COP21 Updates Part III: Youth, Focus on Transport, Cities for Climate, and Oceans Day

Youth, 1.5 Campaign, and #EduDay

“1.5 to stay alive! 1.5 to stay alive!”– This was the motto that youth at the Paris climate talks were chanting repeatedly, expressing the urgent need to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees to avoid catastrophic climate events.

This was in response to a “1.5 Campaign” organized by leaders at the Climate Vulnerability Forum (CVF), an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to climate change effects. Participating countries of the CVF include the Philippines, Maldives, Afghanistan, and Costa Rica. The Forum serves as a platform for participating governments to join forces and act on climate change. The 1.5 Campaign was launched by CVF to gather support to the global call of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees.

According to Emmanuel de Guzman, Climate Change Commissioner of the Philippines, “We need to limit warming to a strict minimum to safeguard communities and the world. Less than 1°C of warming has already triggered scores of dangerous and unmanageable impacts. We hope this campaign will help to convince other countries to call for a sensible decision on the temperature goal at the Paris climate change conference”.

youth at cop21
Youth at COP21 voicing their concerns about keeping global warming to below 1.5 degrees. The youth have also drawn circles around their right eyes to symbolize “zero carbon emissions” by 2050.

An entire day at the two-week climate conference was dedicated to education. Teaching young generations about climate change and how to mitigate its effects is vital. According to Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, “We must educate today”s children to adapt to the immediate challenges of climate change and to understand the future roles they can – and must – play in meeting them”. The UN is urging the public to use “#EduDay” to join the conversation on how we can use education to meet the challenges of climate change.

Focus on Transport: 10 Initiatives to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Various representatives from the transportation sector came together at COP21 to discuss initiatives that can reduce carbon emissions and make the transportation system more sustainable. This effort came as a result of rapidly increasing demand for public and freight transportation, especially in developing countries. Major initiatives include:

Read more about the 10 initiatives here.

Global Mayors Call for Divestment at “Cities for Climate” Conference

A group of mayors from cities around the world have issued a letter to encourage other cities to divest from fossil fuels. The letter includes the mayors of: Portland, Oregon; Bristol City, UK; Moreland City, Australia; Boxtel, the Netherlands; Santa Monica, California; and more. In 2013, Seattle became the first city to commit to divesting, followed by Canberra, the first national capital to join the movement. Cities have experienced firsthand the problems brought about by fossil fuels, from urban air pollution to rising sea levels.

Overall, more than 50 cities have committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment. Total divestment commitments have surged to over 500 institutions worldwide, representing $3.4 trillion in assets.

Oceans Day

 Today is Oceans Day at COP21, and it aims to advance climate and oceans agenda at COP21 and beyond. Major objectives of these agendas include:

  • Highlight the major climate-related oceans issues, with emphasis on the impacts on the most vulnerable peoples and ecosystems
  • Foster political leadership with the engagement of high-level leaders around the world
  • Catalyze and share solutions as part of the global portfolio of actions
  • Mobilize collaboration in the development of a five-year strategic plan on oceans and climate

Header Image Source: “Flooding Stunt 008” by flickr user Karen Simmons, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Image of youth at COP21: Climate Nexus twitter post

Categories: Climate Action
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