International youth sound the alarm

All the youth attending the talks here in Bangkok gathered for a press conference this afternoon. Below is our press release.

International Youth has declared “No Confidence” in the road to Copenhagen.

Bangkok – A declaration of “No Confidence in the Road to Copenhagen” was announced today by the International Youth Delegation attending the UN climate change talks. The delegation cited the failure of reaching a commitment from developed countries on strong targets, a growing concern that a second commitment period in the Kyoto Protocol will not be secured, and a lack of guarantees for protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests, in its Declaration. The current text of the draft climate deal is so weak and so full of “false solutions” – measures like offsetting that actually make the problem worse – it is currently unacceptable.

“Youth are sounding the alarm. These talks have been polluted by self-interested corporations and countries looking to profit off of our crisis,” said Joshua Kahn Russell from the U.S. and Rainforest Action Network. “We cannot allow rich countries to use U.S. inaction as an excuse to kill the Kyoto Protocol. Our future cannot be held hostage to the politics and interests of the United States or any other single country. We see Copenhagen as a beginning, not an ending. We will not accept a dirty deal.”

One young person from each continent, organizers from an international youth climate movement of hundreds of thousands, addressed those attending the negotiations today.

“My people are experiencing the severe effects of climate change,” said Anil Rimal from Nepalese Youth Climate Action. “This is happening now, not in 2050, and people are losing their lives, homes and livelihoods. We can not afford to delay global action.”

“The youth have been looking to the rich developed countries like in the EU to take a leading role to secure an ambitious climate change deal in Copenhagen,” said Anna Collins from the U.K. Youth Climate Coalition, “They are failing us.”

With less than two weeks of negotiations remaining before the Copenhagen meeting, the pressure is on developed countries to commit to providing finance and at least a 40% reduction in emissions by 2020. “If they do not, we will witness the derailment of this climate deal in Copenhagen,” said Grace Mwarua from Kenya.

Paulina Monforte from the Youth Environmental Network of Yucatan, Mexico continued by saying “any agreement in Copenhagen must include the numbers 1.5 degrees and 350 ppm order to safeguard the survival of all nations peoples.”

“Young people all around the world are working locally and internationally for genuine solutions.” Concluded Gemma Tillack from the Australian Wilderness Society. “We are building a strong civil society and working in our communities and will not give up on a strong and fair climate agreement. We will never give up, because it is our future at risk.”


Where are we at?

By Lauren Nutter

Exhaustion is the first word that comes to mind personally.  But in all seriousness, now fully in the second week of negotiations, I find myself asking where are we at?  I find myself in a bizarre and somewhat conflicted state. On one hand the 200 page text we started with here in Bangkok has been consolidated, and countries are being quite frank about outlining their deal breakers and what they need domestically to make this happen… all seem to be good signals right?

And yet in my exhaustion I can not tell is that enough to allow myself to celebrate or grasp as a glimmer of hope? We are still moving painfully slowly, and although there are fewer pages there are still probably as many controversial topics. And even more frustratingly I find myself being pulled back once again to the US domestic scene where it feels the fate is hanging at the moment… will we get numbers and a law from Congress that will allow us to stop holding up progress in these negotiations?

I’m not sure on any of these points. The best I can say is stay tuned and in the mean time here are some more anecdotes and comments from Friday’s stocktaking session in the Long-term Cooperative Action track (aka where shit has to get done for a global climate deal in Copenhagen).

AOSIS- a political decision is not enough in Copenhagen; we need a legal implementation that will bring us to 2012 and beyond.

Mauritius- referring to the recent natural disasters “This is not a wake-up call; this is a final call”

Switzerland on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group- held up a sign “Yes we can” and expressed concern that we need to pick up the pace of the negotiations.

Saudi Arabia- followed by holding up a sign “Yes, if fair and equitable”.

Women and Climate Justice

By Lauren Nutter

(for Geena Berry and the rest of the awesome folks fighting for gender equity)

I’ve been a supporter of stakeholder participation for a long time now, and I am realizing, now more than ever, the value of incorporating more than just sovereign states into global solutions. Simply, we can better combat climate change if we are involving actors on all levels and recognize the potential of those most impacted. For example, women are some of the most strongly affected by climate change, yet their special knowledge to deal with the impacts is rarely considered.

Yesterday at the climate talks in Bangkok, more than 100 women from Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other Asian countries, rallied in the streets to demand gender equity be included in the context of a just climate deal for Copenhagen.

image from

image from

The ECO daily newsletter here in Bangkok included a few highlights of why gender equity is important in the context of climate change:

o Women are the key providers of food, water, and fuel in their communities. They provide up to 90% of food crops for the rural poor. They care for children, the sick, and elderly, and oversee the family’s assets. As a result, women have direct knowledge about effective and innovative solutions. They know how to address resources constraints and respond to erratic environmental changes.

o Women’s empowerment is crucial to sustainable development. Women lead some of the most progressive efforts in response to environmental degradation and climate change impacts, even as their voices are often marginalized. Wangari Maathai started the global Green Belt movement to plant trees in Kenya, and entered into an agreement with the World Bank to reforest regions of Kenya and secure significant emissions reductions—and that success is only one of many

o Women are disproportionally affected by climate change. Women make up an estimated 70% of those living below the poverty line; they have less access to resources, and they are more likely to die than men during natural disasters.

o Of all the legally binding agreements that resulted from the 1992 Earth Summit, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the only one not to incorporate gender issues. In contrast, the Convention on Biological Diversity has incorporated a gender plan of action that recognizes women’s traditional knowledge and access to land assets.

Negotiating their forests

By Juan Carlos Soriano

Every living person on this planet depends on forests for our survival, and the 60 million indigenous people who live in forests worldwide have been their primary guardians. An agreement on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) under the climate negotiations will affect the rights of indigenous peoples.

indigenous peoplesCurrently, the language of the negotiating text on REDD is vague; “Forest” can be interpreted as “monocrop plantations.” The “Right to participate” does not mean  “Indigenous rights, as some are trying to say. This afternoon The Indigenous Environmental Network rejected having REDD as part of a climate agreement. They call for language in the text that acknowledge the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principles Free Prior and Informed Consent.

Despite the opposition, an agreement on a REDD mechanism is likely to be adopted in Copenhagen.

By Lauren Nutter

This morning as soon as we hit the conference center and felt the building energy of youth gather for an action our morning grogginess subsided.  The youth in Bangkok hosted an action calling countries to sign onto a pledge and agree to protect forests and the rights on indigenous peoples in a climate agreement.  We all put on our bright blue “forests for our future” t-shirts, pulled out our banners, and were even joined by a Thai student drum choir.  We chanted loudly, and tried to stop every party member entering the center to ask if they would support the pledge.  We were elated to have Papa New Guinea and Indonesia, among others, sign our petition.


Talking climate in Bangkok

by Lauren Nutter

(Our bikers Juan Carlos Soriano and Lauren Nutter are currently attending the Bangkok Climate Change Talks 2009)

After waking up at 3:30 in the morning to head to the airport, and finding frost on my car already thanks to the lovely Maine climate, I was happy to arrive to the warmer weather of Bangkok.  More importantly, I was excited to see some progress at the next negotiating sessions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) here in Bangkok.  After an array of global summits and meetings this past month—G-20 meeting, the Major Economies Forum, UN General Assembly high-level on climate change—I hoped that there would be a renewed sense of urgency and commitment from countries to take the next steps needed to combat climate change.

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