Mock COP leads the way

Listen to the voices of young people from around the world! When Covid stopped COP26 in 2020 students from the “Teach the Future” campaign decided to go ahead with their own Mock COP26 event. The Treaty they produced shows how we should respond to climate change.

They also penned an accompanying letter to world leaders calling for urgent action this side of COP26. Signed ‘The Youth of the World’, the letter recommends improvements to the structures of the COP to reflect the mandate of young people to build inclusive, equitable and fair systems.

The Treaty demands that five key themes be addressed, namely:

  • Climate justice
  • Climate education
  • Climate resilient livelihoods
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Nationally Determined contributions (NDCs) – what each country commits to do to implement their obligations to reduce climate emissions under the Paris Agreement.

The young people’s call for radical action in all these areas demands that countries implement and enforce laws to do what is necessary to keep emissions below 1.5 degrees. They invite the adults meeting in Glasgow in November 2021 to use their “homework” and implement their Treaty now!

Mock COP26 was attended by 330 delegates (aged 11 to 30) from 140 countries, thereby representing the youth of the vast majority of countries that will be represented at COP26 itself. 72% of delegates were from the Global South and 28% from the Global North. They invited world leading scientists and business leaders to attend. Mock COP26 was run entirely on line, resulting in just c14 tonnes of CO2 emissions, compared to c40,000 tonnes from previous COPs.

Their Conference Declaration cites the Paris Agreement, UN Conventions, IPPC reports, reports from international scientific authorities and academies. It notes key “tipping points” that are likely to inflict irreversible changes to the world’s climate.

Most telling of all are the heart felt statements from delegates of the 140 different countries. A consistent theme running through these statements was that the delegates were experiencing the impacts of the crisis right now and they want to see action and not just words from the leaders of the world.

Quotes from the young people:

“We (the youth of Turkey) feel the consequences of your decisions today. As a country, it is your responsibility to take drastic action. We have outlined science based and realistic actions that would greatly improve our nation.” (Delegate from Turkey)

“We feel only partly listened to. We are praised for enthusiasm, but politicians are not asking us seriously enough. They are not treating this crisis like a crisis.” (Delegate from Iceland)

“Stop telling us, the youth, that we are the future, and continue to do nothing.” (Delegate from Argentina)

“We call to raise our voices, to fight for our future rights, to fight for our health and wellbeing. We say, once again, to all policy-makers that the youth across the world are tied of empty climate promises. We, the youth, are ready to work with you in building a self-reliant, safe, inclusive and sustainable world. The question is, are you ready?”  (Delegate from India)

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Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 9 December, 2020 | Category: Climate Emergency Opinion | Comments: 1


Comments on "Mock COP leads the way"

Iain Climie:

December 9, 2020

What maddens me is that today's youngsters and the world's poor are in this mess because politicians, policy-makers and wealthy vested interests have failed to take action which wold have made sense regardless of the nature extent, cause and direction of climate change. I let off steam about this in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/25/feeling-the-heat-over-arctic-sea-ice Given the choice about taking win-win actions or bickering for decades about whether human activities could be influencing the climate, no prizes for guessing what the rich and powerful have chosen!


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