in solidarity with the suffering and loss caused by a lack of political will and inaction,” Velez said.
A call-and-response song of resistance lead by Neelam Khare of the Canadian Youth Delegation accompanied the action.
Youth are drawing attention to super-typhoon Bopha, the 16th extreme weather event to affect the Philippines this year and a reminder that climate change is affecting people now.
Khare said, “we stand behind the countries who have experienced, are experiencing and will experience these devastating effects and who continue to hold out for a deal that will provide them with basic human rights and dignity at the international level.”
Youth condemn the inaction reflected in the current standings of negotiations by blank pages of text and a lack of serious emission cuts both inside and outside of the Kyoto Protocol.
Youth also supported the G77 in their strong position to create a mechanism on loss and damage. A mechanism that would help address negative impacts from climate change in developing countries, impacts such as typhoon Bopha or sea level rise. This mechanism is mainly being blocked by one developed country, the United States.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Young people join Oxfam to call for a Financial Transactions Tax to fund action on climate change in poor countries
Doha, Qatar – At the start of the second week of the UN climate negotiations in Qatar, young climate activists from around the world joined with Oxfam to call for countries to adopt a Financial Transactions Tax or ‘Robin Hood’ tax to help fund climate finance efforts, including through the Green Climate Fund. Costumed activists held coloured signs in different languages urging country delegates to show leadership with this innovative revenue stream.
Twelve EU Member States are set to implement the tax next year, including Germany, France and Italy. On December 4th EU finance ministers will meet in Brussels where they could discuss how much revenue from the tax could go towards climate financing.
With the Green Climate Fund still empty and no concrete commitments on the table for climate financing from 2013 to 2020, an announcement to use a portion of the revenues from the FTT in Europe would give the Doha talks a major boost.
Tim Gore, climate change policy advisor at Oxfam, said:
“Poor countries are facing a climate fiscal cliff, with no certainty over how much money they can expect next year and in the years up to 2020, or where it will come from. On the table in Europe is one ready-made solution – a financial transactions tax.”
“The 12 EU countries that will implement this tax next year should announce in Doha that they will allocate 25% of the revenues to the Green Climate Fund. That would turn the banking crisis in Europe into an opportunity for poor people on the front lines of climate change, and give a welcome boost to the UN climate talks.”
Laurence Watson, a climate activist from the UK Youth Climate Coalition said: “Developed countries have committed $100 billion per year by 2020 in climate finance to help poor countries adapt to climate change and to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Yet they have shown little to make us confident they will deliver on the promise of this desperately needed money. New revenues from a Financial Transaction Tax are a no brainer in terms of climate finance – we need to see real leadership now!”
Young Americans Call Out Obama’s Lack of Leadership on Climate at UN Conference
Doha, Qatar – It’s been less than one month since a newly re-elected Barack Obama took to a stage in Chicago and declared to the world, “We want our children to live in an America….that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” This morning, at the COP18 United Nations Climate Change Talks, the US President came under sharp criticism from young Americans for not doing enough to make that desire a reality. The young activists displayed a banner citing the President’s own words and juxtaposed them with a list of the administration’s failures to lead on climate.
Hannah Bristol, a student at Middlebury College in Vermont, reflected, “Young people understand the science of climate change and what it means for the world we ‘re going to inherit. Personally, I spent the last five months working as a field organizer for President Obama’s re-election campaign in New Hampshire. Like a lot of my fellow organizers, I wanted to give the President another chance to live up to his promise of making America a world leader in developing clean energy and tackling climate change. I think that’s what a lot of young people wanted when they cast ballots that decided crucial swing states like Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. We voted for bold climate leadership and so far all we’ve seen is a lot of hot air.”
The UN climate negotiations have been ongoing for eighteen years and have thus far failed to reach a globally binding deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with a safe and stable climate system. Many critics have blamed the US for the lack of progress citing weak commitments and a refusal to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
In the lead up to this round of negotiations many observers were hoping for signs of change from the US. Recent polling by Yale and George Mason universities show that prolonged Midwestern droughts and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy have dramatically increased public concern about climate change and support for clean energy legislation. Recent reports from bodies including the World Bank and International Energy agency have pointed out that without dramatic and immediate action to reduce emissions it will be next to impossible to prevent human and economic costs in the area of hundreds of millions of lives and hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars over the course of the next fifty years. Prominent US politicians from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to the President himself have been vocal about the need for increased ambition, but observers in Doha are seeing no such thing.
Zach Swank, a green business consultant from Boulder, Colorado tried hard to remain patient, “Here in Doha, the US delegation keeps pointing to various domestic initiatives like the increase in auto mileage standards. While these initiatives are steps in the right direction, they are baby steps compared to the action that is required. In Copenhagen the US pledged to reduce emissions 17% by 2020. The best science out there makes clear that we need 85% reductions by 2050. If a plan has been formulated, it should be publicized to create public buy-in and demonstrate transparency. If a plan has not been developed, one has to wonder how serious the 17% pledge is. Any goal without an action plan remains just a lofty goal. Hope is not a strategy.”
