The COP21 Paris Climate Agreement: The Good and the Ugly.
Highlights of Day 12 at COP21
• The Paris Agreement: “Not bad but not bad is not what we were rooting for” - Yeb Saño
• We abandoned COP21 on the last morning of negotiations to join 15,000 people in the streets for the D12 mobilizations
• What’s next?
We have a new climate change agreement
After two long weeks, and the customary extra day that these negotiations inevitably bleed into, we have a Paris Agreement. We have felt every emotion over these past weeks, and now they are wrapped up in this 31 page document that is supposed to aid us in turning the course of catastrophic climate change.
How did it all turn out?
Well, it is the most all-encompassing climate deal in our planet’s history. Through the hard work of frontline communities and global movements, there are encouraging elements in this new agreement. Most notably, the agreement includes a ‘hat-tip’ to 1.5C as a goal for maximum warming, along with a promise to keep warming “well below” 2C. There is also a new mechanism in place to increase currently inadequate ambition to achieve those temperature goals. This comes in the form of a first ‘stocktake’ in 2018, then 5-year review cycles with increasing ambition after that. Common But Differentiated Responsibility, a central component of Mitigation and Adaptation, is a win for developing countries. Support for developing countries has been made clearer through a work plan - The Paris Committee on Capacity Building.
We fought for a text that would include language around human rights, rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the rights of people livingunder occupation to be included in the legally binding portion of the agreement. Unfortunately, these are now only in the preamble (the least binding part of the text) and “people living under occupation” has been completely removed from the text. We fought for Loss and Damage to be recognized as a standalone article distinct from Adaptation, and it is, but now with a clause stating countries won’t be liable or ordered to provide compensation. We fought for a commitment to decarbonization by 2050, but instead we have a vague and diluted commitment to reach emissions neutrality by the “second half of this century.” If you are still trying to wrap your head around what this all means, there is a great infographic by Climate Trackers here.
After a long and frankly exhausting two weeks of negotiations, we sat in the overflow room next to the main Plenary Hall, watching world leaders and civil society erupt into applause as the agreement passed. It felt historic, and it was, but what rang most true were the words from the delegates of South Africa, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. This agreement fails those bearing the brunt of climate change; the “countless catalogs of grief” for countries like the Philippines.
This agreement brings the international community together around our shared fight against climate change, but our movement will have to push for every victory along the way.
We know that the Paris agreement isn’t based on equity or justice. There are positive things that come out of this, but at the end of the day we can’t hedge our bets on international conferences. The power to make transformative change comes from the original caretakers of the land, those on the frontlines, and those standing with them. On the last day of COP21 we stood with 15,000 people in the streets of Paris as an act of mass civil disobedience.
The Red Lines action was planned for the last day of COP21 to demonstrate where the real power lies, who has the solutions to climate change and who will be resisting, fighting and creating change around the world. These actions were particularly empowering and beautiful because protests are currently banned in France due to the State of Emergency. The actions were as much about climate justice as they were about people reclaiming their right to protest.
At the sound of a first foghorn, thousands occupied a street, flanked by the the Arc de Triomphe and the city’s financial district.Red banners, the lengths of city blocks, were unfurled. Another foghorn sounded and people began to lay flowers; then, a moment of silence was observed to pay tribute to the victims of climate change.
The brass bands echoed the heartbeat of the movement and we chanted about climate justice, anti-capitalism, and democracy. After weeks in the conference centre, it was indescribably beautiful to take to the streets and feel the power of the people around us.
We then took our Red Lines to the Eiffel Tower and had an impromptu sit-in. This is where we learned how hollow and disappointing the outcome of the negotiating process was.
Where do we go from here?
At the Closing Plenary of the Paris agreement, the South African representative read out a Nelson Mandela quote:
“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”
After a 21-year-long negotiating process, we now have the broadest climate agreement in history but it still falls so far short of what our planet and its people need.
On our part, we plan to spend the next couple days sleeping, reconnecting with our loved ones back home, and taking some much needed time to recover. Then, we’ll bring a deepened resolve to the work we are doing in our communities across Canada - from fossil fuel divestment campaigning, to stopping tar sands expansion, to building a just transition to a clean energy future.
We’ll also be reaching out, planning, and getting ready to take bolder action next year. Now, we get to define what the Paris Agreement really means. We hope that you will join the fight for climate justice in the local struggles and campaigns near you.
See you in the streets...
- The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP21
As we finished sending this Daily, the Paris Agreement was adopted. This is our update from yesterday, but we promise more soon from this last day of negotiations! You can follow along live here.
Highlights from Day 11 - COP21 in Paris
• We bring your voices to the negotiating table in a hella epic way.
• Running on adrenaline and caffeine.
COP’s time is up
Along with hundreds of other youth attending COP21, we set our phone alarms to go off in sync and marched off site together,
meeting up with non-accredited youth in front of Le Bourget to show that real power lies in people’s hands. Powerful young leaders from the Global South called out the false solutions of COP and their disregard for Indigenous and frontline communities. Most powerfully, the new & inspiring Keep It in the Ground declaration was read out.
With just a day left of negotiations, many of the most important elements of the text are missing or watered down. We came into COP21 knowing it was a broken process, but the agreement’s status at this point it still a disappointment. Just like us, youth around the world are feeling this frustration and doubling down on their promises to go home and build solutions from the ground up in their own communities.
Drawing our red line
At 3pm civil society members at COP gathered in a mass action that took over the main walkway of the conference space with people holding a long red line of fabric. Over a hundred activists filled the space with a heartbeat sound as they beat their chests saying the five red lines civil society wants the Paris outcome to respect: “equity, justice, finance, zero emissions, and compliance.”
Canada, don’t COP out
We also delivered 6,000+ signatures to the Canadian government, calling on them to commit to reaching zero emissions by 2050 at COP 21 - pulling from the over 1000 names our petition gathered since being launch just three days ago, and those supplied by our friends 350.org and Leadnow.ca from pre-existing petitions with a consistent ask.
In UN climate change negotiations, countries must lift their placards to be heard. So we delivered the signatures as names onplacards because these calls for climate justice deserve a place in the UN negotiations. We read the petition out loud to the government representatives at the Canadian delegation’s office, and then took turns reading out the names of those who signed as we literally covered the room in placards. We hope this is a reminder to the negotiators who are signing this deal that this is about more than the numbers, this is about lives.
It was our last chance to remind the government who they’re working for both in these last hours of COP21 and when they get home. We managed to get included in Friday night’s edition of the National (Skip to 19:50) so we’re hoping they heard us loud and clear.
We’re not going to lie, sometimes it has felt pretty lonely here at COP21. Sometimes it feels as though the 17 of us are pretty small relative to the power of the Canadian government, not to mention the fossil fuel industry sharing the table. That shifted today, bringing all your names in the room with us. So thank you, for all your support and general badassery back home. We are so excited to get home and work with you all to hold the government to their 1.5C commitment!
The end of COP is near, and negotiators are in another round of informal all-night meetings to hash out the rest of the deal. As per UNFCCC tradition, things are behind schedule and lot of important aspects are still up in the air. We’re self-medicating with caffeine and ClimateTracker’s Playlist to Survive the Final Hours of COP21.
Though we didn’t have high expectations for the deal, things are looking fairly bleak from where we’re sitting. The most concerning aspect right now is the lack of transparency in how the final decisions are being made. The French Presidency has strayed from convention and opted for all meetings to take place behind closed doors instead of holding open Comite de Paris sessions. This has the CYD and many other observers concerned about what backroom trades are being made.
A few of us snuck into the back of one of the Global South country bloc meetings late on Friday night and it was a stark reminder
of who holds the power in these negotiations. The group was lamenting the lack of information that had been shared with them. One delegate remarked, “we’re sitting here debating our position on [adaptation], but for all we know final decisions have already been made and put in the text.”
Needless to say, we ended December 11th, feeling overwhelmingly disappointed in world leaders. But at the same time we were prepared to fight. At our meeting that night, we made plans to join some historic mobilizations on the streets of Paris to demonstrate the resolve and determination of the global climate justice movement. If there’s one thing we know for sure now, it’s that change won’t come from politicians conversing behind closed doors -- it’ll come from people mobilizing on the streets and out on the land.
PS -- As we mentioned before, the negotiations are in their final stages right now. For up to the minute updates, follow the Guardian’s live-blog or else we’ll be tweeting up a storm on our Twitter account. Fingers crossed for an 11th hour miracle, and talk to you all soon!
Highlights from Day 10 at COP21 in Paris
• There’s a new draft for the agreement!
• Now that Canada has committed to 1.5C, we celebrate the retirement of fossil fuels!
