"Climate change really is a matter of life and death for some on this planet, and we must never lose sight of this fact"
The following was written by Canadian Youth Delegate Jennie McDowell from Guelph, Ontario, in a series of essays on the last two weeks in Poznan, Poland.
It has been an incredibly emotional and exhausting last few days here in Poznan. On Friday, the 14th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change concluded with very little progress.
Unfortunately, the economic crisis prevailed the agendas of the wealthiest nations, and resulted in a terrible stubbornness in their position. They refused to make Adaptation Funding more accessible, transparent, and profitable for developing countries. Some bully countries, including Canada, also pushed for language that intently does not recognize rights of indigenous peoples, but rather protects individual person's rights - a sneaky loophole that means they can put caps on deforestation practices, even if they are livelihoods for some of the worlds poorest and most isolated communities.
The developed North also succeeded in ensuring that there was very little additional ambition in terms of mitigating climate change in the new text. In fact, the "new" text was hardly a word different from what was agreed upon in Bali last year. Translation: no progress. We are really in a bad situation now to achieve a global agreement next year in Copenhagen that will ensure we have a new "Kyoto Protocol" in place before the current one expires in 2012.
But I have hope. The youth were once again an incredible force at the conference. Everyone noticed our energy, expertise, and dedication to this soul-consuming challenge. In our debrief this weekend, despite our despair and deflation, we found the energy to start building the next movement for Copenhagen. We defined our victories, and laid out a roadmap to get us there. There are plans to mobilize thousands of youth around the world, make climate change a voting issue in the developed north, and plan our policy strategies and actions to drive our governments to take stronger action next year in Copenhagen. It's not a want, it's a must. A need. Survival is non-negotiable. Climate change really is a matter of life and death for some on this planet, and we must never lose sight of this fact.