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Doha blog: To COP in, or COP out

As yet another weak climate agreement fell into place, some young delegates decided they no longer believed in the UN talks. But one day, WE will have to take over this mess from the older generation. So let’s not give up, argues Maria Nitzsch Hastrup

And so the UN climate negotiations ended.

It seems to be the tradition that these talks on climate changes never end at the scheduled time. But then again it is about saving the world.

This is complex, so I really don’t think anybody anticipated that it would be easy.

Third World disenfranchised

At the Conference of the Parties (COP) climate conference, all youth NGOs come together in the constituency of YOUNGO. This is a place for supporting each other, creating common policies and exchanging knowledge. Normally it is a large, diverse and very well-functioning group.

At this COP however the successes have been few and far between.

But I want to start with a positive example. The New Zealand youth delegation had created the campaign ‘Connected Voices’, which all the youth delegates soon supported. In short, the campaign is about representing the youth, who cannot be part of the COP. Unfortunately very few youth from the underdeveloped global South have the possibility to attend the UN conferences, mostly because of lack of economic resources within their country.

Split into two factions

The campaign ‘Connected Voices’ builds on the idea that youth that are not represented, should have a ‘buddy’ country, which then takes their ideas and thoughts to COP. At day 3 of COP most youth gathered for a beautiful action, showing delegates in Doha that not all countries were represented.

Watch the action here:

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Otherwise, COP 18 showed for me that young delegates are split in two groups: One group, which still believes in the UN processes to stop climate change, and one group, which is more radical and does not believe in the COP or any positive outcome whatsoever.

It is of course unfortunate that the youth group split into these two factions. But the pressure was on, and they were in general not allowed much room in the process. This made some people do unapproved actions (leading to them being de-badged, told to leave first the Conference Centre, and then Qatar).

Kyoto extended

After much talk, an agreement was reached on Saturday. The agreement secures a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, which will last eight years. This was one of the top priorities of Denmark and the rest of EU. Moreover Australia signed up. But as usual China, Canada and USA stay out, which is unfortunate, as the Kyoto Protocol thus only covers around 30 per cent of the total emissions of CO2.

Another accomplishment in the agreement is that all countries have to report on their national initiatives on climate change by March 2013. The information will then be used for the 2014 talks.

So much for the positive, because in general the agreement can be seen as a very negative outcome.

US and Canada to blame

There is no clear indication of how to finance climate change issues for the poor countries, as only a few countries put actual money on the table (Denmark being one of the countries by saying DKK 500 million DKK will be given to the Green Climate Fund).

Moreover there was no agreement on thoughts of equity and on a common, but differentiated, responsibility.

This can largely be blamed on countries as USA and Canada, who do not want this in the text.

Let’s not give up

And thus ended this COP. For me, it now stands clear, that young people need to be present and to fight. A better outcome must be possible!

As young people we are the ones, who one day will take over this mess from the older generation. So let’s not give up, but keep on talking about it, making campaigns and raising awareness.

Youth are part of the solution and we should continue showing this throughout the year, as we prepare for COP19 in Poland in 2013.

See Maria’s earlier blog from the climate talks in Doha here.

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