Kate Catlin, a student at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington added, “The administration cannot continue to hide behind the legislative branch as an excuse not to use executive authority. We keep hearing our negotiators say that they can’t bring a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty back to congress. We’re here to say that they have no reasonable alternative. Negotiate for a meaningful treaty and you can count on America’s young people to fight hard for ratification. Our futures are on the line.”
Youth to UN: “Do The Math: Fossil Fuel Money Is Undermining Democracy And Our Futures”
Youth activists confront fossil fuel companies for undermining climate progress and funding disinformation
Doha, Qatar – Early this morning youth from around the world lined the moving sidewalks that carry negotiators from security checkpoints into the plenary halls of the 18th round of United Nations climate talks. Thus far fingers have been pointed at a number of different countries for blocking progress toward a meaningful international agreement on reducing greenhouse emissions to levels that would minimize disruption of the climate system and subsequent threats to people and property. The youth demonstration this morning sought to point out an important character operating behind the scenes, multinational fossil fuel corporations.
Rather than chanting slogans, the activists stood silently holding signs that highlighted some of the math behind why and how fossil fuel companies have spent enormous sums of money to undermine the credibility of climate science and block legislation that would enable industrialized countries to reduce emissions to levels consistent with internationally agreed upon targets.
Hannah Bristol, a student at Middlebury College in the US, explained, “People need to understand that big oil doesn’t act with their interests in mind. All the best science agrees that the world economy can only burn 565 gigatons more carbon between now and mid-century if we want a decent chance of keeping average global temperature increases below two degrees celsius and avoiding catastrophic disruption of the climate system. The global fossil fuel industry is banking on burning all of the 2795 gigatons of carbon they have in their reserves, five times the safe amount. It’s a question of keeping the stuff in the ground and writing off those assets or burning it and writing off our future.”
The concept of a 565 gigaton carbon budget is an area of broad consensus amongst climate scientists and has been supported by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change. The calculation of carbon in proven reserves comes from the Carbon Tracker Initiative – led by James Leaton, an environmentalist who served as an adviser at accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. The analysis is also supported by the International Energy Agency’s most recent World Energy Outlook report, and has become a central argument behind the wave of fossil fuel divestment campaigns that have sprung up on over 100 college and university campuses across North America.
Neelam Khare, a student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada added to the discussion, “Fossil fuel companies have been shockingly successful at buying our democracies and selling out my generation and those who will come after me. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every day on lobbying, millions on their own PR, and millions to fund think tanks that publish denialist junk science despite a 99.8% consensus in peer reviewed literature that climate change is a real and serious problem.
In Canada their influence has grown so strong that it extends to foreign policy. They have colluded with the government to undermine European fuel standards and even given their rubber stamp to Canadian negotiating positions for summits such as this.”
Many activists from outside North America also took part in the demonstration to show their support. Abdulla Saif a young Bahraini with the Arab Youth Climate Movement explained his participation, “I am from the Arab Gulf where oil production makes up the lion’s share of economic activity. Our movement is pushing for diversification because we understand that fossil fuels aren’t the energy sources of the future, but progress is inherently slow. Countries like the US and Canada, which contribute much higher levels of emissions than the Gulf States, could more easily lead the global transition to clean energy if only their politics weren’t so polluted by industry money.”
Thursday, November 29, 2012
“Thanks for Counting Us Out” Youth Tell UN Climate Talks on Young & Future Generations Day Deliver a message of urgency and say “No Thanks” to Business as Usual
Doha, Qatar – This afternoon youth from all around the world gathered at the 18th round of United Nations climate talks to call out negotiators and international leaders for their political inaction. Coming together on Young and Future Generations Day, they unveiled a sarcastic “Thanks” banner as negotiators entered plenary sessions.
“The planet has already warmed to one degree, and the United Nations process continues to fail to deliver the outcomes our generations needs,” said Sophia McNab from the UK Youth Climate Coalition. “This action highlights that what happens here in Doha has real impacts on youth today, and determines what kind of world future generations will inherit – a just, sustainable and equitable world, or one that is unpredictable, dangerous and unjust.”
The action began with youth holding signs thanking negotiators for ambitious targets, significant climate financing, the principals of equity, justice and ambition and more. The signs were then flipped to reveal the real positions of the big polluting developed nations: weak targets, the removal of equity, insufficient funding for adaptation and more.
“The UN is not living up to its own mission and mandate to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees,” said Lovisa Muyderman of Australia, here with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. “Instead it is delivering half measures, mistakes and a mess that our generation will have to live with and attempt to clean up.”
