There’s lots of campaigns focussed on it right now, lots of people trying to show politicians that this is what we all want. And I hope they succeed, I think they probably already have actually. Copenhagen is all over the news and it’s clear that there’s real public pressure for a deal. That’s about the best a campaign can hope for. Now it’s up to the delegates. At least this time the US isn’t being led by an oil man/half wit.
I went to the UN conference in Kyoto, the one that put climate change on the map. A friend of mine got hold of some passes and we just turned up with no idea what to expect. Our plan was to talk anyone that would listen about the role that wind energy has to play in fighting climate change. The message went down well.
Back then hardly anyone had heard of the concept of Climate Change and even fewer people held it to be true. It was more the territory of scientists and ‘hippies’.
Actually, even back then, almost 2,000 of the world’s top scientists (the IPCC) had told the world’s political leaders ‘There is only one responsible choice – to act now.’
And Kyoto was a success. Not because the targets agreed were particularly ambitious but because targets were set at all. It was and still is an important moment in human history. The world had set its first carbon targets.
Much has changed since then. Most people today have heard of climate change and more importantly accept that we urgently need to do something about it. It’s as rarely out of the news these days as it used to be rarely in the news a decade ago.
The Kyoto accord played a vital part in this transformation, many people are hoping that a successor to Kyoto will emerge from Copenhagen. I hope so too.
But Kyoto targets have not been met. So what use are another set of targets? We actually need deeds now not words. Targets are only a small part of the story, the easy part – hitting them will take real commitment.
I’ve decided not to go to Copenhagen, partly because I don’t think I can make much of a difference and can use the time better back here. But also partly because a couple of weeks ago I met somebody here in Stroud that was trying to get there and who, I think, has an important role to play. I’ve decided to help this person get there.
I’d like to introduce her here – her name is Isabelle and she’s been chosen from thousands of applicants to be a part of the UK youth delegation at the talks – the delegation will take part and have the chance to speak. And their voice should be heard. Too often we see people with 10 or 20 years left to live opposing windmills and other initiatives that are essential to the hopes of young people today – to have any kind of decent life. Young people have more skin in this game than the people in power today and those that wield influence at planning – they’ll pick up the tab for our failure. That’s why I think their voice is important.
You’ll be able to follow Isabelle’s progress at the talks here, she’s going to try and find the time to blog for us, it should be a fascinating insight.
With no more ado, here’s Isabelle’s first guest post –
The road to Copenhagen
After nearly 20 years of endless conferences, discussions, and empty promises to cut emissions we have finally run out of time. This December when the world meets in Copenhagen it will be our last chance to agree an effective global deal. It has to be now because we won’t get another shot.
My name is Isabelle Ellis-Cockcroft and I’m from Stroud. I am one of 23 young people travelling to the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 this December as part of the UK Youth Delegation, on behalf of the UK Youth Climate Coalition.
Being on the delegation is a big commitment. So why am I prepared to put so much of my time and energy into this? Because climate change isn’t about polar bears, it’s about everyone I know and care for; my friends, my family and our future. As a young person I cannot escape climate change. I can choose to bury my head in the sand and ignore the terrifying world I will have to face later. Or I can stand up and be counted. I can start now, while we still have time, and help to build the better future that I want to see.
In September the UK Youth Delegation met with some of the UK’s core team of UN negotiators at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). They spoke about how mass public pressure on climate change is the only thing that will give them the mandate to push for a strong enough deal at Copenhagen.
The UK has done some good talking on climate change; on paper it has one of the strongest climate change policies on the world. But the action the UK has actually taken so far amounts to rearranging deckchairs on Titanic.
There’s a great deal of passion out there but the most vocal seem to be those who oppose the change we so desperately need – the anti-wind lobby is a perfect example. People need to look at a bigger picture than the view they see from their kitchen window. I am 18 and in 2050 I will be 59. I want the chance to live my life in a world with a safe and stable climate, where there is enough food and water to go around. Is that too much to ask?