The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a well-timed blueprint for action. Decision makers must now pay attention — a nascent youth movement is showing them how.
“You can’t ignore science.” Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg addressed French parliament on 23 July 2019.
…as September draws to a close, world leaders will assemble in New York City for a climate summit convened by UN secretary-general António Guterres, where the IPCC’s latest findings will also be considered. As the IPCC report points out, the global mean surface temperature increased by about 0.87 °C (with a likely range of 0.75–0.99 °C) between 1850 and 2015. Guterres wants leaders to come to New York with concrete plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to reach net zero by 2050. But whether they are capable of this — or willing to do so — is an open question.
Young people care about climate
As each of the UN conventions faces continuing challenges, the IPCC can at least be assured of support from the next generation. It has garnered a following among the growing international youth climate movement. Members keenly absorb every new report, including participants in the school strike for climate, led by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg.
Thunberg makes a point of namechecking the IPCC and quoting paragraph and page numbers in speeches, as she did in an address to the French parliament at the end of last month.
As government delegates get ready for Delhi, Nairobi and New York, they must prepare to answer why, if children can understand the meaning of the IPCC assessments, adults cannot do the same?
The youth climate movement’s members are brave, and they are right. It has been almost three decades since the three UN conventions — on biodiversity, climate and desertification — were agreed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. And it has been 31 years since the IPCC was created to advise decision makers. Yet environmental promises have not been matched by meaningful action.
Younger generations know, perhaps better than the adults, that the world might not have another three decades to prevent climate impacts that will be even more serious than those we face now. Politicians must act now. SOURCE