The “Thanks” banner was then extended to read “No Thanks”, a message to negotiators that youth were rejecting business as usual politics here in Doha.
“The fact that the UN process has failed to deliver after this long, frankly, is an insult to youth and future generations,” said Julian Velez, a Mexican youth and COP18 delegate with [Earth]. “Big polluting corporations and developed countries are being allowed to contaminate this process at the expense of people. This is wrong and we sent the simplest answer we could: No more.”
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
“I Can’t Stop Fighting For My Future” Young People From Around The World Share Their Climate Change Stories In The Calls of COP18
As the first days of the UN’s COP18 Climate Talks crept forward at the Qatar National Convention Center, young people from around the world filled the hallways to remind negotiators of the human face and urgency of the climate crisis.
In a display reminiscent of many of the youth-led protest movements that have swept the world in recent years, a large crowd of young climate change activists seated themselves on the floor outside a block of meeting rooms and took turns standing up to tell their first hand stories of growing up vulnerable to a disrupted climate system.
Standing in front of a map covered in red dots representing recent extreme weather events, speakers from Nepal, Mexico, Taiwan, Colombia, Nigeria, and the United States wore red dots pinned to their shirts in reference to the dots on the map.
As Mexican college student Julian Velez put it, “We are here to urge the countries of the world to connect the dots…there has been lack of ambition, justice, and equity from the countries that have done the most to bring us to this moment.”
Although no one weather event can be blamed on climate change, recent increases in the strength and frequency of floods, droughts, and other disasters, as well as the unprecedented melting of arctic sea ice, are widely understood to be the consequences of a one degree Celsius increase in average global temperatures above pre-industrial levels.
One of the strongest points of unity in the UN climate talks has been that temperature rise must not exceed two degrees. Recent reports from the World Bank, IPCC, and DARA Climate Vulnerability monitor suggest that without a dramatic transition to a low-carbon economy a two degree rise is likely well before mid-century. This temperature risk will result in catastrophic consequences for food security, coastal regions, public health, economic growth, and the overall habitability of a heavily populated planet.
Tzu-Yuan Mao, 18, of the island nation of Taiwan, discussed how flooding in her country in 2010 shut down her school, costing her country’s economy billions, and destroyed her single-father’s fishing business. Her message to the world’s governments was clear, “Stop bargaining, stop negotiating for our future. It’s your duty to save our world.”
Amanda Nesheiwat, 23, spoke about her experience as the environmental coordinator for the Town of Secacus, New Jersey, USA. She discussed how despite America’s wealth, her community was still struggling to recover from the enormous human, economic, and infrastructural damage of Hurricane Sandy. She observed that the storm had given a new sense of urgency to American climate politics and hoped that this would cause the Obama administration to pursue a more ambitious stance on reducing emissions and securing a meaningful global treaty. As she put it, “Any country that cares about its economy should care about its climate legacy.”
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Youth Stress Urgency With Which Post-Kyoto Agreement Must Be Formulated
In Durban last year, Parties to the Convention established the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) in order to begin negotiating a legally binding deal for the post-2020 period. Today, Amena Adel, aged 19, from Egypt represented the global youth constituency (YOUNGO) at the opening of the ADP plenary during the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha. She stressed, inter alia, the urgency with which Parties had to come together to craft a credible and strengthened work plan, in order not to lose the momentum and progress of the last 5 years.
“The outcome of the ADP must strengthen the convention; equity, common but differentiated responsibilities, and historical responsibilities are essential.” These were Amena’s exact words as she cautioned Parties against re-negotiating an agreement similar to that of the Kyoto Protocol – there had to be a closing of the ambition gap in the new agreement, in order to avoid being catapulted into a 4-degree world come 2020. Additionally, it was the consensus of YOUNGO that the work under the Bali Road Map, comprising the Bali Action Plan, should not be abandoned.
In her closing statements to negotiators, she urged them to take action, in pleading, “Do not cheat us out of our future by making false promises and avoiding responsibility.” We must see effort being made to work towards an effective, multilateral climate change regime post-Kyoto, with enhanced mitigation ambition, or risk exacerbating anthropogenic climate change and facing the catastrophic consequences of such dithering.
Negotiators, shoulder the responsibility of crafting a comprehensive, equitable agreement. It is now, or never.
Youth Address AWG-KP Plenary, Highlighting Interconnected Health of Humans and Climate
Today Rennie Qin, a representative from the international youth climate movement (YOUNGO) delivered an intervention at the AWG-KP plenary session; with the expiration of the first commitment period, focus has turned early into the conference onto the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol. Youth from both signatory and non-signatory countries want to see parties pledging high reductions targets, and for the importance of KP2 as a bridge between pre- and post-2020 action on climate change to be recognised. Some youth feel that their countries are relying too heavily on the upcoming Durban Platform to be the key tool for combatting climate change and that the urgency of the issue is not likely to be a focal point in negotiations.