• Canada is back (on the Fossil of the Day stage)
There’s a new draft of the agreement!
Yesterday, the wifi at Le Bourget nearly kicked it when the draft text was released and everyone swarmed around computers to read it. The consensus in our circles is not great. This new text saves appearances but not the earth. Still open to negotiators is the choice between aiming for warming “below 2C”, “well below 2C” or “below 1.5C”. The implications of this are enormous, particularly for low-lying island nations and communities at home and around the world already feeling the effects of a warming planet.
Additionally, we have seen the removal of vital language around human rights from the text. This includes “the rights of indigenous peoples, migrants, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and under occupation”. While this language appears in the preamble, it was completely removed from Article 2, meaning it’s no longer legally binding.
Many of us came to Paris demanding a just, ambitious text. A text that reflects the needs of those most vulnerable people to the impacts of climate change. A text that is legally binding, that places the onus on affluent countries to contribute their fair share to climate finance, and a text that allows for ambition to increase over time, at the pace we need it, and not allowing anyone to backslide. As it stands, there is still potential for the agreement to go either way, and these last 48 hours will be a mad dash from climate justice organizers on the inside to push towards a better outcome.
We hound our premiers (Maritimes Edition)
Bright and early, we made our way to Le Bourget to confront Brian Gallant, the Premier of New Brunswick. Lauren delivered a package to him on behalf of the Peoples’ Lawsuit Youth of Elsipogtog, a First Nations community who demand a 25 year moratorium on fracking within the province. Leader of the Liberal Government in New Brunswick, Premier Gallant was elected with the understanding that a moratorium would be placed upon fracking in the province. The honesty of this promise and longevity of the moratorium have since come into question, especially when one considers the Government’s recent move to fire Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eilish Cleary, who was researching Glyphosate levels in New Brunswick’s water at the time of her termination, and was expected to publish a report calling for a further extension of the moratorium in question. You can read more of that story here
We were so honoured to have been able to carry that message, and make Gallant squirm a little.
We celebrate the retirement of the fossil fuel industry!
This week, Canada came out in support of a 1.5C target and we took a moment to have a cheeky celebration! A 2C commitment and a promise to implement free, prior and informed First Nations consent was already a death knell for tar sands expansion projects like TransCanada’s Energy East or Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain, so a 1.5C commitment absolutely is. A real commitment to ambition means reviewing INDCs pre-2020 so we are on the path to 1.5C.
So, we hosted a retirement party for the fossil fuel industry and it’s long, dirty history. Torrance gave a gracious send off toast: “We won’t leave fossil fuels out in the cold. There’s a special place they can stay forever… in the ground!”
Diane also said some words of farewell: “In Canada, fossil fuels was actually our boss for a long time - but we’re seeing some exciting new leadership coming forward. Wind power and solar energy, who have some awesome credentials - respecting Indigenous rights and the land, building green economies, and keeping our air and water clean.”
Trudeau and McKenna may not be admitting yet what a 1.5C commitment really means, but our movement is ready to lead the way and show them. It means a zero emissions, fossil free economy by 2050, and we’re going to hold them to it. http://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/canada-commit-to-zero-emissions-by-2050
P.S. Jane Goodall dropped by our action and it took all we had to keep going and not swarm her for autographs. Tears were shed.
Webinar with Alberta Youth
Taking It Global hosted a webinar taking questions from youth across the world with Matt and Nimra from Alberta as speakers on the panel, reporting from COP21 grounds. Alberta youth presented key messages from a white paper with contributions from youth from across the province to CYD :
• The need to increase climate change education
• Alberta needing to lead by example by phasing out fossil fuels immediately
• Alberta doing their part to keep warming below 2C
• Canada providing compensation and assistance to vulnerable countries as much as possible
Massive sit-in for Climate Justice
Civil society organizations staged a 500+ person sit-in right outside the main negotiating room. Activists, policy wonks, scientists
and youth joined forces, touting signs calling for rich countries to pay their fair share and to install an enforceable 1.5C target. Mic checks and chants were led by activists from communities on the front lines of climate change from around the world.
Gabriel, Atiya, Torrance, Bronwen and Ben all participated, saying it was one of the more powerful moments they’ve had at the
negotiations thus far. For a short time, the balance of voices in COP21 felt fair, with the messages of those most affected reverberating through these halls of power.
An especially striking moment was when Yeb Sano, the Philippines negotiator turned activist for famous for speaking the bold truths that others ignore addressed the crowd saying how the real power didn't come from the negotiating space but the movement holding them accountable outside.
Canada is Back (on stage for the Fossil of the Day Awards)
We wrote a little bit yesterday about how Canada has been a behind-the-scenes bully alongside the rest of the wealthy countries known as the ‘Umbrella Group’, and this behaviour continued today. The group acts as a negotiating bloc and they have been pushing to have a clause in the agreement that would prevent the most vulnerable countries from receiving compensation for climate damages that can’t be prevented or adapted to, FOREVER. The words *in perpetuity* were actually being thrown around, so this is some next-level villain stuff.
This bad behaviour is a prime example Canada’s Jekyll/Hyde behaviour at COP21 this year. They publicly go to bat for including
human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples in the text, but in closed sessions they have advocated for things like this compensation clause and removal of the rights of occupied peoples. Some argue this is just an unavoidable part of the wheeling and dealing of negotiations. But if our parents taught us anything, doing something because others are too definitely doesn’t make it OK.
Luckily the fine folks at Climate Action Network International agree with us, and Canada received a second place ‘Fossil of the Day’ award along with New Zealand and the U.S for their attempt to forever shirk responsibility for the climate damages they’ve caused. Diane Connors of the CYD went up on stage to accept the award on behalf of Canada as part of a very colourful ceremony.
Macleans, CBC and other mainstream Canadian media have been quick to jump on the story because it conflicts with their ongoing “Canada is Back” narrative. Word on the street here at COP21 is that McKenna and her team are very freaked out about the hole it has poked in their image. We’re hoping the pressure will incite them to clean up their act.
CYD in the Media
Desmog Canada, McKenna under fire for Energy East questions at Paris briefing.
Alternatives Journal, Everything is at stake for Canada’s youth
Station 14 Kingston, Trudeau disappoints Canadian Youth Delegation
Moments forts de la journée, le 9 décembre — COP21 à Paris:
• Une nouvelle version du text a été présentée!
• Nous avons fêté la retraite des énergie fossiles, puisque le Canada a donné son appui à l’effort de limiter le réchauffement climatique à 1.5C
• Le Canada est de retour (à sa fâcheuse habitude de gagne le Prix fossile)
• As-tu signé notre pétition?
Il y a une nouvelle version du text!
Hier, une nouvelle version du text a été présentée. Le consensus qui resort des groupes qu’on côtoie n’est pas bon. Alors que le texte réussit peut-être de sauver la réputation de nos gouvernements devant nos médias, il ne sauve pas la terre. Les négociateurs peuvent encore décider entre limiter le réchauffement climatique à “sous 2C”, “beaucoup moins de 2C” ou “sous 1.5C”. Les implications de cette décision sont énormes particulièrement pour les petits états insulaires en développement et d’autres communautés qui vivent déjà les effets des changements climatiques.
De plus, des parties cruciales sur les droits humains ont disparu du texte. Même si nous retrouvons ces engagements dans le préambule, ils ont été retirés de l’article 2 ce qui ne les rend plus légalement contraignant.
Nous sommes venu à Paris pour exiger un accord juste et ambitieux. Un accord qui tient en compte les besoins des peuples les plus vulnérables aux changements climatiques. Un accord légalement contraignant qui place la responsabilité sur les pays riches de faire leur juste dans le financement de l’action climatique. Un accord qui force les pays à augmenter leur ambitions avec le temps, à la vitesse requise pour sauver la planète et qui interdit les pays de réduire leur engagements. L’accord a encore le potentiel d’être potable ou d’être désastreux, c’est pourquoi dans les prochains jours les militants dans la COP21 organisent et poussent les gouvernements pour un meilleur texte.
Nous pourchassons nos premiers ministres provinciaux (Éditions Maritimes)
Tôt ce matin, nous nous sommes dirigés au Bourget pour parler au premier ministre du Nouveau Brunswick Brian Gallant. Lauren lui a donné un packet de la part des Peoples’ Lawsuit Youth of Elsipogtog, une communauté autochtone qui exige un moratoire de 25 ans sur les gaz de schiste. Il était sous entendu lors des dernières élections qu’un gouvernement dirigé par Gallant mettrait en place un moratoire sur les gaz de schiste. Depuis son élection, l’honnêteté de sa promesse et la longévité du moratoire ont été remises en question. Le gouvernement a congédié le médecin-hygiéniste en chef de la province Dr. Eilish Cleary qui faisait de la recherche sur les niveaux de glyphosate dans l’eau au Nouveau Brunswick. Elle était supposée publier un rapport qui recommandait la prolongation du moratoire. Pour en savoir plus sur cette histoire.
