Young people have an ethical and moral claim on the future, as those who will be most impacted by climate change. As the impacts of climate change shape global politics, communities and the natural environment, there can be no delay in responding to the climate emergency as we approach the ‘last chance’ COP. The global community must do so, using climate justice as the foundation for future action.
Climate justice includes that those who have benefited and still benefit from emissions in the form of ongoing economic development and increased wealth, mainly in industrialized countries, follow their ethical obligation to share benefits with those who are today suffering from the effects of these emissions. But climate justice is also about ensuring a just transition that considers marginalized people or people with lower income and their needs for help in the transition to a carbon-neutral world.
Global Young Greens is determined to ensure the planet remains habitable, and just for young people today and for future generations. It is with this philosophy that we recognize the disproportionate impact of climate change on certain countries and communities, as well as the need to hold those that accelerated the climate crisis to account. The current global power imbalance, which is monopolized by wealthy countries who have historically benefited, and continue to benefit, from extractivist activities serves to perpetuate climate change. It is with these considerations that we are issuing this statement in the hopes that the voices we represent, those often excluded from the decision-making process and yet are the most affected by the results, will be accounted for. Therefore, we will endure, within our delegation and beyond, to bring the voices of people from the Global South at the front and centre of these negotiations.
Commitment to binding agreements and targets
We need more ambitious action than ever before to deal with the climate crises.
We demand legally binding targets!
The success of the 2015 Paris Agreement was built on voluntary agreements. With the effects of climate change becoming more tangible, dangerous and impacting increasing numbers of livelihoods every day, the Global Young Greens call upon the COP26 attendees, international bodies, private sector actors and national governments to be more ambitious than ever. This means a commitment to legally binding agreements and targets on climate change, and to legislate for emission reduction targets by 2035 in their respective jurisdictions, by enforcing their current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Any new or existing target should consider the current scientific evidence of the reduction needed to keep the global temperature below 1.5 degrees.
Commitment to a carbon budget
We call for all COP attendees to establish a universal carbon budget for their respective jurisdictions!
Within the last ten years, a global carbon budget has a concept used to mediate between scientific understanding of carbon and policymakers. This budget estimates the total quantity of CO2-equivalent emissions that can be emitted in order to maintain a given limit – currently 1.5 degrees this century.
Only a small portion of countries who have committed to the targets set in the Paris Agreement have accepted and created policy in response to an allocated carbon budget for their countries. The Global Young Greens are requesting that the attendees of COP26 establish a universal carbon budget for their respective jurisdictions as a legislative framework with committed targets to achieve sustainable carbon emission reduction.
Commitment to a ‘polluter pays’ policy
Create a Green Climate fund administered with the full participation by the representatives of the most vulnerable groups.
It is a commonly accepted principle in environmental law, as well as receiving support from regional organizations such as the OECD and the EU, that polluters should pay for damage to the natural environment. The Global Young Greens should call for an international framework that will operate with the same principle. The excessive pollution and extraction of multinational non-state actors who have the capacity to exploit different laws and regulations must urgently be addressed at an international level. One suggestion offered by the Green movement is that a portion of the revenue generated by this proposed framework be ‘ring-fenced’ for a reformed and revitalised Green Climate Fund, administered transparently and with accountability, with full participation by the representatives of the most vulnerable groups. This is not meant as a way to sideline climate action, and still needs to be aligned with a dramatic decrease in pollution.
Commitment to climate adaptation and climate reparations
We expect the countries that benefited from the polluting to pay their fair share to achieve a just transition globally.
The empowerment of marginalized and disadvantaged people and intergenerational justice are pillars of the Global Young Greens movement. To this end, the Global Young Greens believe it is necessary that there are agreements from wealthy countries to actively provide commensurate assistance to low and middle-income countries that are disproportionately affected by climate change. In consideration of the various capacities of each country, there should be a concerted effort by high-income countries to agree to a minimum level of monetary (as agreed to in the Paris Agreement), resource and technological assistance to the communities directly affected.
The Global Young Greens believe in the concept of climate reparations; a compensation scheme for regions and peoples who have been, and continue to be, affected by climate change and social injustice. The Global Young Greens call for reparations to be made by the perpetrators with consideration of social and climate justice, accounting for historical and present grievances (both systemic and isolated instances) that have contributed to the insecure status of peoples and regions today. It is our strong belief that the Green movement does not consider social and climate justice as mutually exclusive, and reparations for one must consider the other for a just outcome. This process should involve full participation by the representatives of the most impacted groups and should be administered transparently.
Commitment to meaningful representation of marginalized communities
Achieve real climate justice in fighting already existing inequalities and addressing the specific needs of marginalized groups.
The Global Young Greens are committed to grassroots, participatory and global democracy, and in particular empowering young people to participate and build more democratic societies. This must be reflected in the mechanisms of representation used in COP26 and future climate summits. Marginalized communities are often excluded from formal and informal representation, and if given a voice it is often ignored in favour of hegemonic state actors. The Global Young Greens are demanding a proper and full, participatory representation with actual decision-making capacity for those most affected by climate change, including but not limited to; the global south, small island nations, indigenous communities and young people.
We also acknowledge that gender minorities and women are affected by climate change more severely. Women are exposed to higher risks for their health in the heating of the globe, for example. Other aspects are reinforced through gender hierarchies, such as the higher risk for dying from famine. Additionally, we need to pay attention that they won’t suffer even more during the transition to a climate neutral world. Climate justice therefore needs to include gender justice.
Commitment to serious emission limits for international aviation and shipping
Emissions of international ship and air transport are not regulated, just because they don’t fit into individual nations’ contributions. Cap and reduce trans-national shipping and aviation emissions now!
Transnational shipping and aviation emissions have so far not been part of the climate negotiations because the Paris Agreement is based solely on national emission reduction goals. This is despite the fact that international sea and air transport would both be among the top 10 emitters if listed as countries. The climate effect of aviation is disproportionally high because emissions at air traffic altitudes and the resulting contrails have a larger warming effect than the 2% of global CO2 emissions that are often cited. The only emission reduction goals existing for those two sectors are voluntary, self-set goals by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and the IMO (International Maritime Organization), which are so lax that they are failing to prevent the continuing annual growth of these emissions. The Global Young Greens therefore demand that ambitious emission limits for international shipping and aviation are set and enforced.
This COP is our last chance to act! We won’t accept unambitious goals and delay real climate action. We demand climate justice NOW!