In a press conference today, Christiana Figueres - Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC) - stated that “civil society is not doing enough to encourage governments to raise their level of ambition”, mentioning that governments can only do what they are elected to do. That’s true, but it isn’t entirely up to civil society; elected representatives are responsible for doing what they can to protect the best interests of current and future generations.
In a press conference today, Christiana Figueres - Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC) - stated that “civil society is not doing enough to encourage governments to raise their level of ambition”, mentioning that governments can only do what they are elected to do.
There is so much pressure on civil society and young people in particular to make our governments raise their ambition - but it isn’t up to us! Our governments are elected to work for the best interests of their constituents and looking after their health and general wellbeing - and committing to targets that lead us to a <1.5 degree world is a necessary part of that. Instead they make green promises they break, and fail to fulfil the pledges they commit to.
Young people take time out of regular jobs and studies, the vast majority of us unpaid for our efforts, and many using our own money to fund ourselves. While here we spend almost all of our time lobbying governments in a variety of ways to increase their ambition, to meet the science and to ensure the safety of future generations. We don’t come here to get a tan, we spend 12 hours a day (at least) here formulating and lobbying for more ambitious policy positions, tracking down negotiators to lobby them in person, sitting in on talks to keep a bearing on developments, designing and performing stunts to put the pressure on on the public stage, reporting back across the world to inform local, national and regional campaign efforts and international media coverage… this list goes on.
They are simply not listening to us.
But when we switch tactics to a peaceful but more forceful approach, we get our access badges taken away and we are thrown out.
What is more, at this COP there are more than 50 capable young people under the age of 18 here who have not been allowed into the negotiations at the last minute, despite being approved to attend prior to arrival.
To suggest civil society isn’t doing enough is laughable if not offensive. The buck stops with the governments who - for whatever reason - refuse to put national and corporate interests aside to create the deal we need. In lieu of that, and if Ms. Figueres really wants to get the negotiations moving, perhaps she should let us young people negotiate our futures for ourselves?
Correction: The section about Anjali Appadurai has been removed as it was incorrect. This was the editor’s mistake.
Featured Image Credit: GB Times