Ce fut un grand honneur de pouvoir livrer ce message.
Nous avons fêté la retraite de l’industrie fossile!
Cette semaine, le gouvernement canadien a donné son appui à l’effort de limiter le réchauffement climatique à 1.5C. Les promesses de garder le réchauffement climatique à 2C et de mettre en oeuvre la Déclaration des Nations Unis sur les droits des peuples autochtones que le gouvernement avait déjà fait ne peut que mener à la fin de l’expansion des sables bitumineux et des projets d’oléoducs comme Energie Est et Kinder Morgan. La promesse de 1.5C ne fait que solidifier cet fait.
Highlights from Day 9 at COP21 in Paris
• Pushing back against REDD+
• Loss and Damage lost from negotiating text?
• We meet with Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne.
Can you tell McKenna that 1.5 degrees means carbon free by 2050?
Sign here to tell the Canadian government that the future we need is zero fossil fuels by 2050. The Canadian government doesn’t seem to want to admit that committing to 1.5 degrees means we have to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.
Tomorrow, we’re going to continue telling the government to commit to zero emissions by 2050 at Paris. To make sure that they hear this, though, we need to get at least *2050* Canadians to sign our petition for the government to commit to zero emissions by 2050. Can you sign here and if you already have, can you get three friends to join?
First thing in the morning, Matt and Kiki went to an anti REDD+ demonstration. Strong frontline voices from Turtle Island and the global south spoke against REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation). REDD+ is a false solution that pushes carbon offsets by privatizing forests, agriculture and water ecosystems as carbon sinks rather than cutting emissions at the source. We joined in filling the air with the sounds of “No REDD+” and “Mother Earth is not for Sale” - a powerful message to guide us through the day.
Lost and Damaged
We began our morning by joining other youth in a guerilla theater action “in search of Loss and Damage”. Loss and Damage is the language in the draft text for the Paris agreement to compensate countries who are damaged by climate change in ways adaptation cannot protect them from. These are the effects of climate change that are too late to mitigate, and impossible adapt to, like the sinking of an island or the loss of an ecosystem. We can’t have climate justice in the Paris text without loss and damage.
Holding up detective magnifying glasses, participants shouted to passing negotiators: “Have you seen loss and damage?” Unsurprisingly, rich countries have been removing references to Loss and Damage in the draft texts for years, and COP21 has been no exception.
The schoolyard bullies on the US Delegation have led their posse of wealthy countries (called the Umbrella Group, of which Canada is a member) arguing today for text that explicitly prevents vulnerable countries from pursuing compensation for loss and damage. They went so far as to use the words “in perpetuity,” making accepting their proposal a permanent kiss of death to the countries already feeling the worst impacts of climate change.
Canadian negotiators are quietly but firmly backing the US’s stance in negotiations. When asked in the stakeholder’s meeting whether Canada also spoke in support of the clause to prevent compensation, our deputy negotiator simply said “yes”. Usually they like to give justification for their actions but in this case we think she knew it’s a fundamentally indefensible position.
We expect more from our government on this, and are doing what we can to make Canada support keeping loss and damage in the text.
(The Umbrella Group when they say they can’t
afford to pay compensation for climate damages)
Today, we participated in the largest civil society rally yet on the COP21 grounds. Hundreds gathered around a fork in the road, to symbolize the choice our world leaders are making here in Paris. One fork was the pathway of doom—the one we are on now, with the current commitments made by world leaders— and lead to a future of more than 3C of warming. The other road, the pathway of hope, as lead by the world’s most vulnerable nations, gets us ambitious action to achieve 1.5C.
While we know it’s not going to be everything we need, there is still some hope that the Paris agreement could include meaningful commitments on ambition. Will the agreement include a long-term goal for decarbonization by 2050? Will the agreement include a near and medium-term plan for ramping up the currently inadequate national goals for emissions reductions? Our negotiators must choose.
In one of the most powerful moments of COP21 so far, hundreds of people held their hands up in the 1.5 degrees logo (right hand, index finger up, other fingers curled into a loop with the thumb, left hand, and five fingers up), and chanted “1.5 to stay alive”.
As we do every day, we filled the front row of today’s stakeholder meeting with the Canadian government to hold them to account. Applauding their recent support for a 1.5C aim, our very own Bronwen Tucker pressed Canada’s negotiators about whether that also means they will commit to the actions that are critical to any attempts to meet this new target, like zero emissions by 2050 and a freeze on tar sands expansion. Canada’s deputy negotiator simply chuckled and answered that we’ll have lots to discuss when we all get back home. We were less amused.
Meeting with Premier Wynne
Ben, Brenna, Kiki, Bronwen, Bethany, Sophie and Lauren met with Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Minister of Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray today for a full hour. For all of COP21, the Federal government has been insisting that they won’t make domestic policy commitments until they sit down with the provinces. Wynne and Murray promised they would take a strong leadership role when those meetings happened, and we’re ready to hold them to that promise.
In all seriousness, they were probably the most receptive politicians we’ve met so far. Outside of calling for them to block Energy East, we asked them to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the provincial level and ensure that Ontario’s carbon market revenue is spent on low-income household support and community-led renewables, rather than on corporate subsidies.
The Premier’s response on Energy East was inadequate. She repeated the false argument that we have to choose between pipelines and rail, and that a 1.5℃ target means Energy East cannot be built.
Just days ago, Quebec committed $25.5 million of the revenue from its cap and trade system to “climate solidarity” for countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. We asked Premier Wynne if we could expect a similar commitment from Ontario in the future, and she told us it’s “not outside the realm of possibility.” #Wynning?
Climate liability press conference
At the end of the day, we attended a press conference on a new report on climate law and social justice. The report, issued by West Coast Environmental Law and the Vanuatu Environmental Law Association, clarifies the liability around paying for damages caused by climate change, and explains that nations in the global south could sue fossil fuel corporations in the global north for damages related to climate change. Former CYD-er Anjali Appadurai spoke on behalf of West Coast Environmental Law. Climate law could be a powerful tool to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable, especially if leaders fail to create a strong deal here at COP21. We’ll be watching this closely.
That’s all for now! With love and solidarity from Paris,
The Canadian Youth Delegation
PS. We’re working hard to push our government towards bold leadership to address the climate crisis, but we need your help. Can you amplify our petition calling for zero emissions by 2050?
Suggested Tweet: After 10yrs as a #climatechange pariah, we need bold leadership from Canada. Join the call for #zeroby2050 http://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/canada-commit-to-zero-emissions-by-2050 #COP21Can
Highlights from Day 8 at COP21 in Paris
(La version française suit)
We have to start off by extending a heartfelt thanks to you and all of our other friends across the country. It’s been a rough week for many of us, and as we deal with long days, fatigue and some unpleasant social media backlash against our work, your messages of support and solidarity have meant so much to us.
• Minister McKenna finally met with us
• We met with Elizabeth May
We finally meet with Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna
Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and her staff met with us to discuss our ideas, proposals, values, and stories. Thank you all of your social media amplification -- they are noticing!
Over the weekend, we were thrilled to hear that our the government has been pushing for the inclusion of indigenous rights in the Paris deal — and also that they came out in support of limiting global warming to a 1.5C degree limit. These accomplishments are the victories of indigenous and frontline communities, of grassroots movements, and of youth who have been mobilizing around these issues long before politicians came on board. The more the new Liberal government listens to these groups, the better.
At our meeting, we thanked the government for their support of 1.5 degree limit but we also impressed upon them the urgent need to back-up this endorsement with an ambitious climate plan. Delegates Atiya Jaffar, and Erica Violet Lee told powerful stories about their lived experiences with climate and environmental injustice impacts in the Global South and Indigenous communities. 21 year old CYD-er, Sophie Harrison, spoke to her deep sense of disappointment in world leaders who had consistently failed to take action on climate change at COP negotiations every year for her entire life.
Our team delivered a letter calling upon the Canadian government to commit to zero emissions by 2050 and investing in a just-transition to a clean energy economy. Still, although we asked many pointed questions, our meeting with McKenna did not result in more answers for us about what kind of federal climate plans will help us reach a goal of 1.5C (or even 2C, for that matter).