Rennie, a medical student from China currently studying in New Zealand, highlighted that while governments have spent her whole life negotiating, she has spent hers preparing to care for the health of people, and that negotiators must take after youth in becoming the carers for our futures. She stated that “the Earth, like its people, is also sick from the effects of climate change. Dear negotiators, you are the doctors for the Earth. In the next seven years, you have the unique opportunity of preserving a healthy world, the opportunity to keep this fever of the Earth below 1.5 degrees, and the opportunity to set a clear mandate into the next global agreement.”
Furthermore, Rennie made it clear that youth want the Kyoto Protocol to transition seamlessly from one commitment period to the next, onto a much fairer, more ambitious path. The transparency and legally binding nature of the protocol was also put to a test, with Rennie stating that loopholes, such as carry over of AAUs, are to be closed should signatory parties want to keep their standing in the international community and reach a stable climate. As the intervention came to a finish, Rennie made it clear that Kyoto is not yet history, but still relevant today, and that it should continue to be so, finally stating that the international community needs to make Kyoto count for the health of our future generations.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Young People To World Leaders at COP18: Your Climate Legacy Shapes The World We Inherit.
On Monday morning, negotiators from around the world poured into the Qatar National Conference Center for the first day of the COP18 United Nations Climate Talks, prepared for a long day of speeches on the technical details of multilateral environmental diplomacy. However, as they traveled down the moving walkway between security and the plenary hall they were confronted with the human face of climate change.’
Young people from around the world had flanked the walkway holding signs in multiple languages that reminded negotiators of the terrifying consequences that runaway greenhouse gas emissions have already begun imposing on people and the planet; droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, desertification, rising seas, biodiversity loss, and more. At the bottom of each sign the youth posed the question “Will This Be Your #ClimateLegacy?”
The demonstration was intended to remind negotiators that the decisions they made at this conference, and over the next several years, will decide the kind of world today’s young people will grow up in.
The emissions reduction commitments already made, especially by developed economies like the US and Canada, are woefully insufficient to prevent an average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius by mid-century, a threshold beyond which scientists and economists warn that catastrophic consequences to public health and the world economy are extremely likely.
At a press conference held in parallel to the COP18 opening plenary, five young people from different countries sat in front of a map prepared at the Eighth Annual Conference of Youth last weekend covered in red dots representing young people’s first hand stories of growing up vulnerable to a disrupted climate and told their own stories about facing these impacts.
Jane Nurse, a college student from Grenada opened the session with strong words, “Today we are talking about how climate impacts are already upon us. We are in a state of planetary emergency and we are not anymore just talking about abstract things…we need to have higher ambition, we need to get rid of the stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry, and we really, really need to make deep cuts to keep our world to the two degree target.”
Ahmed Yaseen, spoke as a representative of youth from The Maldives, a republic of small islands in The Indian Ocean that is currently being swallowed by rising seas. He pointed out that the gradual disappearance of his country was not even the most urgent problem they faced from climate change, saying “we are a country that imports 90% of our daily requirements of food and everything else from other countries. Extreme whether conditions in all parts of the world effect our economy and our daily lives.”
From Qatar’s neighbor Oman Sarah Al Harthy recalled ““In 2007, when a cyclone hit us, it was so sudden and we never anticipated such a thing. Even when the alerts came two days before, no one really took it seriously…It was a real eye opener to many people. I’m asking the Arab world to actually make the pledge. As part of AYCM [Arab Youth Climate Movement], I’m really hoping that this will be something all Arab leaders will look at and consider seriously.”
Pin-han Huang from the island nation of Taiwan discussed the 2009 typhoon that ravaged her home country, “It’s hard to imagine, people around us were impacted so directly by climate change. It comes to be a serious question about climate refugees and who can stand for us…2 degrees: we can live. 4 degree: we will really suffer. We are here to call for the world please take action now. Time is ticking.”
From Nepal, Rajan Thapa was quick and direct with his plea to the world’s richest economies pointing out that while his country had done almost nothing to contribute to climate change his people were already suffering, The people are fighting for water, the people are fighting food. Our glaciers are melting. our snow is melting and if the process continues, we can’t ensure that there will be snow in our mountains.”
Mike Sandmel, originally from New York City in the USA, pointed to the ways in which extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy was finally starting to drive a sense of urgency and a call for action on climate change in the US. He pointed to Barack Obama’s re-election speech in which The President declared “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t…threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”
Sandmel also highlighted grassroots efforts to hold Obama accountable to his rhetoric saying “We need to pressure him constantly and ask the President whose side he is on. Does he stand with big oil and their money or with young people in the US and around the world.”