- Created on Sunday, 25 November 2012 20:24
- Last Updated on Monday, 26 November 2012 11:41
- Written by Kate Catlin
Another Conference of the Youth (COY) weekend is done, and SustainUS has benefited once again from
dozens of trainings and hundreds of new international contacts. Yet my excitement stems not from
what we’ve just finished, but what we’re about to start. SustainUS is shaping up to have one of its most
dynamic delegations yet.
Monday will kick off with a press conference explaining the Red Dot movement. A correlated action, coordinated within an international coalition of youth, will display a giant map of the world decorated with red dots. Each dot symbolizes the location of a climate change tragedy and a narrative behind it. Share your climate stories here.
We’ll also be testing out our newly formed Rapid Response Network. This system will send out an alert
to hundreds of youth across the US, calling upon them to change their Facebook banner and status to
indicate they are watching the climate negotiations and urging them to do the same. They’ll pass on the
word by Sign up for our RRN here.
By Wednesday we’ll hold a second event calling upon President Obama to live up to his words after
reelection and ensure a fair world for our children to grow up without fear of a toxic environment.
Thursday we are co-hosting a side event with the US Center to highlight the ways in which youth in
the United States whose lives or livelihoods have been threatened by a warming world within our own
And that’s just the start! We’ll keep you updated as ideas become actions and actions become impacts.
Wish us luck!
- Created on Sunday, 25 November 2012 21:26
- Last Updated on Sunday, 25 November 2012 21:26
- Written by AoC Blogger
For November 25, 2012
Youth Unveil #ClimateLegacy Campaign At COP18 Press Conference
On Monday morning at 10am, while negotiators are making their opening statements in the UNFCCC plenary young people from around the world will be making a statement of their own.
- Created on Thursday, 22 November 2012 03:07
- Last Updated on Sunday, 25 November 2012 21:01
- Written by Zach Swank
Yes, it is that time of year again. Turkeys are being cooked, Christmas music is on the radio, and SustainUS is sending another delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference. As always, this year’s delegation promises to make waves at the climate change conference known as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18), which sounds much more like an actual party than it is.
Per usual, the SustainUS delegation has been prepping since August to have a maximum impact at the conference. However, for those of you who have not been spending all your free time researching, strategizing, and planning on spending half your holidays inside of a convention center, let’s review what’s on the docket in this, the year of our 18th party.
What's on the Agenda this Year
Without getting too much into the nitty-gritty (don’t worry we’ll do that later), COP18 is a building year
in preparation for 2015 when the world will hopefully come together to create an agreement that will
overhaul the Kyoto Protocol or replace it outright. Specifically there are three main tasks that need to be
accomplished this year.
- First, finalize the extension of the original Kyoto Protocol to cover the gap between the new
protocol that will be created in 2015 and its eventual implementation in 2020. Ever since the US
Senate rejected it in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was doomed to be ineffective. At this point, all the
negotiators can do is to help it limp along until 2020.
- Second, the negotiators need to secure funding for the Green Climate Fund, to the tune of $100
billion per year. Given the financial situation around the world, this will not be an easy task.
- Third and most importantly, the negotiators need to begin the groundwork of producing a new
international agreement to replace the failed Kyoto Protocol, or in other words, to start to
produce a working international treaty that they have failed to produce for the entire 18 year
history of the UN climate negotiations.
Why it Matters
Clearly, they have their work cut out for them, and the stakes could not be higher. In 2009 the UNFCCC
negotiators agreed to follow the advice of our best scientists and limit the allowable worldwide
temperature rise to two degrees Celsius. That sounds great, but let’s remember that we have already
raised the average global temperature by 0.8 degrees and we are still 8 years away from potentially
having a treaty in place that will start to reduce emissions. Unfortunately, even if we stopped emitting
CO2 today, we’ll still see another 0.8 degree temperature rise as the existing carbon in the atmosphere
continues to heat the planet. So that means a 1.6 degree temperature rise is already locked in, no
matter how quickly we act. For those of us on in the West or on the East Coast who are now acutely aware
of what just 0.8 degrees in temperature rise can do, this is not good news.
Unfortunately, it gets much worse. In a Rolling Stone article that went viral, Bill McKibben pointed out
that at our current rate of emissions, we will reach the amount of CO2 we can emit and stay under two
degrees Celsius of warming in 16 years. That means 8 years from now, when the successor to the Kyoto
Protocol becomes active, we will only be left with the equivalent of 8 years of CO2 emissions to emit.
EVER. Couple that with the fact that we have five times as much proven reserves as are safe to emit and
we can safely say that the world will not stay within the margin of two degrees Celsius that the scientists
and nations of the world agree we need. What does “unsafe” mean? Well for reference, some very
smart folks say that six degrees of warming is not survivable for our species.
Why SustainUS is Going
This brings us back to the reality of this year and why 19 young Americans are about to voluntarily
spend two weeks collaborating with over 300 young people from around the world to let our official UN
representatives know that we are serious about wanting a planet that we and our kids can live on. Every
year, SustainUS and the international youth climate movement do their best to get this message across.
Here is a sampling of some of what we are bringing to the party this year:
- Prepared policy papers on all of the relevant negotiating points at COP18. These will serve as the
basis of our lobbying efforts and talking points.
- Pre-COP18 conference call with the State Department’s Deputy Special Envoy for Climate
Change. You’d better believe we are going to be asking some hard questions.
- A rapid response network which we will use to link issues at COP18 to issues here at home and
generate rapid action from the US to put pressure on the negotiators. If you are at all interested
in helping us fight for a world we can live in, please join the network here.
- An hour long side event on how youth across America are already being affected by climate
change and what we are doing about it.
- Mini side events about what business can and is doing to reduce emissions and how young
people can get involved.
- Daily actions to generate media attention and put pressure on the negotiators.
- Updating our blog daily and getting articles published in newspapers back home.
- Reaching out to our local communities and elected representatives both before and after COP18
to make sure they are aware how serious we are about this deadly issue.
- And much more.
Nothing about what climate change means is fun. When you fully consider the implications of what we
are doing, it is downright terrifying. However, fear is one heck of a motivator, and we intend to channel that
emotion for the next two weeks to do our damndest to make these creaking international negotiations
math the gravity of the situation. Please keep checking our blog over the course of the next two weeks; I
have a feeling COP18 is going to be one heck of a party.
- In Sandy’s Wake, NJ Town Environmental Coordinator Journeys To UN Climate Summit Looking For Answers.
- Youth Dialogue with a U.S. Climate Negotiator
- Working across UN negotiations: from climate to biodiversity
- Rio+20s Winners and Losers: The Thoughts of a Youth Policy Tracker
- Reflections on Rio+20: Bitter Disappointment in the Whole Process