Our meeting yesterday contained many bold words from Canadian officials, but few plans. The least adequate answers from McKenna and her team came in response to questions about the involvement of fossil fuel corporations at COP negotiations when they are complicit in wrecking the climate, destroying the land, and poisoning the food and water supplies of indigenous communities. We hope to continue to show Canadian cabinet members, negotiators, and premiers that climate justice means taking power away from corporations and taking leadership from Indigenous peoples and communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
We opened this dialogue yesterday, and we plan to keep it going. Canada’s support for striving for 1.5 is interesting, and even hopeful, but it’s too early to proclaim that Canada is a bold climate leader.
Regarding the endorsement of 1.5 degrees Celsius, there’s a solid metaphor floating through the hallways at COP21: McKenna and her staff have announced they’re interested in a trip to Hawaii, but they haven’t booked flights or hotels -- in fact, they haven’t even said when they’ll head to the airport.
At the end of our meeting, Minister McKenna told us to help her bring more people in Canada to the table. So we decided to do just that!
We’ve launched a petition calling upon the Canadian government to commit to reaching zero emissions by 2050 -- click here to sign it!
We also met with Elizabeth May
Yesterday, we were happy to accept a meeting request with Elizabeth May -- she humoured us by saying this was the first year she had to request a meeting with us opposed to the other way around (we have been pretty busy this year!). It was great to hear her impressions of COP21, some of her history with the UN, and her thoughts on strategy. We talked together about the news of the 1.5 degree commitment by Canada, what that means for our work, and where we must push harder. We are so grateful for the path she has laid for years that we now get to build on. We look forward to working with her more in the future.
It’s gonna be a big week!
There is still so much in the air as we head into this final week at COP21. Stay tuned in the coming days for more updates on juicy actions, the state of the negotiations, and the huge momentum and power we will be bringing back to Canada to hold this new government to account. We’ll also be supporting tons of actions taking place on the ground calling for a global decarbonization by mid-century and supports from the Global North to compensate for loss and damage in climate vulnerable countries.
Sign our Petition!
CBC’s “Big Oil in Hiding at Paris Climate Talks,” featuring our very own Nimra Amjad: "It's important to show that youth from Alberta care about a green-energy economy and that we want to shift away from fossil fuels."
On aimerait d’abord remercier toutes les personnes à travers le pays qui nous ont soutenu au cours de la dernière semaine. Nous avons vécu un moment difficile ici, et alors que nous devions gérer de longues journées, de la fatigue et des commentaires destructifs sur les médias sociaux, vos messages de soutien et de solidarité étaient vraiment appréciés.
Points saillants du dimanche, 6 décembre à la COP21:
• La Ministre McKenna nous a enfin rencontré
• Nous avons eu une rencontre avec Élizabeth May
Nous rencontrons enfin la Ministre des changements climatiques, Catherine McKenna
La Ministre canadienne de l’Environnement et des changements climatiques et son équipe nous ont rencontré afin de discuter de nos idées, nos propositions, valeurs et récits. Merci à tous d’avoir amplifié notre message sur les médias sociaux- ils nous remarquent!
Au cours des 24 dernières heures, nous avons été satisfait de voir l’équipe gouvernementale promouvoir non seulement l’inclusion des droits des peuples autochtones dans le traité de Paris: ils travaillent de plus pour y inclure un objectif de 1,5C. Ces accomplissements sont les victoires de communautés autochtones et au front des changements climatiques, du mouvement citoyen et de la jeunesse. Plus le gouvernement entend ces groupes, mieux ce sera.
Les déléguées Atiya Jaffar, Sophie Harrison et Erica Violet Lee ont partagé leurs récits de vie en tant que jeunes grandissant avec les changements climatiques, voyant ses impacts et voyant le manque d’action (et les actions dommageantes) des gouvernements canadiens successifs. Notre équipe a livré une lettre articulant nos demandes. Malgré nos questions, notre rencontre avec McKenna n’a pas permis de tirer davantage de réponses par rapport aux plans fédéraux afin d’atteindre un objectif de 1,5C (ni même 2C!).
Notre rencontre aujourd’hui était pleine de belles promesses de la part des officiels canadiens, mais peu de plans. Les réponses les moins adéquates étaient en réponse aux questions par rapport au rôle de l’industrie des énergies fossiles dans le saccage de la terre et l’empoisonnement de la nourriture et de l’eau des communautés autochtones. Nous espérons continuer à démontrer aux membres du cabinet canadien, négociateurs et premiers ministres que la ratification de la Déclaration des Nations-unies pour les droits des peuples autochtones comprend la prise au sérieux du consentement libre et en connaissance de cause. Cela signifie que les projets de pipeline doivent prendre fin. Cela signifie que, d’ici peu, l’exploitation des sables bitumineux devra cesser.
Nous avons ouvert ce dialogue hier, et nous comptons le poursuivre. Le soutien du Canada pour l’atteinte de 1,5C est intéressant- porteur d’espoir, même- mais il est encore trop tôt pour déclarer que le Canada est un leader dans le domaine des changements climatiques.
Il y a une métaphore qui court dans les corridors de la COP21: McKenna et son équipe ont annoncé qu’ils seraient intéressés à faire un voyage à Hawaii, mais ils n’ont pas encore réservé les vols ni les hôtels-- d’ailleurs, ils n’ont pas encore dit quand ils le feront.
Nous avons lancé une pétition demandant au gouvernement canadien de réduire leur émissions de GES à zéro d’ici 2050.
Nous avons aussi rencontré Elizabeth May
Aujourd’hui nous avons aussi accepté une rencontre avec Elizabeth May. Elle semblait heureuse de devoir nous convoquer à unerencontre: habituellement c’est l’inverse! Faut dire que nous sommes pas mal occupés cette année! C’était super d’entendre ses impressions de la COP21, un peu de son historique avec l’ONU et ses réflexions sur la stratégie. Nous avons discuté ensemble de la nouvelle de l’objectif de 1,5C émis par le Canada, ce que ça signifie pour notre travail et où nous devrons nous concentrer davantage. Nous sommes tellement reconnaissants de tout le travail qu’elle a mis au cours des dernières années. Aujourd’hui nous poursuivons cette lutte! Nous avons hâte de collaborer davantage avec elle prochainement.
Ce sera une grande semaine!
Il y a tellement de choses à suivre alors que nous nous dirigeons vers la dernière semaine ici à la COP21. Restez branchés au cours des prochains jours pour plus de mises à jour sur des actions, l’état des négociations et l’immense momentum que nous ramenerons au Canada afin de tenir ce gouvernement responsable de ses promesses.
Highlights from Day 7 at COP21 in Paris
• Indigenous led ‘Canoes to Paris’ action sends message of strength and hope
• McKenna announces support for 1.5℃ global target
• CYD joins a light brigade outside the Eiffel Tower
Indigenous Action Shows Strength of Global Indigenous Movement
Yesterday the CYD supported an action by indigenous leaders in Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement in support of the Keep It In the Ground Declaration and to call for the inclusion of rights for Indigenous peoples in the operative text of the final climate treaty.
This beautiful action wove together stories of resistance and demands for climate justice. Banners drew attention to REDD+, a scheme by rich countries and polluters to privatize the carbon in the world’s remaining rainforests and trade it as climate indulgences for rich countries and the fossil fuel industry. You can read about the action here and see a video here.
A Promise Without a Plan: McKenna Announces Support for 1.5℃
Canada’s Environment Minister McKenna surprised us on Sunday by announcing that she supports the inclusion of a 1.5℃ target, in some form in the Paris Agreement. Decarbonisation by 2050 through a justice-based transition has been one of our core asks throughout our time here at COP21. We are happy, but we are cautious.
1.5℃ is an extremely important goal to keep in the agreement because it is what hundreds of millions of people need to survive. The implications of Canada committing to 1.5 degrees means putting tar sands pipelines and tar sands expansion on the chopping block, not to mention reducing our net emissions to 0 over the next 35 years. However, our government currently has no plan for getting to below 2℃ of warming, let alone 1.5. If the Canadian Government is real about this kind of ambitious target, they are going to need to break it to Kinder Morgan and TransCanada Corporation that they won't get to build their new proposed pipelines projects. Not to mention that they will have to come up with an ambitious near-term plan for how to reach this target - something Canada so desperately needs.
If this commitment is a serious one, this could bode well for the direction the negotiations will take. Why? Because McKenna has accepted the offer to be one of the facilitators of plenary here at COP. With this role comes huge responsibility and a notable amount of power. Facilitators have the ability to shape the tone and of the negotiations and help guide the direction of the agreement.
The CYD will continue pressuring McKenna and the Canadian negotiators through the rest of the week to secure a firm commitment to a 1.5 degree approach to the text that is legally binding and ambitious.
Canada - Don't COP Out
The CYD and other Canadian youth here in Paris coordinated an action outside the Eiffel Tower yesterday where we spelled "Don't COP Out" calling for strong climate action from the Canadian Government.
