December 21, 2008
Today was a good day, so good that when it came to catching sight of the Observer headline I jumped in so much joy that my weekend newspaper fell face first in a muddy puddle. That didn’t “dampen my day” though – ho ho ho. No, today was the day that real, learned, aware climatologists were appointed advisor’s to the next president of the US and not agents selected from Exxon Mobil. So without getting too over excited, things are continuing to look up across the pond.
In his own words:
“Today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation. “It’s time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and … worked to restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology.”
December 19, 2008
Silence. I’m beginning to think this is the most apt word to describe what happens in the UNFCCC
The UN process is falling desperately short of where it needs to be – and the biggest problem we have over the next year is voicing these problems to gain public awareness. the most shocking revelation I have had over the past two weeks is the way in which the United Nations works. The United Nations – a title that suggests we are together, united in name and united in action. But the United Nations has become a chess game, where the white pieces are made of Kings and Queens and the blacks of pawns. The voices of small island states, indigenous peoples and developing countries are no where to be heard, and those that stand by these nations – the youth in particular, have been silenced in exactly the same way.
Where does this leave us? This leaves us a year. Just one year to really pull ourselves together -so I’m going to make a massive plea for help.
It appears if we’re going to get anything done it’s going to be through the UNFCCC, as it’s extremely unlikely individual countries are going to be pushed hard enough by themselves to turn around their energy sourcing. If you’re a climate campaigner, or just interested in how our world is governed and the awful things that go on behind closed doors then please get in touch! The UKYCC is looking for bodies to start moving towards Copenhagen – this is really it, and we really need you!
In one year we can do this. Or more, we have to do this.
December 19, 2008
So here we are, back in the safety of my own home. The banners around COP will have surely been brought down well before the end of this week, and Poznan will return to its small town self – almost naive to the fact that one of the most important negotiations of our time had taken place just 5 days ago.
I’ve taken the decision to not express too much of my opinion of COP. From the general NGO circuit there is disappointment in the outcome, but then we were told to expect this. The realisation and knowledge i have gained over the past month has only strengthened my urge to do something over the next year. The UKYD as a whole have committed themselves to working up to Copenhagen by mobilising, educating and engaging young people not only around the UK and EU, but internationally alongside other International Youth delegates.
My absence from this blog is a result of the much expected insanity that ensued over the end of last weekend. In short, the final week was overtaken with organising Warsaw, proposing our REDD intervention, briefing the UKYD but mostly it was spent in very late night meetings with other young people discussing at length what on earth we could do to overcome the blatant lack of energy and urgency that is so desperately needed to get these talks moving.
and so we came up with this.
December 11, 2008
I am writing to you as I sit on the floors of the main plenary halls on Friday 11th December 12.30pm.
At exactly 12.03 pm, the main plenary hall where the opening of the high level negotiations had begun, the lights dimmed to a romantic hue, and the projector screens displayed warming images of deer, rabbits, ducks and other such cute wildlife. How odd, How odd indeed! And if this wasn’t bizarre enough, in the top left hand corner of the plenary hall, that holds over 2000 people, a fully suited symphony orchestra struck up their chords and began to serenade the crowd with their soothing rhythms.
I mean, ofcourse they have time for a little concerto – we’ve only been waiting ten days for these talks to get going, we’ve only got a year to ensure we have a strong and effective climate deal, we’re only about a million miles away from where we need to be. Yes, dear Lord, please, play some more music! Im sure that within a day and a half we will be able to backtrack and resolve these hideously pointless discussions to something more amenable.
Or maybe they know, as much as we are beginning to realise, that these talks have pushed us to nowhere.
But now I say that, and the lights have been brought back up and the stage is occupied by the Environment minister of Grenada, who is speaking of the long term vision of small island states.
He speaks of 350 ppm CO2 eq
He speaks of keeping temperature increase to lower the 1.5 degrees
He speaks of equity and an understanding of the historic responsibility that Annex-1 countries have to the global south.
These are words that we need to hear.
Maybe if we can speak them louder, more often and with as much fortitude as we can muster, we will see something incredible happen over the next year.
December 11, 2008
We had a surprise guest rock up at our team meeting last night.
December 10, 2008
We do these little things in the house we’re staying in in Poznan called Warm and fuzzzies, which are notes left in our individual envelopes that are supposed to keep us feeling happy incase we are getting down. Its really lovely actually, gettting a little pick me up on a down day – especially when Basia decides to fill them with chocolates instead!
