Archive for the 'united kingdom' Category
Explaining what happens at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties is difficult at the best of times. Journalists, Civil Society organisations and governments struggle to translate the technical language of international climate policy into understandable public information. Young people can help distill the essence of the negotiations – and sometimes into video form.
In this example, the UK Youth Climate Coalition have summarised the COP16 Cancun talks in this short clip. Surprisingly and depressingly accurate.
This is a guest article written by Shivani Kanodia of the UK Youth Climate Coalition.
The UK General Election will be held on May 6th, less than two weeks away. In the running are the incumbent Labour Party, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats – the party that gains the most seats, will shape Britain’s role in the global effort to solve the climate crisis. Commentators have termed the election outcome as ‘The Last Parliament’, as this group of elected representatives will take the country through to 2015, by when carbon emissions must have peaked.
Young people and activists around the country are working to focus candidates on clean energy, green jobs and climate change. Local hustings are putting parliamentary hopefuls on the spot, as the public ‘Ask the Climate Question‘. It is clear that the leadership in the three main parties understand the issues around sustainability and climate change, but real concerns remain as some local candidates reveal an extraordinary lack of scientific knowledge. A recent internet poll of prominent Conservative bloggers also brought into question the ability of the Tories to explain the benefits of climate action to their own supporters.
It is 6:13 am and in the Bella Conference Center I am listening to the chair of the AOSIS (Association of Small Island States) trying to fight off uncontrollable tears. I am almost certain that the Group of 77 (a behemoth of 130 plus developing country states) is coming to an end. Countries are divided and I am witnessing accusations fly across the plenary. Why has it taken us so long to arrive at this point? We sit here with the “Copenhangen Accord” staring at our faces. It is a document full of hot air and is not what billions of people across the planet had been promised to deliver atmospheric restitution. Once again the developed nations have managed to gain somewhat of an upper hand in the wake of greater sacrifices of the larger developing countries.
That aside, negotiators had feared from day one of the talks that the documents and the process of negotiating would not mature to the point required in order to allow negotiations to move into the high level segment where over 100 Heads of States would come to sign a just climate deal. Their fears were realized. The process has been deeply flawed and the voices of nations regarding lack of transparency, conspiracy to kill off the Kyoto protocol has been true. I often found myself being witness to the injustice within the UNFCCC process (where had I not gone to certain meetings, I would have missed out on joint drafting sessions which I assumed were only scheduled G-77 coordination meetings). Text messages were sent, rooms were changed, information was not available to all.
As politicians and diplomats try to crush expectations from the Copenhagen negotiations next month, young people across the world are stepping up their efforts to preserve the hope of a legally binding, science-based, equitable agreement to secure the survival of all nations and peoples.
Since rising to the task of co-leading the UK Youth Climate Coalition last year, I’ve learnt that when our generation understands what is at stake, and what is necessary to build a safer, better future – we are capable of truly great things. Being more connected, more informed and more savvy than ever before, youth all over the world have unprecedented power to make this a reality. And the bonus of having a good time while doing it? That’s just part of the package!
Amongst those young people making their lives count are 23 individuals from the UK who will be travelling overland to the Copenhagen talks. They will be bringing energy, optimism and a fighting spirit to a process that will surely be remembered with shame in years to come. Their story is being told in parts on youtube, here is the first chapter.
My favourite blog from the last few weeks came from Leela Raina of the Indian Youth Climate Network. Tracking one of the Indian negotiators at the UN negotiations in Bangkok, she came up with eleven cruelly funny reasons for “Why I Shouldn’t Date an Annex-1 Guy”. You can see the full link at
Now I’m a happily married man with three beautiful children, but I still feel the need to defend the good name of at least some of us Annex-1 guys. So I’ve compiled a list of ten good reasons “Why Annex-1 Guys Can Be A Good Date After All” in response to Leela’s:
1. He is not willing to COMMIT.
We’re not afraid of commitments. We Europeans have already opened our hearts, and we’re ready to go even further if shown a little more love. We’re not alone. Our Japanese buddies have shown they’re in the mood for love, and after Bangkok nobody could doubt how serious those Norwegian guys are.
And we’re looking for a long-term relationship. We’re not just after a five year fling, or a relationship that ends in 2020 – we’re offering the best years of our lives, right up to 2050.
By: Adaeze Umolu
Young men and women at the reception and registration desk are in high spirits as UK Powershift 09 has brought hundreds together to tackle our climate future here in London. Irrespective of physical, cultural or social differences, the determination of these young men and woman begs one to wonder if United Kingdom or world leaders can ignore such a movement.
Who knows what it feels like to go hungry for a meal, a day, or a few days? Probably most of us. But who knows what it feels like to go hungry for a week, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks?
Very few of us.
When I think of people going hungry for weeks on end, I think of the people on this planet who are living in drought ridden land which won’t yield the crops they have been waiting for. I think of those people who are thwarted by the changing monsoon patterns who can’t predict when to plant their seeds. I think of people who have been victims to a hurricane or flood and have loss access to food and water. I think of the victims of climate change: past, present and future.
But that’s not all.
When I think of people going hungry for weeks on end I also think of determination, dedication, vision and sacrifice. I think of the hunger strikes lead by Gandhi in India’s fight for independence from a British oppression. I think of civil society rising up and reclaiming their power and asking for what is just, what is right. I think of non-violence, of peace and of love.
And now, I think of the Climate Justice Fast.
If there is anything I’ve learnt is if you want to achieve anything one day, then you are going to have to make that day today.
Many people talk about one day when we’ve stopped dangerous climate change, however again I’m not sure if people realise what it will take politically, technologically, infrastructure wise, values wise. It will require a whole new type of thinking, a whole new heart, a whole new world.
That one day needs to start today.
We will only make these changes if we start living our day to day lives in the way we want to change the world. Through our physical actions, our values, our choices as active consumers, citizens and community members. If we start this today, then one day our children and grandchildren will look to us with gratitude. Just as young Indians today honour the generation that struggled for our independence, and Westerners pay their respects to the enormous sacrifices made during the great wars, one day we too will be thanked, for doing whatever it took to ensure that our descendants on this earth could have dreams of their own.
However I know that to achieve extraordinary results, we must be willing to do extraordinary things. To inspire a generation, we ourselves must be inspirational. We cannot afford to wait around for miracles. We must be the change we need to see. Continue reading ‘If we want to stop climate change one day…’
The most common question I’ve been asked since returning to Halifax from the Bonn climate talks, which ended last Friday, is, “What was the most inspirational thing that happened?”
The United Kingdom’s emissions are dropping year by year. China has committed $600 billion into green technology. There were 100 passionate young people present, ensuring the presence of another generation was seen and heard. The United States is fully participating at the negotiating table. Rich and polluting countries support the science that a 25 to 40% emission cut below 1990 levels by 2020 is completely necessary, and that we may need to go even farther.
Inspirational notes aside, the resounding feeling coming away from the talks, is the deep rumbling craving for one simple attribute: Ambition.
Don’t get me wrong, the Bonn climate talks certainly moved forwards – like how my little sister moves forwards out of bed to the kitchen for breakfast at 6am. I want the negotiators to rush to their United Nations meeting desks with an ambitious level of tenacity, focus, and recognition of opportunity – because, the climate knows, we need it.
What is it that is missing? How can a driving desire for success be created? Is there a deeper level of emotion that needs unearthing? Do governments crave praise? Support? Love? Good will? Public demand? Is there more incentive needed? I’ve adopted Canada’s negotiators. And I’m fiercely concerned about our country’s position based on the past 2 weeks.