Thanks to our friends Laura Cameron and Claris Figuera for suggesting such a beautiful action, and bringing us all together! Thanks to our own Diane Connors for snapping this incredible shot!
Send Your Love to the CYD
The CYD has had an incredible amount of media coverage over the past week. Our no-bullshit approach to demanding climate justice has garnered a lot of praise, and also extreme backlash.
Women on our delegation have been subject to hate-filled messages on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, and speaking truth. Specifically, women in our delegation are being targeted by messages threatening violence. These personal attacks are unacceptable, and have real impacts on individuals and the team collectively.
If you have a moment today, please send love to your friends, family, and inspiring individuals who are working to make the world a better place. It is an incredibly challenging job at the best of times, let alone when there are people trying to trivialize your voice and intimidate you.
Let’s take a moment to lift up the people in our lives that do this hard work. The strength of people in the climate justice movement is something to behold, but please, send love in your thoughts or in social media.
It is love that will save this place.
• Our action had a very wide reach - even getting reprinted in the Vernon Community News
• CYD Member Diane Connors reflect for Council of Canadians on her time so far at COP21
Highlights of Day 6 at COP21
• After huge public pressure, Canada advocates to keep the rights of indigenous peoples and a just transition in the COP21 draft agreement. But they’re still not bringing real long-term ambition to the table
• The CYD joins in the People’s Climate Summit!
What’s the latest with the Paris Agreement negotiations?
On Saturday, the official first draft of the Paris Agreement was approved, meaning it will be passed to country’s ministers to debate next week. This is the text that has been in preparation and hot dissent all week, and as we move into week 2 most of it is still in brackets [meaning it is still a point of contention up for debate].
Canada’s contributions to the document so far have been a bit of a Jekyll/Hyde situation. On the Dr. Jekyll side, Canada has ceded to grassroots to advocate for the inclusion of human rights, indigenous rights, and reference to a just transition in the operative (binding) text.
We need our government to fight for these things because other countries, including Saudi Arabia, want to cut out these words. They would go in the preamble instead, making them an optional rather than binding part of the Paris Agreement. We joined global youth in a protest demanding that human rights remain a core, binding part of the treaty.
On the Mr. Hyde side of things, we’ve also been watching closely as Canada has argued against including the rights of occupied peoples in the text, failed to bring clear long-term commitments to the table, and watering down how legally binding the agreement will be. As much as we’re excited that Justin Trudeau is not Stephen Harper, we can’t afford to hold illusions that the new Canadian government is even close to being in line with the demands of Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, and youth.
As they debate the language of this agreement, world leaders have kept all of the elements critical to a [just, ambitious and binding] agreement in brackets, and none of us, let alone the most affected, can afford that.
The latest from our government
At yesterday’s daily briefing with Canadian negotiators, we kept the heat on our government about the huge gap between Canada’s fossil fuel subsidy spending and our climate finance commitments. We are also pleased to report that, when we sat down again with the Environment and Climate Change Minister’s staff, the meeting involved far more actual listening and honest discussion and far less mansplaining.
And finally, look! Minister McKenna must be following our news coverage, because she just publicly committed to meeting with us upon her return to Paris.
The People’s Climate Summit
As world leaders bicker about the future of our entire planet, a parallel People’s Climate Summit is held to generate meaningful solutions. Ben attended a workshop by environmental justice organizers at the Our Power Coalition. He heard stories about challenging urban planning departments in San Francisco to a layout of the environmental justice framework of action pathways listed here:
1. End the bad (e.g. divest now)
2. Build the new (agro-ecology)
3. Organize to change the rules (environmental rights)
4. Organize to move resources (reinvesting in frontline communities)
5. Organize to change the story (Fijian Island warriors reframing that “we are not drowning, we are fighting”)
6. Build a movement of movements (cross movement organizing)
Katie attended the third International Tribunal on the Rights of Mother Nature. The tribunal featured internationally renowned lawyers and leaders who heard emblematic environmental violations from experts, frontline and Indigenous people from around the world. Godwin Ojo, who the CYD has worked with in the past, brought forward a case against Shell who have perpetrated grave human rights violations. Ojo said Shells actions are ecocide, genocide and state oppression. He fired people up leading a mic check “keep oil in the soil, keep coal in the hole, keep tar sands in the sand”.
Eriel Deranger followed Ojo. She is from Treaty 8 Terriroty, and was bringing a case forward against every international corporation in the world, which all have a stake in Canada’s tar sands. She showed photos of stipped lands and deformed fish, all Indigenous Rights and treaty violations, sending hush over the crowd.
• CBC News: “Canada's youth call out Justin Trudeau before the world's cameras” featuring Aleah Loney, Atiya Jaffar and Erica Violet Lee.
- The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP21
PS. The negotiations will be heating up this coming week, as government leaders fly back in to Paris to finalize the agreement. If you don’t want to miss any of the action, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Highlights of Day 5 at COP21
• The Canadian Youth Delegation is at the negotiating table… but so is Suncor.
• Check us out on The National from December 4th! (Skip to 14:17.)
“We will not give up our fundamental right to exist”
This powerful statement by the President of Tuvalu has been echoed by small island states and other countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis. The call to action by these countries is to keep the global temperature below a rise of 1.5° Celsius.
These countries have joined a group of over 43 states to support the right of all peoples to exist by signing the Climate Vulnerability Forum’s ‘Malila-Paris Declaration’ to prevent a rise in temperature beyond 1.5° Celsius by pledging to decarbonize by 2050. The leadership for this declaration came from the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries but since then, it’s been signed by dozens more countries including France and Germany. FYI Canada hasn’t pledged prevent a rise by more than 1.5° Celsius.
To show our support for the Climate Vulnerability Forum, youth delegates have been collecting pledges for a Survival Declaration, asking government negotiators to commit to “do what it takes to ensure the survival of all countries and peoples.” Our very own Matt Hammer was hard at work yesterday to get a clear answer from Canada, but so far our government has failed to sign this declaration.
We’re at the table... but so is Suncor
We told you earlier this week that the government invited four members of the CYD to join the official Canadian delegation to COP 21. However, it wasn’t until yesterday that the government actually invited us to a briefing with the rest of the delegation. We appreciated the chance to voice our opinion to the Canadian negotiators along with other members of the delegation like Elizabeth May.
But to our surprise, we learned that in addition to civil society and youth, the fossil fuel industry was also invited to the negotiating table. In fact, the official government delegation includes representative from Suncor and ATCO.
So basically, the companies profiting from the destruction of the planet have been identified as key stakeholders by the Canadian government.
The government finally heard us out
Clearly, Minister McKenna’s staff has been keeping up with all of the media coverage we got from our action earlier this week. Even though the Minister’s back in Ottawa for the opening of Parliament, her staff invited the CYD for a meeting to hear our perspective on the negotiations.
The meeting didn’t get off to a great start. We started off by asserting the need for Canada to join the 50+ countries that had already committed to decarbonization by 2050 in order to stay within a 1.5° C rise. Instead of hearing us out, McKenna’s Chief of Staff started to question the validity of the term ‘decarbonization’ -- even though it’s the exact call to action put forward by the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It’s also the pledge that some of Canada’s closest allies such as France and Germany have already committed to.
He tried to ‘mansplain’ the climate crisis to us in a way that took the fossil fuel industry off the hook and called the basis of the climate justice movement into question.
Needless to say, we were not pleased but luckily, the rest of McKenna’s staff actually listened to us instead of defending the fossil fuel industry. They took notes as we called for the need to Canada to commit to ambitious targets such as decarbonization by 2050 regardless of the direction the negotiations might take.
They were also eager to hear our perspective on loss and damage. We demanded that Canada support ‘loss and damage’ as its own clause in the negotiating text and stand behind the creation of mechanisms by which the Global North could be held accountable for extreme climate events in the Global South.
We ended the conversation by setting up a process by which we could consistently bring the youth call for climate justice into the negotiations -- Minister McKenna’s staff agreed to hear our perspective everyday for the remainder of the negotiations.
The Rights of Indigenous Peoples are not up for negotiation
Some negotiators at COP21 are trying to pull the “rights of indigenous peoples” out of the operative (UN speak for binding) portion of the agreement. Despicable. We know. We joined dozens of Indigenous leaders in protest yesterday morning to demand for the legal recognition of the distinct collective rights of indigenous peoples in the COP21 text.
At our daily meeting with Canadian negotiators, the negotiators said “we doing everything we can” to keep the “rights of indigenous peoples” language in the binding portion of the text rather than the preamble. Good. But rights of indigenous peoples have been removed from the latest draft, so we really need Canada to keep it up.