But today my warm and fuzzzy came through to me by email, from another youth delegate from Canada who I have been working with a lot over the past week. He sums up to the whole group all the amazing things we have managed to do today – so I just wanted to share it as it says everything I would want to say, but in a much better way!
What an awesome day!
Young people met with Patchauri, called EU heads of state, had
interviews, blogged, planned actions, met with Nicholas Stern,
delivered a postcard to Peggy Wong, found countless nations and had
them commit to safeguarding the survival of all countries and peoples.
And that’s only the things I remember…I can’t imagine what else was
accomplished today! But we also delivered two speeches, which I am
The interventions were delivered this afternoon in the LCA and SBSTA
groups. I would like to say a big thank you!! to everyone who was
involved in the drafting, re-drafting, editing, and delivering of
these amazing and incredibly well-received speeches.
Hanna received a round of applause in the LCA at 4pm.
Guppi, Marcie, and Josh were greeted with stunned silence after their
SBSTA speech brought delegates back to reality on the dangers of REDD.
Two speeches, and two very different responses.
But both had a significant impact, and it proves to the delegates
again that youth know their stuff, write damn good speeches, mean
every single word of them, and must be consulted in this process.
I can feel the momentum building everyone, and I am so proud to be a
part of this movement that is transcending national borders, bringing
so many amazing people together, and pushing the whole world in the
Thanks for all that you have done, and will continue to do.
December 10, 2008
In exactly two hours I, along with two others from the REDD Policy Working group from the International Youth Delegation will be presenting our vision for an effective and just REDD mechanism under the post-2012 deal that will come out of Copenhagen. We will be speaking to the Subsidiary Body for Science and Technological Advice (SBSTA) who will make recommendations to the UNFCCC on how REDD should be implemented as a Clean Development Mechanism.
As I have stated in previous posts, as international youth we are determined that indigenous people’s rights are heard throughout this process and that any deal includes the preservation of biodiversity in ancient pristine forests.
And now you lucky guys get to read what we are about the present – wish us luck! I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
On behalf of the International Youth Delegation, thank you for this opportunity.
It is well known that forests play a critical role in regulating carbon in the atmosphere. But they are also the home and source of the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people. They protect our watersheds, regulate water flow and disease, and recycle nutrients. Their contribution to the world’s biodiversity is unparalleled.
We cannot continue to view forests in a utilitarian, compartmentalized, reductionist manner. Forests are more than trees and carbon. Forests are life.
Given the crucial roles played by forests, the International Youth Delegation has been closely monitoring the negotiations surrounding REDD. We are encouraged to see that REDD is a priority here in Poznan, but are gravely concerned about certain proposed features and omissions within the REDD mechanism and the weak recommendations SBSTA has made to the UNFCCC.
Any REDD mechanism must be first and foremost a mechanism for forest protection and climate stabilization, not a mechanism by which Annex-I countries avoid domestic mitigation actions. An offset mentality and massive corporate profits are not, and should not be, the aims of this scheme. Buying a plantation in a developing nation cannot replace genuine reductions at the source of emissions – in nations like mine.
Going back to first principles, it is vital that the UNFCCC definition of forests be changed to exclude woody-crop plantations. They store less carbon, less securely and less permanently. We are truly astounded that this seemingly obvious point requires comment. The conversion of natural forests to plantations is deforestation, pure and simple. The perverse outcomes of the Kyoto definition have shown us that. Moreover, forest degradation should be wholistically defined as any loss of carbon carrying capacity or any harm to biodiversity.
Critically, a REDD mechanism must clarify and strengthen the land tenure rights of local and indigenous peoples, not further degrade them. It was shocking to hear yesterday that some nations here – my own included – wanted to negotiate away the rights of first peoples. Our message on Human Rights Day is that these rights are non-negotiable.
Representatives of indigenous peoples have come all the way to Poznan to speak with you here. Why should they wait until February 15 to submit this recommendation to the UNFCCC? How can we expect someone to be a responsible steward of the land if he or she knows that it could be wrested from them at any moment? Land scarcity and insecurity have been at the root of countless conflicts throughout human history, but we remain confident that we can find a way to secure Green Carbon that won’t ultimately require the deployment of the Blue Helmets.
I know that the indigenous peoples here, and the International Youth Delegation, will express our views to you throughout this process, for as long as it takes. Just be aware that, for many peoples, and the ancient forests that sustain them, every day that we take to deliberate is another day of irreversible destruction.
We ask only that you take our thoughts into account when planning for the future of our generations.
Your children are tired of dressing up like polar bears and penguins in and effort to convince you to act in a manner consistent with science and conscience, a manner that respects the natural cycles and systems that govern us.
