This is cross-posted from the Independent blog
The UN process at the climate negotiations is famed for being painfully slow, and it’s no different this year – it feels very calm, business-like, quiet. But underneath that veneer is a manic tension. The EU Environment and Energy ministers are meeting today for some last negotiations before the EU Energy and Climate Package gets signed off next week by the heads of state, and it’s not going well. Poland, Italy and Germany are blocking, and even the UK is pushing to offset 50% of their emissions reductions.
This package is absolutely crucial in setting a global precedent for emissions reductions targets. It doesn’t just affect the EU, it affects everyone. If the EU aren’t successful in agreeing bold targets, this package could end up sinking small island states.
There are however, some amazing people here pushing it forward. The UK Youth Delegation has joined 500 other international youth from over 50 countries to engage with our government representatives and urge them to take strong action against climate change, to follow through on the promises they have made in the Climate Act, but most of all, to listen to the science.
We are staging colourful, creative actions inside the conference – this afternoon we are giving Christmas stockings to the UK Negotiators filled with fruit, chocolate and copies of Zero Carbon Britain, a report by the Centre of Alternative Technology, to keep them going. And everywhere you turn, small revolutions are happening. It is ridiculous, but here at the UN climate negotiations, the heating and air conditioning have been on at the same time! So, young renegades all over the conference centre have been cheerily turning off the air conditioning and the heating and unplugging lights. Saving the world one UN radiator at a time.
It is becoming increasingly clear that this whole climate change business is not just about polar bears, it’s about us and it’s about right now. People all over the world are already feeling the effects, with 160,000 people each year already dying from the effects of climate change, according to the WHO. We, as young people, are calling for cleaner energy, green jobs, a stable climate and a safe and just future for all. What can you do? Take two minutes and visit www.timetolead.eu and put pressure on your MEP to take climate change seriously. They can’t afford not to, and neither can we.