Canada, Stop Funding Fossils
Not-at-all fun fact: Canada is currently spending 79 times more money on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry than it is giving to the Green Climate Fund to support adaptation and mitigation for most climate vulnerable countries. Canada really need to sort out its priorities.
But seriously. Our team joined other youth delegates from around the world to demand that our governments stop funding the industry fueling the climate crisis. Trudeau’s government has promised to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, but has yet to provide a timeline. It’s on us to make sure he follows through, and fast.
• CBC’s The National covers our action on Thursday, featuring interviews with Erica Violet Lee and Aleah Loney. The segment on COP21 begins at 14:17
• The Real News: Fate of Canada's Tar Sands, Pipelines Depend on Trudeau's Commitments at COP21
• Desmog Canada: Torrance shares his thoughts on his home province’s climate plan. “B.C., Canada’s Carbon Tax Champion, Criticized for Lack of Climate Leadership at COP21 in Paris”
Highlights of Day 4 at COP21
• We demand to be heard, not just seen at the COP21 negotiations
• We got a shout out in the Guardian!
We need to be heard, not just seen
Prime Minister Trudeau failed to meet with us during his visit to Paris. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, also has not made time to sit down with us during her time here thus far. Instead, we’ve been offered multiple selfies.
Yesterday, the CYD responded: we are not here to take selfies with politicians. We are here to demand that the government take action by committing to decarbonize by 2050 and to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
You can read the article here.
People over Polluters
Refusing to allow Paris negotiations to be derailed, our team joined in a demonstration demanding that the world’s largest fossil fuel interests be kicked out of COP21.
The CYD supports Erica Violet Lee challenging corporate capture and colonialism at COP21. Her playful photo, sticking her tongue out with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in the background, went viral on Twitter. Wall was at COP21 to tout false solutions such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and uranium mining. He made headlines last month after asserting that the federal government should halt its plan to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada. Here’s what Erica had to say:
“Think of my photo as counting coup. I don’t have a chance in hell at taking on the power, privilege, and resources of governments and corporations.
Not in the venue of a ritzy celebration for canadian officials.
Not when there are gendarmerie (military police) with rifles and riot gear lined up along every wall.
Not while the format of this conference is designed to be a photo op for 150+ world leaders, designed to keep people like me out.
But because I am privileged enough to be here, I will fight not to be invisible, using the few pathways available to me.”
You can read more about responses to Erica’s picture—the good and the bad—as well as her response, here, here and here. Show your support on social media by posting a photo of you sticking out #SolidarityTongue!
• The Guardian: “Trudeau’s climate rhetoric is riveting. So what about reality?”
- Canadian Youth Delegation
Ps. We’ve got some spicy actions coming up. We’re trying to raise $200 to help cover the cost of supplies. If you can help us out, donate here!
(Le Français Suit)
Highlights of Day 3 at COP 21
• CYD chills with Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein.
• We put our hands for #ZeroBy2050, in solidarity with the most climate vulnerable countries.
Carbon Bubble in the Conference Centre!
There were few actions during the first two days of COP21, and security has severely limited where actions can happen. But nowthat most Heads of State have flown back home, delegates are going to hear us!
350.org and partner organizations staged a Divestment Action to shout out about how 3.4 TRILLION F*!KING DOLLARS have been divested from the fossil fuel industry worldwide. Members of the CYD joined in the action's fun as a giant carbon bubble was bounced around to symbolize how fossil fuels are a bad investment because we have to keep most fossil fuels in the ground.
We also joined in a #ZeroBy2050 action organized by our friends SustainUS and other youth delegates. Painting “Zeros” around our eyes, youth echoed the bold demand of the Climate Vulnerability Forum for zero emissions by 2050.
Asking the Canadian government tough questions
Straight from the #ZeroBy2050 action, big zeros still painted on our faces, we marched into the daily question period with Canada’s negotiators.
On Tuesday, we asked if Canada would support the call of the 43 climate vulnerable countries for decarbonization by 2050. Minister McKenna sidestepped, referring to other countries that might have a hard time meeting that target. So yesterday, we wanted to follow up. CYD-er Sophie asked the government to clarify: “will Canada commit to a fossil free, 100% clean energy economy by 2050?”
Canada’s negotiators straight up just didn’t answer the question -- telling us they didn’t want to “speak for the minister.” So our friends from Greenpeace pointed out the Canada negotiating team ignored Sophie's question before asking their own question! And *surprise* still no response.
This Changes Everything with Naomi Klein
Most of the CYD team attended a panel featuring speakers including Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, Bianca Mugyenyi, and Crystal Lameman of Beaver Lake Cree Nation. Panelists focused on the intersectionality of climate change - in Klein’s words “there is a climate crisis, but also a profound inequality crisis” that disproportionately affects indigenous peoples, people experiencing poverty, and women.
They spoke to the importance of putting human rights of frontline communities at the centre of climate negotiations, especially since they experience the bulk of the problems and produce the strongest advocates and best solutions for meaningful change. It was powerful watching people from around the world get excited about Canada’s Leap Manifesto.
Oh hey there, Bill McKibben
At the divestment action, we met Bill McKibben, who helped found 350.org. He gave us a message to bring home saying: “Prime Minister Trudeau, it’s good to have you there, we’re sorry we can’t give you a long honeymoon period. But the climate’s changing fast. We’re going to have to leave some tar sands in the ground.”
The President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has arrived on the scene at COP21, “proudly raising his hand for energy developed the Canadian way.” We are pretty sure he meant the Canadian way of violating First Nation’s rights and pulling out of international legally binding climate treaties.
Young people are raising our hands for a different future. We’re raising our hands for a just transition to #ZeroBy2050, where the interests of youth and indigenous peoples and prioritized over profits for the fossil fuel industry. Can you take a picture for us?
Suggested Tweet: “Hi @ec_minister! I’m raising my hands for #zeroby2050! #CountUsIn #COP21 #COP21Can”
Our members have been taking interviews every day, as the world’s eyes are on Paris. Here are the media stories:
• Atiya in MacLeans: “Hot Air at the Paris Climate Summit”
• Torrance speaks to B.C. based The Tyee: “In Paris, Trudeau ‘here to help’ but quiet on new emissions targets”
The Canadian Youth Delegation strives to live and work in right relation as allies in the struggle for indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. In our communication, we have used place names commonly known to Canadian settlers, but recognizes these places as traditional, largely unceded territory of people indigenous to Turtle Island and beyond.
Points forts de la 3e journée à la COP21
• La DJC a chillé avec Bill McKibben et Naomi Klein
• Nous avons levé nos mains pour #ZeroBy2050, en solidarité avec les pays les plus vulnérables aux changements climatiques.
Bulle de carbone dans le centre de conférence!
Il y a eu peu d’actions lors des deux premières journées de COP21 et la sécurité est intense dans toutes les zones où les actionspeuvent avoir lieu. Mais maintenant que la majorité des chefs d’État sont retournés chez eux, les délégués vont nous entendre!
Le groupe 350.org et des organismes partenaires ont mené une action sur le désinvestissement pour souligner que 3,4 billions (oui, billions) de dollars ont été désinvestis de l’industrie des énergies fossiles à travers le monde.
Des membres de la DJC se sont joint à la partie de plaisir en lançant une immense bulle de carbone, symbolisant comment les énergies fossiles sont un mauvais investissement et devraient demeurer dans le sol
Nous nous sommes aussi joints à une action #ZeroBy2050 organisée par nos amiEs de SustainUS ainsi que d’autres délégués jeunesse. En dessinant des zéros autour de nos yeux, la jeunesse a fait écho aux demandes importantes du Forum de vulnérabilité climatique pour zéro émissions dès 2050.
Des questions difficiles pour le gouvernement canadien
Suivant l’action #ZeroBy2050 avec des zéros encore dessinés sur nos visages, nous sommes allés à la rencontre quotidienne avec les négociateurs du Canada.
Mardi, nous avons demandé si le Canada soutiendrait l’appel pour la décarbonization émis par les 43 pays les plus vulnérables au climat. La Ministre McKenna n’a pas répondu directement, référant plutôt aux autres pays qui auraient de la misère à atteindre cet objectif. Hier, nous avons donc voulu clarifier. Sophie, membre de la DJC, a demandé au gouvernement de clarifier: “Est-ce que le Canada s’engage à une économie 100% renouvelable et sans énergies fossiles dès 2050?”
Les négociateurs canadiens n’ont simplement pas répondu à sa question: ils n’ont pas voulu “parler pour la ministre”, selon eux. Donc nos amies de Greenpeace ont fait allusion à la non-réponse de l’équipe de négociation avant de poser leur propre question! Et *étonnament*, toujours pas de réponse.
