by nathan thanki
This afternoon I had the honour of delivering the following statement on behalf of the youth constituency (YOUNGO). A night’s sleep had to be given up, and many ideas, comments, concerns, and demands had to be somehow moulded into a coherent, concise statement. We worked on the assumption that, inshallah, we’d get 2 minutes after all the needless ceremony and backslapping that make up COP openings. There was difficulty getting into the plenary, more difficulty getting a seat with a microphone, and even further difficulty in cutting the speech in half to after being told very late on that the Secretariat’s time restriction was just 1 minute. However, we delivered it and afterwards were approached by Al Jazeera to provide some follow up interviews. Many thanks to the YOUNGO focal point and the people who contributed to drafting; the strength of the youth constituency comes from our ability to work together in a true spirit of compromise and trust, imbued as it is with a burning, life affirming desire for justice. Here’s to you.
Statement to COP opening plenary on behalf of YOUNGO:
It’s barely a month since Hurricane Sandy showed us that huge loss and damage from climate change is the new normal. We’re as terrified by that as we are tired of excuses from some of you.
In Cancun and Durban you saved the process, but at the risk of sacrificing people and planet.
Now it seems Doha will be all about deception and cheating. Developed countries, you’re cheating on mitigation, on money, and on the Durban mandate, while blaming and shifting responsibility to the developing world.
You're cheating on mitigation with a weak second commitment period where loopholes outweigh reductions! You're cheating by ignoring your historical responsibilities and comparable efforts.
You're cheating on the mandate: Durban was a package involving a meaningful second commitment period, and successful completion of the Bali Action Plan, not just the ADP…
You're cheating on money. We have little faith that we’ll see the insufficient promise of 100b by 2020. The Fast start experience has shown your climate finance to be fragmented, inadequate, repackaged ODA.
Why should we believe that in 2020 you will live up to additional finance and serious mitigation? You keep saying "tomorrow," but "tomorrow" is not a day of the week.
Today you have a choice to start building a legacy. Will it be a 6 degree warmer world; with submerged islands, exacerbated poverty and lives at risk? Will it be one of broken promises and distrust? If so, “count us out.”
Or will it be one that supports sustainable development and livelihoods? Will it be one that leaves future generations with a liveable planet? Will it be ambitious and equitable?
What will your climate legacy be?