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Young people are right about climate change: It’s time to listen

18 Comments
By Luis Alfonso de Alba

Climate change is not a faraway problem– it is causing huge damage right now in Asia-Pacific and around the world. From air pollution choking many major cities, to more extreme heat and natural disasters, to one million species at risk, the urgent need for climate action is clear. We are all paying the price today, but unless we take action immediately to limit the impacts of climate change, it is young people who will be living with the ever-increasing consequences of global warming. So it is no surprise that it is young people who are at the frontlines of efforts do something about it. 

We cannot afford to ignore the voices of young people. We cannot afford to trivialize their demands. What they say matters. 

Today, there 1.8 billion people in the world are between the ages of 10-24 years, and 1.2 billion of them are between 15-24 years. It’s not just that we need to listen to the voices of youth, it’s because the voices of youth matter. Young people can drive agendas. This is the most interconnected generation in history. And together, what they purchase determines what sells.  

Young people are telling us we need to change. The world is on an unsustainable path, and as climate impacts increase, the opportunities for today’s young people will diminish. They are demanding nothing short of a transformation of the economy to a green economy

Political, business and civil society leaders in every country are taking notice. To ignore the voices of youth is to ignore the urgency with which we must act. 

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is convening the Climate Action Summit in September in New York next week to spark this transformation. He has made clear that we must value the voices and welcome to the global stage the young climate champions who have been setting the agenda and inspiring climate solutions. 

That’s why I’m working with Secretary-General Guterres to convene the first-ever U.N. Youth Climate Summit in New York City on Saturday.

The Youth Climate Summit will feature a full day of programming that brings together young activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers who are committed to combating climate change at the pace and scale needed to meet the challenge. It will be action oriented, and inclusive, with equitable representation of young leaders from all walks of life and every region of the globe.

More than 7,000 young people between the ages of 18 to 29 answered our call to apply to attend the Youth Climate Summit. While only slightly more than 500 can attend, an effort has been made to ensure wide and inclusive representation. 100 young leaders from the Global South were awarded a U.N. sponsorship, or “Green Ticket”– funded, carbon-neutral travel to New York City – to participate in the Summit. These outstanding young leaders have been selected based on their demonstrated commitment to addressing the climate crisis and advancing solutions. Given the impacts of climate change in Asia-Pacific, including increased disaster risk, inequality and harm to the environment, and the leadership of young people in communities here – I’m pleased that several young people from the Asia-Pacific region have been selected to participate in the Summit in New York.

I look forward to joining the selected young climate leaders in this historic moment in September and hearing from them about potential solutions that can help meet the challenges posed by climate change. But their work, and our work, does not end there. 

It is imperative that all of us – individuals, business leaders, heads of state – draw inspiration from these young leaders. 

Guterres has called on world leaders to come to the Climate Action Summit with concrete plans, not beautiful speeches. Leaders would do well to hear the calls from young people to protect their communities today and safeguard their futures. 

Businesses must step up and follow young entrepreneur’s lead in the transition to a low-carbon economy that provides inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

And everyone in civil society can join with young climate champions by following along on the Youth Summit livestream and making choices that have less harmful effects on the environment through ActNow.

I urge young people to continue taking positive climate action now and holding leaders, business and your communities to account. By doing so, you will continue to push us forward in this race we cannot afford to lose.

 Luis Alfonso de Alba is the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Climate Action Summit.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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Climate change? A hoax, just ask Dr Trump.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The climate of Earth has always been changing. Are humans having an impact? Of course. Should we listen to children and their concerns? Yes.

However, let's not accept opinions as gospel, but commit to learning more about it personally. If everyone knows more about it, it can only be a good thing. Unfortunately, many children are being used as a conduit by other adults to push their agenda, while hiding from criticism.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

For many Pollutant like micro plastics in the sea probably already too late. A fisherman caught a bass to discover inside its mouth and stomach six plastic shopping bags.

50 years ago more could have been done to prevent or decrease the pollution levels today.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tangerine2000: "let's not accept opinions as gospel, but commit to learning more about it personally."