Tout peut changer avec Naomi Klein
La majorité de l’équipe de la DJC a assisté à un panel tenu par Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, Bianca Mugyenyi, et Crystal Lameman de la Nation Beaver Lake Cree. Les panélistes ont longuement parlé de l’intersectionalité des changements climatiques. Dans les mots de Klein: “ il y a une crise climatique, mais aussi une crise inégalitaire profonde” qui affecte de manière disproportionnée les personnes autochtones, des personnes vivant dans la pauvreté et les femmes.
Elles ont parlé de la nécessité de mettre de l’avant les droits humains des communautés à l’avant-plan des effets de la crise climatique lors des négociations, surtout parce que celles-ci subissent les pires déboires des problèmes et produisent les meilleurs portes-paroles et solutions pour un vrai changement. C’était touchant de voir des gens de partout dans le monde s’intéresser au Leap Manifesto.
Ah, salut Bill McKibben
À l’action sur le désinvestissement, nous avons rencontré Bill McKibben, qui a aidé à fonder 350.org. Il nous a transmis un message pour notre nouveau gouvernement:“PM Trudeau, c’est bien que vous soyez là, et nous sommes désolés de devoir écourter la lune de miel. Mais le climat change rapidement. Nous devrons garder certains sables bitumineux dans le sol.”
Le président de l’Association des producteurs de pétrole du Canada est arrivé à COP21, “fièrement levant sa main pour de l’énergie produite à la manière canadienne.” Il faisait évidemment référence à la manière canadienne de violer les droits des communautés autochtones et de se retirer de traités légales internationales sur le climat.
La jeunesse lève sa main pour un futur différent. Nous levons nos mains pour une transition juste vers #ZeroBy2050 afin que les intérêts de la jeunesse et des personnes autochtones soient priorisées par-dessus les profits de l’industrie des énergies fossiles. Pouvez-vous prendre une photo pour nous?
TWEET: “Hi @ec_minister! I’m raising my hands for #zeroby2050! #CountUsIn #COP21 #COP21Can”
- La délégation jeunesse à la COP21
PhotoCOPped - Highlights from Day 2 of COP21
• Climate Vulnerability Forum: countries adopt declaration calling for 1.5℃, decarbonization by 2050, and to be paid for climate damages
• Erica Lee’s post went viral
“Civil Society Needs a Voice”: The Protest Bans
Since the recent shootings, Paris has been in a state of emergency. This has meant protesting is banned (defined as a political demonstration of two or more people), and provoked a backlash as activists assert their right to freedom of speech and assembly. However, civil society cannot be silenced. Like other UN conferences before, COP21 began with grassroots resistance leading the way, and since then, civil society is using creative actions to continue being heard.
French President Hollande was called out yesterday by CYD member Diane Connors, who yelled “let us demonstrate, civil society needs a voice!” as he walked past her (look for the video up on Facebook today!). Other inspiring actions include when youth demonstrating with giant poker chips urging world leaders not to ‘gamble away our futures.'
Courageous Climate Commitments from those most vulnerable
On Monday, at the Climate Vulnerability Forum, the countries most vulnerable to climate change, made a bold commitment to completely decarbonize in thirty five years. With 43 national sign-ons, this was the most powerful commitment to decarbonization by 2050 to date. This coalition also called upon OECD countries to meet their moral obligation to fund developing countries in battling climate change and poverty. The most vulnerable, not the most wealthy, countries are making the most drastic pledges.
“$100 billion (the current amount of climate finance pledged) a year is not enough for 150 countries to develop sustainably” Those words from the Costa Rican Delegation at the CVF, drove home why these talks matter.
The announcement drew a lot of attention at COP 21 with civil society members expressing statements of solidarity and calling upon countries in the North to follow the unprecedented leadership of Global South countries.
Yesterday, we also attended to two side events by indigenous leaders focusing on the intersection between protecting the climate and conserving Amazonian rainforests by recognizing indigenous land rights. We were struck by the words of the inspiring Indigenous leaders from Peru and Ecuador and the lack of attendance at their events.
• Climate Investment Funds
• AIDESEP (Asociación Interétnica de Desarollo de la Selva Peruana)
• Confederación de Nacionalidades Amazónicas del Perú
Songs and Strong Words: Indigenous Pavilion Opens
Yesterday was the first day we could visit the “green zone” - the part of the conference that is open to the public. The Indigenous pavilion opened with powerful speeches and songs in the opening ceremony. Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna was in attendance to hear indigenous leaders from around the world speak about how indigenous peoples are at the forefront of climate impacts and solutions. While a French official was speaking, Indigenous leaders held up signs that demanded leaders better protect indigenous rights and keep global warming below 1.5℃. We hope that Minister McKenna paid close attention to these leaders, and that she take a page from former UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, who talked about how listening to indigenous people transformed how she understood the importance of indigenous rights.
Fewer Photo Ops More Real Climate Action
Today was the first of the daily Canadian Stakeholder Meetings. Hidden behind a shield of strong pro-action rhetoric, the Negotiating Team wasted no time in continuing the proud Canadian tradition of ignoring the tar sands and blaming other countries for inaction.Our team-mate Stephen Thomas asked if Canada will support the Climate Vulnerability Forum’s call to go carbon-free by 2050 (which also happens to be one of our asks).
McKenna and the Canadian Negotiators avoided the question by blaming other countries who cannot decarbonize by 2050. She said “many countries will have great difficulty decarbonizing by 2050”. But we want to know: is Canada prepared to decarbonize by 2050?
The CYD had a meeting scheduled with Minister McKenna right after the stakeholder meeting. Unfortunately, she cancelled the meeting as we were in the next room preparing for it. Instead, she offered to take a selfie with us instead (for the second time)… we declined (for the second time). We're here to be heard and not just seen in selfies.
Four members of CYD are on the Canadian Delegation and have been issued Party badges. When the delegates arrived at the the conference they found that they needed secondary badges to get into the Leader’s event on the 30th. Several other delegates at COP21 with Party badges, including Green Party leader Elizabeth May, struggled to get their party badges. The CYD will investigate the matter and keep people posted as we know more. These processes and confusion leave us feeling uncomfortable.
All in all, so far at COP, while the leadership of Global South countries and Indigenous leaders has been tremendously inspiring. Our federal leaders have not kept up.
We’ll be in touch with more details -- for live updates, you can follow us on twitter @CYD_DJC.
PS. We’re in the last couple of days of our crowdfunder. We would be so grateful if you could pitch in $5 or $10 to support our work here in Paris.
- The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP21
The Canadian Youth Delegation strives to live and work in right relation as allies in the struggle for indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. In our communication, we have used place names commonly known to Canadian settlers, but recognize these places as tradition, largely unceded territory of people indigenous to Turtle Island.
(Le Français Suit)
Highlights of Day 1 at COP 21
As promised, we’re getting in touch with you to share some updates from yesterday -- Day 1 of COP 21. But first and foremost, thanks for all the support from home! We were blown away by all of the financial support and the social media shout outs to Justin Trudeau asking him to meet with us! Here's some highlights of yesterday:
Climate negotiations bring together the largest gathering of world leaders, ever.
Prime Minister Trudeau fails with CYD in Paris (aka forgets he’s Minister of Youth)
CYD shared choice words with Christy Clark, Kathleen Wynne, and Rachel Notley.
COP KICKS OFF
Yesterday, 150 world leaders gathered under the same roof at Le Bourget outside of Paris. The day before, peaceful demonstrators staged powerful actions across Paris, defying the French Government’s ban on free speech. This included 22,000 shoes that were set up to mark where the Paris Climate March would have started had it been allowed to proceed.
Many world leaders began their statements by acknowledging the strength and determination of the French people in ensuring the conference continued after the recent attacks in Paris. Unfortunately, their determination was not matched by the promises world leaders have brought to COP21 so far, which will not keep global warming within 2°C of warming.
WE’RE AT THE GOVERNMENT’S NEGOTIATION TABLE (!?!???!!!)
Pre-Paris, the Trudeau government opened four spots on the Canadian negotiating team for youth. The CYD was called upon to fill these spots, and now four of us are on the official government delegation to COP 21. Yup. It’s a strange time. The Harper government full-on ignored and actively repressed politicized youth voices -- needless to say, we were pretty taken aback when we heard that this government wants us at the negotiating table.
So we’ve accepted this invitation—but with cautious optimism. We’re still waiting to see what it means to be on the government delegation. While we’re excited to have this opportunity, we hope that it means our voices will actually be heard.
OUR ENCOUNTER WITH JUSTIN TRUDEAU
We came to Paris with the expectation to meet with Prime Minister Trudeau, who’s also the Minister of Youth. Since he was only in Paris for two days, we were in hot pursuit. Thanks again for amplifying our call on social media. We see you and we hope he does too.
