Youth climate activists take a stand at UN talks in Bonn

• June 10, 2014
youth climate activists

Youth activists played “Game of Climate” at the Bonn climate talks. Creative Commons: Adopt a Negotiator, 2014

Youth climate activists have been making their voice heard in Bonn this weekend, calling on the negotiators in Germany and governments around the world to take swift, ambitious action towards a new global climate treaty in 2015.

In the halls of the Bonn Intersessional on Sunday, a group of young activist from across the world performed ‘Game of Climate: March is Coming‘ – ensuring they were part of the debate on how we get to a deal in Paris in 2015.

Playing on the popular TV show Game of Thrones, the young campaigners held banners showing the criteria countries must pass through to reach the ‘Climate Throne’ (a new deal in Paris), waiting behind ‘the wall’.

Delegations in Bonn are currently negotiating what kind of contributions countries will make for the new treaty.

Anton Jaekel, a member of Federation of Young European Greens said:

At COP19 developed countries push for “contribution” instead of “commitments” for the new treaty. With this, they showed how unimportant the climate crisis is being seen by them. Even if the word changed, we still have high expectations for the content.

To have a truly ambitious global deal, countries must not reduce their emissions by offsetting. The climate crisis is global, but the pollutants are pollutions are more national. Therefore the [contributions] need to include domestic emission reductions.

The young activists also crowned their first climate champions in Bonn, including negotiators from the Philippines, Fiji and Peru.

These three countries have stood out, they say, for calling for country contributions for the 2015 deal to be equitable, allow for no backsliding on ambition and to contain a long term commitment to new zero emissions.

youth climate activists

Creative Commons: Adopt a Negotiator, 2014

The young campaigners urge Parties to not include a commitment to phasing out carbon in their pledges, but also commitments on finance and participatory processes.

Louisa Casson from the UK Youth Climate Coalition added:

We need ambitious carbon reductions, but an ambitious deal goes beyond this. Ambition is always strongly related to equity. For us, equity applies not only to north-south or gender issues. Climate change will determine the rest of our lives. Therefore an equitable must consider intergenerational equity. We need solutions that work for future generations, not just in the short-term.

Young climate campaigners from the UK have also been putting the pressure on their climate and energy ministers while in Bonn this weekend.

After claims, reported by the BBC, that the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) were ignorant of the high level ministerial taking place in Bonn over two days last week, the UK Youth Climate Coalition responded in a open letter outlining DECC’s previous acknowledgement of the existence of the ministerial, and their failure to respond to youth invitations to attend the meeting.

The letter read:

It is clear that DECC were aware. We know this because, at two previous climate talks, all governments agreed to send a minister to Germany.  After hearing rumours that our Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, would not be attending the ministerial, UK youth sent invitations via phone, Twitter and personal delivery.  A DECC spokesperson subsequently confirmed awareness of the ministerial but would not confirm Ed Davey’s attendance.

So you are left with two options. Either you stand by this claim of ignorance of the ministerial, which shows a horrific lack of organisational skills or you admit that you were aware but simply chose not to attend.

It also highlights how the UN ministerial was agreed by all countries at the last UN Climate Talks and that the UK’s lack of attendance shows poor leadership and questions the sincerity of DECC’s commitment to the global deal in Paris.

Tara Wight, UKYCC delegate said, “It must be embarrassing for the government to have less knowledge of the ministerial than UK youth.”


Comments (1)

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  1. Luke Kemp says:

    Great to see that YOUNGO is staying productive in Bonn! Great work everyone and good to see a mention of Inteq :) !! Although, I’m not sure what negotiations Anton was watching in Warsaw: it was China and India who pushed for the language of “contributions” over “commitments”, not developed countries (even the US was surprisingly silent about this issue). To the contrary, it was actually the EU who was battling the hardest to prevent that regression in language.

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