Too right, we should not listen to the climate scientists but to Dr Trump, he knows all about climatology. Or, we can all start our own investigation into climate change and learn "personally".

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Too right, we should not listen to the climate scientists but to Dr Trump, he knows all about climatology.

I can assure you that he knows nothing about said subject.

Or, we can all start our own investigation into climate change and learn "personally".

Yes, that's a good thing. If everyone takes it upon themselves to learn more about it, they'll care more.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Tangerine2000: "Yes, that's a good thing. If everyone takes it upon themselves to learn more about it, they'll care more."

Well, I'm of to do a degree in climatology so I can spend the next 10 years studying climate change; but first I'll study medicine so I can find out about my headache as I wont take my doctors opinion.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, I'm of to do a degree in climatology so I can spend the next 10 years studying climate change; but first I'll study medicine so I can find out about my headache as I wont take my doctors opinion.

Climate change won't be solved by people who aren't willing to learn, my friend.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Tangerine2000:

People have learned; climatologists and climate scientists.

Will cancer be cured when patients learn about cancer?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Relax everyone the climate is always changing and has done so for centuries, as for Carbon Dioxide the "gas" that trees breathe being a problem, not a chance something that is 400 parts per million isn't going to cause a problem. The people who push this global warming rubbish a pushing something that is almost a wealth transference scam form the can do nations to the can't do nations or a form of socialism.

Relax everyone the worlds not falling to pieces and enjoy the weekend.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

as for Carbon Dioxide the "gas" that trees breathe being a problem, not a chance something that is 400 parts per million isn't going to cause a problem.

Ah OK. So anything that is both a) highly dispersed throughout the atmosphere and b) breathed in by plants is, by definition, something we should ignore because it must be either a scam for the can't do nations, or socialism?

I'm so comforted to note that such rock solid arguments against the scientific consensus that this is something we really need to be doing something about exist.....

4 ( +6 / -2 )

We either start taking drastic action or we are well and truly doomed.

The latest reports say 6c by the end of the century if we do nothing. That's extinction level temperatures.

We might be able to hold it 2c if we try really hard. But as we have seen from both our leaders and far too many comments, this is not going to happen.

http://en.rfi.fr/contenu/20190917-earth-warm-more-quickly-new-climate-models-show

2 ( +4 / -2 )

IF it were true what is the solution then ? Relying on Governments and handing them more of our money to fix it....

Yeah that'll work a treat !

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

CO2 is plant food NOT poison

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

CO2 is plant food NOT poison

Too bad that

A) CO2 is poisonous to humans and most animals, and

B) humans are deforesting the planet at a rather rapid pace, reducing the number of plants that can 'breathe' said CO2.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

CO2 is plant food NOT poison

You serious? Never heard of CO2 poisoning?

Also, its deadly qualities when breathed by humans has nothing to do with climate change.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You serious? Never heard of CO2 poisoning?

It's not poisonous. You are breathing it right now.

What happens is that a build-up of CO2 displaces oxygen. You are still breathing, but it's not oxygen, and you pass out and die from the lack of oxygen, not CO2 poisoning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For the 'green' individuals and corporations cynically hoping to use Greta to make money from her message, it is worth reading this detailed article by Dominic Green. Better to have an informed opinion, I reckon.

https://standpointmag.co.uk/issues/june-2019/gretas-very-corporate-childrens-crusade/

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's not poisonous. You are breathing it right now.

Well, the words poison, poisonous and poisoning are being used at random by each successive poster and that is a bit of a problem.

CO2 is not considered poison or poisonous to humans, any more so than water. But too much CO2 or water can and will kill you. CO2 poisoning and water poisoning are both a thing, although water poisoning is more accurately called water intoxication or hyperhydration and CO2 poisoning is more accurately referred to as hypercapnia.

Its a bit different from say, green potato. I guarantee you have eaten some with no ill effects. Eat too much though, and you will die. But green potato contains a chemical commonly understood to be a poison whereas too much CO2 or water simply results in metabolic imbalances that make you sick or kill you. Two different processes there but people like to over-simplify science, medicine and vocabulary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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