Towards well below 2°C?

Every year, the Conference of Parties (COP) takes place: it is the climate conference of the United Nations, where the delegations of the states try to achieve a common progress in the global climate politics. In 2015, the Paris Agreement adopted at COP21 defined the commitment to limit global temperature rise until the end of this century to “well below 2°C” [by the end of this century in respect of pre-industrial levels] , and aiming for 1.5°C. It was viewed as a success, because it was signed by all UN-countries in a common effort to tackle climate change. However, there are several points of criticism to it: 2 degrees are reputed to be insufficient to avoid dangerous warming according to scientific sources ( 1,2,3 )
, the agreement is legally binding, but there are no sanctions if it is violated and it lacks an effective implementation or supervision plan (4) Until 2018, common standards to implement the Paris Agreement should be finalized. Moreover, each country should outline and communicate their updated commitments (NDCs, Nationally Determined Contributions) for post-2020 climate actions In 2023 progress should be assessed. At present, we are running late on the schedule, or sometimes going in the wrong direction altogether [Business as Usual emission scenarios (IPCC)] . Although climate negotiations have been taking place for over 20 years, with both successes as well as failures (Copenhagen Conference in 2009),the outcomes have been neither sufficient nor fast enough to halt further global warming and its effects.

YOUNGO - youth in action!

The official youth constituency to the UNFCCC brings together a global network of groups and individuals identifying themselves as youth and raise their voice on climate change. During COPs, members of YOUNGO lobby for policies, deliver speeches, participate in actions, blog and engage on social media and interact with the secretariat. They also keep an overview of what is happening in climate negotiations and whether climate policies discussed are on track. The work is organised in working groups, e.g. policy, and subgroups, in this case ranging from adaptation to finance, gender or human rights. Every morning at COP, YOUNGO has a council meeting to share information and take decisions. During COP11 in 2005, young people started to get organized for the first time. Since then, the Conference of Youth has taken place annually and the International Climate Youth Movement has been an advocate for youth at negotiations. In 2009, this movement received formal representation through YOUNGO. Being an observer constituency, it cannot vote but has the power to represent youth in meetings with officials or in climate negotiations.

Climate politics in 2018 - COP24

What will happen now? The responsibility to develop the next steps in climate policy lies with the COP 24 taking place this year in Katowice, Poland. There is much skepticism on the ability of Poland to successfully guide the negotiations: its government endorses an energy policy based on (“clean”) coal. Also, the conference will take place in Silesia, one of the most productive mining regions in Europe. One more reason more to raise our voices through an LCOY to contribute to more ambitious climate agreements! More information on the last COP und COY: (German)