The world is in critical condition with regard to climate challenge and the year 2015 is a very decisive year if we are to adequately tackle this challenge. If the COP21 in Paris fails to deliver, the already declining faith of the general public in international climate negotiations will be further damaged, possibly irreparably.
On May 27th 2015, Mr. Ban Ki-moon met with international youth at a meeting organised by the European Commission to facilitate youth input into the Sustainable Development Goals. The Secretary General commented that youth are the first generation who can end poverty and the last generation who can address climate change and stated that he was putting youth “in the driver’s seat and giving them the driver’s license.”
We see the road in front of us – the journey ahead which will determine our future. We all have hopes for how we want to live, the things we want to do and the places we want to see. But we cannot do this if we know that our governments do not act as though they share in our ambitions for our collective future.
That is why I support and celebrate the vision of 127 countries that have come out with long term goals. It is my belief that the long-term goals have the potential to unify the parties’ endeavours, putting us all on the same pathway to deep decarbonisation, to build a stable and healthier future for every person not just for the privileged. I strongly recommend that Parties set a quantitative long-term commitment that aligns with the science to give us the highest probability of securing the maximum 1.5ºc temperature rise target, and securing a safe and livable world in 2050 and beyond The most vulnerable nations are saying that this must be done, and they are relying on us the youths (YOUNGO) to deliver this in Paris this year.
For us to deliver, we all need to work together. We need to see governments and civil societies standing together hand in hand. Progress was made with the Lima Declaration on Education and Awareness Raising, but in order to facilitate transformative change towards low-emission and climate-resilient societies, we need policies which place greater emphasis on and provide greater support for climate change education, training, public awareness, public access to information and public participation at all levels and involving all stakeholders.
These negotiations have stalled many times but for the next five years we cannot stall and we must not falter. There is no time left to put things off. To avoid past mistakes and continue to build positively towards the end goal of a more equitable and decarbonised world. We need proposals for an agreement without an expiry date, containing four-year review periods for mitigation commitments where parties are expected to take additional action after each review period, building on each Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to ensure the only way for ambition is up.
A short term action between 2015-2020 is necessary and will support mid and long term goals for decarbonisation. Short term action means developed countries must start cutting emissions deeply today. There is no time left to put things off.
Short-term action also means the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies in developed countries and financial support for developing countries to redirect fossil subsidies to the phase-in of equitably distributed sources of clean energy.
The Youth need a clean healthy energy future, an ambitious deal in Paris, and a mechanism that represents the developing and developed countries equally: we will still be here in 2050, there is no time left to put things off.
I stand for inter-generational equity and intra-generation for better climate.
About the author
Musinguzi Wilfred was an East African Youth Delegate to the UN climate change conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru. He is a second year student of BA Ethics and Human Rights at Makerere University Kampala. He can be reached on +256752239443 or firstname.lastname@example.org