Your children are tired of being called foolish for prioritizing the preservation of our common home over profit margins.
Your children are tired of reminding you that we are here to safeguard the survival of all countries and all people.
Shalt thou be saved but hear the whole world cry?
I once heard that the single thing that all humans share is a desire to pass on to their children a secure future. Please – give us a reason to believe this is true. Give us a bold, binding and just climate treaty that features science-based targets, effective LULUCF rules, and an equitable REDD mechanism.
The International Youth Delegation Forest Policies Working Group would like to meet with your delegation to discuss the potential for collaboration to ensure that any REDD negotiations and outcomes contribute to a safe climate for us and future generations. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Youth Delegation is a consortium of over 500 young people from over 50 countries. We are the largest ever youth presence for a conference of this kind. We are here in Poznan to provide the youth voice in the negotiations and to remind governments that they are bargaining with our future
December 10, 2008
Waking up at 4am after having gone to bed two hours earlier isn”t my idea of a good time, but luckily, the rest of the day panned out to be well worth the severe sleep deprivation.
120 of us rocked up in Warsaw early Tuesday morning and settled on our spot just opposite the Ministerial building where Merkel and Tusk were smothering themselves in a coal fuelled discussion.
The event was quick, snappy and to the point – stop talking about coal. There is absolutely no chance of achieving any kind of successful EU package if we’re not moving away from coal.
Amongst the many speakers from Mexico, Australia, the US and UK, there were also inputs from high profile activist types such as Kumi Naidu. There were also several activities such as the Fossil of the Day Awards (awarded to Merkel and Tusk, obviously), and filling up the empty EU package.
We won’t be certain what effects we had on the day’s discussions, and will have to wait until tomorrow when the EU Heads of States get together the secure the package.
Here’s hoping for the best.
December 8, 2008
There are parts of me that feel like we’re speeding up, racing towards this finish line on Friday – but on the outset, I have almost certainly slowed down. My activity has become somewhat minimal – but I’m certain whatever it is I am building up to it is going to escalate into something incredible.
And on another note, here is something incredible we did today – the aerial photo with 350.org. Im part of the head, in the 2 o clock position wearing the pink!
December 7, 2008
Next week see’s a double whammy for international climate change agreements – firstly the EU Climate and Energy package is to be decided in Brussels on Thursday, and secondly the wrapping up of the Poznan discussions on a post 2012 agreement around will be coming to a close on Friday. This paradigm of events can have one of two consequences – a strong and effective EU package that will positively influence a global deal, or a stalling on the EU package as a result of the stale discussions that have dominated these negotiations in Poznan.
Developments, well, backward developments, so retreats on the EU Climate and Energy Package have flooded my thoughts in last few days. Meetings have been postponed and discussions are going nowhere, and this is going to have serious implications on the strength of the package since Sarkozy (who is currently holding the EU presidency) is keen to get it passed through by next week. But it is absolutely pointless passing a package that isn’t going to make progress on emission reductions in this crucial upcoming decade. The up to date science (quoted in Climate Safety Report) says that we need to reduce emissions by 10% in 2010 and reach peak fossil fuel use by 2012. There is no way we are going to get anywhere near this target if EU countries keep making excuses.
Currently the big losers in this game are Poland, and quite shockingly, Germany. Poland are complaining that because 95% of their power supply is generated through coal fired power stations, they should be exempt from stringent emission reduction targets. The way the new deal works is that countries are allowed to purchase emission permits and in order to assist the transition to low carbon power sectors, these permits have simply been handed out for free. This ofcourse has meant that over the past few years there has been no progress in receiving energy from renewable sources.
Now, under increased pressure from industry lobbyists, Merkel has crumbled. On Tuesday in Warsaw she meets Donald Tusk, Poland’s Prime Minister, to discuss coal. Coal! Coal is the biggest climate killer we can pollute our atmosphere with and both parties are actively pushing to keep at this. There is absolutely no way we can reach and suitable atmospheric CO2 concentration with this sort of attitude. We have less that 5 years to really start making a difference and decisions such as these are going to have massive implications on whether we get there or not.
The next week is the most crucial so far. I’ll be in Warsaw on Tuesday, along with hundreds of others hoping to bring Merkel back to her former climate champion status, and in turn give Tusk a push in the right direction. Tuesday’s meeting is going to affect the outcome of the EU package, and this will further have a knock on effect on the post-2012 deal.
Help us put pressure on the EU, public pressure works and we need that energy now more than ever. – http://www.timetolead.eu