This is me, Annabelle. In April last year I joined the UK Youth Climate Coalition’s delegation to the UN climate change talks in Paris.
I want to share what that means and what it means for me. I’ll also post what I’ve been up to, what’s going on and the ideas this sparks as I try to make sense of it all.
UPDATE: Even though COP21 has passed, I’ll continue to use this blog for anything relevant and/or hopefully of interest.
You might be wondering what the UKYCC is and why Paris/2015 even matters. If you’re more visual or want to skip the longer explanation, here are two infographics I made about the delegation and why 2015 was such a crucial year for climate change…
The UK Youth Climate Coalition is a not-for-profit organization that aims to inspire, unite and mobilise young people to take positive action on climate change.
It has sent a delegation of young people to the United Nations climate change negotiations since 2008.
- We have a right to be present and heard, to hold negotiators and politicians accountable, and remind them that they’re dealing with our futures.
- We’re an undervalued resource! We bring energy, creativity, ambition and urgency to the drawn-out processes of these talks.
- Lastly, we’re there to make them more transparent and accessible, sharing what goes on and why it matters with a wider audience.
The UKYCC isn’t alone! We’re part of a global community of young people who are acting on climate change, aka the International Youth Climate Movement. This is represented by YOUNGO, the official youth constituency at the UN climate talks (made up of youth NGOs).
Why is 2015 so important?
1) COP21- Paris
The UN conference at the end of November is the COP (Conference of the Parties, i.e. yearly meeting of nearly 200 countries) where a new international climate agreement will be negotiated. The current treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2020. It was a step in the right direction, but we’ve got a marathon to run.
THIS IS BIG. There have been 21 years of these meetings, 21 years discussing how to deal with climate change, with a snail’s pace of progress. This year they might finally make it happen. In fact, they’ve delayed real action for so long that it’s crucial they take ambitious steps now.
COP21 has the potential to boost global progress on dealing with and adapting to climate change. Likewise, if an agreement is not reached or if it is not ambitious enough, there will be critical knock-on effects.
WHY DO (GREENHOUSE GAS) EMISSIONS MATTER?
If we continue with our current rate of emissions, we are set to bring about a temperature rise of at least 4C. Bad news for our planet. Scientists have agreed that we need to at least get to below a 2C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels to even attempt to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
On top of this, on 25-27th September (yep, right now), world leaders decide on new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the Millennium Development Goals that run out this year. These focus on international development, including poverty, health, education and equality, as well as the environment and climate change.