While we’re disappointed to report that Trudeau did not take the time to meet with our team during his time in Paris, we made sure to get our message across anyways. Yesterday we filled the front row of his press conference, proudly sporting our “Justice and Clean Energy Now” stickers.
Trudeau tweeted about how great it was to see so many engaged young people at COP21. We’ll be making it clear that we’re not just here to be seen. We’re here to be meaningfully heard.
Trudeau was elected on a platform calling for real change, and we will hold him to it. He’s making big promises, but we continue to be left wondering what his plan is.
FACING OFF WITH CANADIAN PREMIERS
This is the first time in recent history that a Canadian leader has invited such a large array of political leaders to international climate talks. Premiers from BC, AB, SK, ON, and QC joined NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Green Party leader Elizabeth May as members of the Canadian Government delegation.
Sunday night, there was a meet and greet with the Premiers and Federal Party leaders. The CYD used this as an opportunity to share some choice words with the Canadian team.
CYD delegates from BC, Sophie Harrison and Torrance Coste, faced off with Christy Clark over her peddling of the LNG industry.
Next, Atiya Jaffar and Lauren Latour from ON faced off with Kathleen Wynne. They called out the Ontario Government’s support for the Energy East and Line 9 pipelines. Premier Wynne, in a press conference yesterday, gave a shout out to young person (Atiya) who asked her tough questions and pressed on despite lackluster responses.
After bumping into Premier Brad Wall, Erica Lee took a selfie. Trolls took time to spread their vitriol, and Erica swiftly put them in their place: “Think of my photo as counting coup. I don't have a chance in hell at taking on the power, privilege, and resources of governments and corporations.... But because I am privileged enough to be here, I will fight not to be invisible, using the few pathways available to me.” We FULLY recommend reading her post here.
Nimra Amjad was a panelist at a side event on intergenerational equity and she suggested introducing a moral code of conduct for to hold world leaders accountable to youth and future generations.
There was a marked difference in the amount of Canadian media turning their attention to this year's UN Climate Negotiations. We had media interviews lined up back-to-back-to-back all day today. Here’s a round-up of some of our best coverage of the day:There was a marked difference in the amount of Canadian media turning their attention to this year's UN Climate Negotiations. We had media interviews lined up back-to-back-to-back all day today. Here’s a round-up of some of our best coverage of the day
Sophie in the National Observer: “Trudeau pledges to make future generations proud with Paris climate agreement”.
Diane in Global News National: “Security tight as COP21 gets underway in Paris”
Erica in CBC: "Indigenous leaders, activists in Paris for climate change talks”
Lauren in CTV News London: “Londoner at Climate Change Conference in Paris”
Sophie in the Toronto Star: “Briefs from the Paris climate Conference”
In addition to our CYDaily, we also will also be providing in depth analysis of a range of issues and topic. You can see a list of blogs we’ve written to date on our webpage. We recommend reading our recent blogs on Just Transitions & False Solutions and what it means to meaningfully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.
For live updates, you can follow us on twitter @CYD_DJC.
PS. We’re in the last couple of days of our crowdfunder. We would be so grateful if you could pitch in $5 or $10 to support our work here in Paris.
- The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP21
The Canadian Youth Delegation strives to live and work in right relation as allies in the struggle for indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. In our communication, we have used place names commonly known to Canadian settlers, but recognizes these places as traditional, largely unceded territory of people indigenous to Turtle Island and beyond.
Points marquants du jour 1 de COP21
Les négociations sur le climat est le rassemblement du plus de leaders mondiaux de tous les temps
PM Trudeau évite de rencontrer la DJC à Paris, oublie qu’il est le Ministre de la jeunesse
La DJC a échangé avec Christy Clark, Kathleen Wynne et Rachel Notley
LE LANCEMENT DE LA COP
Hier, 150 leaders du monde se sont rassemblés sous un même toit à Le Bourget en banlieue de Paris. Des manifestants pacifiques ont organisé des actions symboliques partout à Paris, défiant l’interdiction sur la liberté de parole imposée par le gouvernement français. Parmi ces actions était l’installation de 22 000 chaussures pour marquer l’endroit où la marche parisienne pour le climat aurait débuté s’il avait pu procéder.
Beaucoup des leaders mondiaux ont commencé leur déclaration en reconnaissant la force et la détermination du peuple français en assurant que la conférence se poursuive suite aux récentes attaques à Paris. Malheureusement, leur détermination n’est pas aussi importante au niveau des promesses amenées à COP21 par les gouvernements jusqu’à maintenant, qui ne préserveront certainement pas le réchauffement climatique en-dessous de 2°C.NOUS SOMMES À LA TABLE DE NÉGOCIATION DU GOUVERNEMENT (!?!???!!!)
Avant Paris, le gouvernement Trudeau a libéré quatre places sur l’équipe de négociation du Canada pour la jeunesse. La DJC a été appelée à remplir ces positions, et quatre d’entre-nous sommes sur l’équipe officielle du gouvernement à la DJC. Oui, vous avez bien compris. Le gouvernement Harper tentait à tout prix à ignorer et réprimer les voix de la jeunesse-- pas nécessaire de vous dire comment c’est étrange que le gouvernement veuille entendre nos voix aujourd’hui.
Nous avons donc accepté cette invitation, mais avec un certain optimisme. Nous essayons encore de voir ce que ça signifie de faire partie de cette délégation. Quoique nous soyons très contents d’avoir cette opportunité, nous espérons que ça signifie que nos voix soient réellement entendues.
NOTRE RENCONTRE AVEC JUSTIN TRUDEAU
Nous sommes venus à Paris en s’attendant à rencontrer Justin Trudeau, Premier Ministre et Ministre de la jeunesse. Puisqu’il n’était à Paris que pendant deux jours, nous l’avons pourchassé autant que possible. Merci d’avoir amplifié notre appel sur les médias sociaux, nous vous avons vu et espérons qu’il vous verra aussi!
Alors que nous sommes déçus que Trudeau n’ait pas pris le temps de rencontrer notre équipe lors de son passage à Paris, nous nous sommes assuré de faire passer notre message de toute manière. Hier nous avons rempli la première rangée de sa conférence de presse, tous arborant nos collants demandant la “Justice et l’énergie propre”.
Trudeau a gazouillé que c’était excellent de voir autant de jeunes engagés à COP21. Nous souhaitons clarifier que nous ne sommes pas ici simplement pour être vus. Nous voulons être entendus.
Trudeau a été élu avec une plateforme appelant au vrai changement, et nous allons le tenir à cette promesse. Il fait de grandes promesses, mais nous sommes toujours à la recherche de son vrai plan.
NOTRE RENCONTRE (INFRUCTUEUSE) AVEC LES PREMIERS MINISTRES PROVINCIAUX
C’est la première fois dans l’histoire récente qu’un leader canadien ait invité autant de leaders politiques aux conférences sur le climat. Les premiers ministres provinciaux du BC, AB, SK, ON et QC se sont joint aux leaders des partis NPD et Vert en tant que membres de la délégation canadienne officielle.
Dimanche soir, il y a eu une rencontre avec les les premiers ministres et les leaders de partis fédéraux. La DJC a profité de l’occasion pour partager certaines de nos préoccupations avec l’équipe canadienne.
Les délégués du BC, Sophie Harrison et Torrance Coste, ont critiqué Christy Clark sur la présence de l’industrie du gaz naturel au BC.
Par la suite, Atiya Jaffar et Lauren Latour de l’Ontario ont dénoncé le soutien du gouvernement de Kathleen Wynne pour les pipelines Énergie Est et Ligne 9B d’Enbridge. La première ministre Wynne a fait référence à Atiya qui lui avait posé des questions difficiles et qui a poursuivi malgré des réponses inadéquates.
En croisant le Premier ministre de la Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, Erica Lee a pris un selfie. Les trolls ont rapidement réagi sur internet, et Erica leur a rapidement mis à leur place. Nous recommendons fortement que vous lisiez sa réponse ici (en Anglais).
Nimra Amjad était panéliste à un événement sur l’équité intergénérationnelle. Elle a proposé l’introduction d’un code moral afin de tenir les leaders responsables devant les jeunes ainsi que les générations futures.
Il y a une différence marquée dans la quantité de médias canadiens qui portent attention à la COP21 cette année. Pour voir un résumé des entrevues que nous avons donné, voir la section de ce courriel qui est en Anglais.
Pour des mises à jour réguliers, vous pouvez nous suivre sur Twitter à @CYD_DJC.
Avec espoir et solidarité,
- La délégation jeunesse à la COP21