We, the Global Young Greens are more than 90 member organisations from around the globe and are fighting for the future of us all at COP 28 and beyond. In these crucial weeks we demand:
The Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels
Advocating for the phasing out of fossil fuels at COP 28, rather than a mere phasing down, is imperative for the urgent mitigation of climate change. The Global Young Greens assert that a decisive shift away from fossil fuels is essential to align with the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement.
Phasing out, as opposed to phasing down, sends a clear signal of commitment to a sustainable future. This transition demands accelerated investments in renewable energy sources, fostering innovation and creating green jobs. It reflects an acknowledgment of the finite nature of fossil fuel resources and the pressing need to prevent catastrophic climate impacts. Furthermore, due to their limited amount and the immense damage they are doing to the planet and therefore natural resources, it is also an economic and financial risk to stick to fossil fuels in 2023. They are no safe investment and will increase risks for those investing or basing business on them in no time. For fossil fuel producing countries, switching to other industries such as renewable energies early will reduce the risk of economic crises as the rest of the world transitions away from fossil fuels. It is therefore in the long-term interest of the populations of oil- and gas producing countries to transition too.
By taking a bold stance at COP 28, nations can signal a commitment to break free from fossil fuel dependency, mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. This approach aligns with the urgency expressed by scientific assessments and underscores the responsibility of nations with historically higher emissions to lead the way. The Global Young Greens urge world leaders to embrace this transformative shift, emphasising the moral and ethical imperative to protect the planet for current and future generations.
Loss and Damage
Particularly in nations that experience the devastating consequences of climate change and natural disasters, such as floods, e.g. the striking example of the 2018 flood in the Nabeul region of Tunisia, the irreparable losses and the significant damage are manifested alarmingly.
With this in mind, Loss and Damage represent an urgent call to action on climate justice. It underscores the disproportionate impact of climate change on younger generations, who inherit a world shaped by the failures of previous policies. For us, addressing Loss and Damage requires a holistic approach that not only acknowledges the immediate consequences of man-made climate change, but also emphasises the intergenerational responsibility to rectify and prevent further harm.
While the creation of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility after COP 27 is paramount, it is not enough. The Global Young Greens demand a dedicated financial mechanism to address the severe consequences of climate change that vulnerable communities face. This facility must be adequately funded, transparent, and accessible to those most affected, prioritising the needs of developing nations and marginalised communities. It should operate on principles of climate justice, recognizing historical responsibility and ensuring that financial assistance goes beyond mere adaptation efforts. Our demand insists on contributions from high-emitting nations to this facility, emphasising the importance of collective responsibility in mitigating and compensating for the unavoidable Loss and Damage inflicted by climate change.
Acknowledging the opportunity costs of not taking action is equally crucial. Inaction can result in environmental degradation, economic instability, and the loss of valuable opportunities for sustainable development. Inaction and failure to prevent further damage has the same consequences as actively harming the environment, and we stopped having the ground to claim ignorance of that back in 191.
Amplifying Global South Youth Voices
Recognizing the urgent need for climate justice, we must actively address the multi-faceted challenges faced by youth from the Global South. Bring forth our voices in a space that encourages intergenerational and intercultural dialogues, fostering ecological knowledge, community, and systemic narrative change.
It is imperative to amplify the voices of youth from the Global South, create spaces for intergenerational and intercultural dialogues that promote ecological knowledge, community building, and the transformation of systemic narratives. This inclusivity is vital for the development of just and effective climate policies.
Recognize the challenges posed by language barriers, financial constraints, and information gaps that limit meaningful participation in the policy-making process. We need to make climate discussions more accessible by dismantling these barriers. Through addressing language differences by increased offers for translation, including offers suitable for observers, financial constraints in more funding for youth delegates and observers from the Global South, and information gaps through communication of official UN channels that reduces barriers of language and anticipated knowledge; we aim to empower and include diverse voices in every stage of the policy-making process — from planning to creation and implementation.
Violence, Extractivism, and Vulnerable Communities
The urgency of climate justice mandates a thorough examination of the interwoven issues of colonialism, financial exploitation, and the relentless assault on indigenous territories.
Delving into the intricacies of financial colonialism reveals a system that exploits natural resources and perpetuates an unsustainable development model through debts and economic control. This financial oppression becomes a critical focal point in understanding the root causes of environmental exploitation and the urgent need for systemic change.
