Thursday, October 28, 2021

Young activists upset by climate inaction, demand to say more

by Colleen Barry

MILAN (AP) — Young climate activists Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg reprimanded global leaders Tuesday for failing to meet pledges of money to help poor countries adapt to a warming Earth and “much more”. Blah blah blah” because climate change is wreaking havoc around the world. .

He also cast doubt on the motives behind a youth climate gathering where he was speaking in Milan.

Four hundred climate activists from 180 countries were invited to Italy’s financial capital for a three-day Youth4Climate summit, which will send their recommendations to a major UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, starting October 31. But participants are demanding more accountability. A bigger official role than leaders and for young people.

“They invite cherry-picked youth to show that they are listening to us,” Thunberg said. “But they’re not. They’re clearly not listening to us. Just look at the statistics. Emissions are still on the rise. Science doesn’t lie.”

“Leaders like to say, ‘We can do this.’ Obviously they don’t mean it. But we do,” said the Swedish worker.

Nakate, a 24-year-old Ugandan activist, said a promise of 100 billion euros ($117 billion) a year to help countries particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change has not been met, even That there haven’t been wildfires in California and Greece and even floods in Germany. And the Belgians show that “loss and damage is now possible everywhere.”

“In fact, funding was promised until 2020, and we are still waiting,” she said. “No more empty conventions. It’s time to show us the money. It’s time, it’s time, it’s time.”

Knacket dramatically outlined how climate change is affecting Africa, “It is ironic that Africa is the lowest emitter of CO2 emissions of any continent except Antarctica.”

Just last week, she said she saw police carrying a body washed away by a violent storm in the Ugandan capital Kampala, while others searched for more victims. Her mother told her that a man dragged by the water was trying to save the goods she was selling.

Nakate fell into tears after her emotional speech, comforted by Thunberg, who followed her to the podium, which was too tall for her small stature.

Thunberg, who co-founded the global protest movement Fridays for Future, said it is not too late to reverse climate trends. But he has clearly heard a lot from leaders, whom he said he has been talking about for 30 years, while half of all carbon emissions have occurred since 1990, a third since 2005.

“It’s all we hear from our so-called leaders: words. Words that sound great but no action has yet been taken. Our hopes and dreams are drowned in their hollow words and promises. Of course we need to have constructive dialogue. But they’ve had it for 30 years now, blah blah. And where has this taken us?” he said.

Saoie O’Connor, an Irish activist in the Friday for Future movement, said the youth meeting in Milan was organized by governments that chose participants and drafted a document that the delegates would “edit”. As a result, she said, the closing document would not represent “what the strikers wanted.”

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“There are people in their rooms who are watching what we say. The subjects in which we are divided are decided for us,’ she said.

The three-day Youth4 Climate Summit will be followed by a two-day pre-COP meeting before Glasgow, aimed at finding common ground at sticking points between countries ranging from the world’s biggest carbon emitters to developing countries that are economically and technologically lagging behind. Is.

Hopes for the Glasgow summit to be a success have been bolstered by announcements from the world’s two largest economies and the biggest carbon polluters. Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country would no longer finance coal-fired plants abroad, while US President Joe Biden announced plans to double financial aid to poor countries for green development.

In addition, Turkey has said it will abide by the Paris Protocol and South Africa announced more ambitious emissions targets.

“These are good steps,” said Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani, who is hosting the Milan meetings. “They mean they are moving in the right direction. … I would never expect a quantum jump in this massive operation globally. But the indicators are all good.”

Singolani said he agreed with criticism that many promises were broken, including funding climate change adaptation, but he also saw a convergence in the sense of urgency. “It’s true, we have to work hard,” he said.

He also clarified a previous reference made to “radical chic” activists, saying that he was not referring to climate protesters, but to people who would not make sacrifices for renewable energy facilities in their neighborhoods.

The youth representatives were trying to maintain realistic expectations for the meeting.

“What we can do is hope for the best,” said 16-year-old Zainab Waheed from Pakistan, who is campaigning to include climate in the national school curriculum. “But looking to the past, and relying on the science of deduction, and learning from history, we have seen that even ministers from COP26 countries do not keep their promises.”

Rose Kobusinge, 27, Ugandan, with a master’s degree in environmental change and management from the University of Oxford, said the Glasgow meeting needs to come up with concrete action if fighting climate change is to maintain any credibility. She also thinks that youth representatives should be invited as participants – not just to send messages.

“Don’t let this stop the conversation in Glasgow. If it stops, I guess COP will no longer be needed because what is it? Just come and discuss and go back to your countries?” he said.


This story corrects the spelling of Vanessa Nakate’s last name in several passages.


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