The escalating violence against land-and-territory defenders, particularly evident in Latin America as the deadliest region for defenders, requires thorough scrutiny. Uncovering the roots of this violence leads us to the relentless pursuit of extractivist agendas. Multinational corporations, in collaboration with corrupt political structures, contribute to a cycle of violence that disproportionately affects the most vulnerable communities.
We must carry out anthropological, psychological, sociological, demographic, economic, political, ecological and public health studies to understand better how the climate crises impacts individuals differently depending on their gender, their age, their economic situation, their origin and ethnicity, migration status, mental health, religious beliefs, access to resources, education, and other factors.
We need the strong representation of these groups in the negotiations and UNFCCC structures to really ensure that their voices are heard. This should not only be represented in the party delegations but also be ensured through a stronger representation of Civil Society Organisation.
Addressing Climate-Induced Human Mobility as a Social Justice Imperative
The escalating impact of climate change, particularly in the form of climate induced human mobility, requires urgent attention and comprehensive policies. Recognizing that climate justice is inherently intertwined with social justice, we must prioritise the development and implementation of robust strategies to address the multifaceted challenges posed by displacement and migration due to environmental factors.
The urgency lies in formulating and implementing policies that not only recognize climate-induced human mobility as a non-economic loss but also actively work towards safeguarding the rights and dignity of those affected. Such policies should extend beyond economic considerations, embracing a holistic approach that acknowledges the intersectionality of the issue, such as gender, age, ethnicity, and economic status.
An interdisciplinary understanding, considering the diverse impacts on different segments of society, is fundamental for crafting policies that are not only effective but also equitable and inclusive.
Climate and Biodiversity
The climate crisis and biodiversity are closely linked, and their complex interaction requires a deep understanding of environmental science to develop effective solutions to preserve the planet and its inhabitants. Biodiversity is also inherently social, as many human societies live part of ecosystems. These societies, who are often indigenous or otherwise marginalised, are defenders of the ecosystems they live in. They need international support in their defence of crucial biodiversity, instead of repression and seizing their land in the name of climate mitigation. The REDD+ system and the carbon credit systems of previous COPs need to be revised to better support biodiversity stewards and stop harming them. Mangrove forests, and ocean kelp forests are especially important ecosystems that need greater protection.
The Power of Knowledge
The current generation of young people holds the key to addressing the climate crisis and safeguarding our planet for future generations. We believe that individuals are more likely to take meaningful actions when they are well-informed. By providing comprehensive climate education, we can equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to understand the climate crisis, its root causes, and its far-reaching consequences. Climate education should be integrated into the entire educational system, from early childhood to university level.
Human actions are often driven by self-interest. By illustrating how sustainable practices contribute to survival and prosperity, climate education can inspire individuals to take climate-friendly actions.
Climate education should highlight the myriad advantages of preserving our planet, such as improved health, cleaner air and water, and a more stable climate. These benefits extend to the well-being and prosperity of current and future generations.
Climate education can serve as a catalyst for the development of green jobs and the growth of green economies. By preparing the youth with the necessary skills and knowledge, we can drive the transition to a more sustainable and equitable future.
We as Global Young Greens therefore:
- Recognize the urgent need for climate justice. We must actively address the multi-faceted challenges faced by Global South youth. Amplifying their voices in spaces encouraging intergenerational and intercultural dialogues is crucial. This inclusivity is vital for the development of just and effective climate policies.
- Acknowledge the complex relationship between the climate crisis, gender dynamics, biodiversity and climate-related loss and damage through interdisciplinary and intersectional research and holistic solutions.
- Recall that the urgency for climate justice goes hand-in-hand with addressing intertwined issues like colonialism, financial exploitation, and the relentless assault on indigenous territories. Dismantling financial colonialism, which exploits natural resources and sustains an unsustainable development model, is a critical step. Simultaneously, tackling the escalating violence against land-and-territory defenders, particularly in Latin America, requires a thorough examination of extractivist agendas driven by multinational corporations and corrupt political structures.
- Acknowledge that climate-induced human mobility is not merely an environmental concern; it is a social justice imperative. We must implement policies that recognize it as a non-economic loss and prioritise the rights and dignity of those affected. These policies should take a holistic approach, acknowledging the intersectionality of the issue across gender, age, ethnicity, and economic status.
- Call on our Nations and our Governments to act for climate education as an investment in our collective future.
- Advocate for inclusive, youth-driven solutions, pushing for a fair distribution of resources and accountability to ensure a sustainable and equitable future.
Our urgent call for climate justice demands immediate action and comprehensive policies and we are here to fight for it!