CYD Reflection on COP20 

The climate negotiations in Lima have spilled over onto Saturday, and are continuing as we write this update to you. The CYD are flying back to Canada tonight, so we are no longer able to provide on-the-ground analysis of COP 20. 

For updates on the negotiations as they unfold, follow #COP20, @tcktcktck, @RTCCclimatenews, @agent350, and @duycks on Twitter. And finally, check out the Global Call for Climate Action's live blog here

We will do our best to provide an in-depth analysis and personal reflections of the negotiations, from a CYD perspective, in the coming weeks. Until then, you can read our blog post that reflects on our time in Lima at COP 20:

Canadian Youth Delegation reflects on COP 20: Youth and frontline voices silenced at UN climate talks

As the COP 20 negotiations drew to a close and negotiators argued over amendments to the proposed text, an action calling attention to the devastating effects of climate change was hidden from the eyes and ears of negotiating Parties.

Civil society groups organized a die-in action, led by members of frontline communities in the Global South. As participants laid on the ground, youth from Tanzania, the Philippines, Peru, and the Dominican Republic shared powerful messages about the tremendous climatic impacts their home communities face. Participants created a heartbeat rhythm, tapping palms on chests, and slowly rose up from their metaphorical death beds, singing, “¿Cuándo vas a aprender / Hombre de papel/ Cuándo vas a entender / que la vida no se puede vender?” (“When will you learn / man of paper / when you will understand / life cannot be sold”)

Many tears were shed as Gerry Arances from the Philippines pleaded, “The conference of Parties have failed us for 20 years. And here in Lima they are failing again. The people of Asia, the people in my country, my brothers and sisters in the Philippines, are dying as governments here discuss the fate of my people and the people of this world.”

As we stood, hands on hearts, we asked ourselves: how many of the negotiators here in Lima have cried about the loss of lives and livelihoods already caused by climate change? How many have wept with fear for our collective futures?  

Receiving approval for this action was a frustrating process. In an appalling lack of respect and decency, security informed organizers that the die-in would have to move to an isolated location, tucked away far from the incoming negotiators. In doing so, the UNFCCC silenced the voices of youth and people from frontline communities. Does the UNFCCC not believe that these voices merit being heard?

While civil society groups are heavily restricted by the UNFCCC process, fossil fuel companies are given full reign. This dichotomy, which was particularly apparent at COP 20 in Lima, is stark and disheartening. Top UN officials paternalistically encourage civil society to get angry about climate inaction; we are told that our voices and the voices of those we stand beside are welcome. But when we speak up, they advise us to cease and desist. We are told we cannot name the perpetrators of climate crimes. The Canadian Youth Delegation was barred from naming Canada and Prime Minister Harper in our anti-tar sands action, while the UNFCCC forbade our American colleagues with SustainUS from naming the Keystone XL pipeline and Secretary of State John Kerry on the day he spoke at COP 20.

In Lima, no one has had their badge revoked. But de-badging is a tradition at the UNFCCC, sometimes as early as the first day of the negotiations and for such seemingly harmless actions as carrying an unsanctioned banner. This narrative plays into the deeper injustices of the UNFCCC process. The silencing of young people and members of frontline communities is a symbol of an all too familiar narrative. The same thing happens at the negotiating table. Negotiators from the Global South plead for fair, ambitious, and binding commitments, and in response they are often bullied and forced into agreeing to weak, watered-down texts. Even as we write this reflection, a negotiator from Malaysia named colonialism as the reason some countries are left most vulnerable to climate change while others are historically and currently responsible. The negotiator implored, “There is a world out there that is different from your world… There is a disenfranchised world.” 

The cry for action runs deep. Every young person on Earth is united by the impending threat of climate change, but for inhabitants of the Global South and frontline communities, climate change is already exacting hellish consequences. These realities seem increasingly isolated from the corporate lobbyists and comfortable bureaucrats of the world’s wealthiest countries who are continually permitted to co-opt the UNFCCC process. This is why we intend to participate within the UNFCCC framework and why we will continue to attend future COPs— to hold Canada accountable and shed light on the realities of the negotiating process and its unjust mechanisms.

The emotions we feel today will only make us stronger. Let it be known that we will not be silenced by the UNFCCC. We will not stop fighting for what is right and for what is just. We will continue to link arms with those who are experiencing the impacts of climate change today, and we will hold accountable those who are responsible for these devastating impacts. The movement is bigger than the walls of the UNFCCC plenary and it is bigger than us. The fossil fuel industry is made wary by divestment campaigns at home. The cost of renewables is dropping. First Nations legal challenges and assertions of land rights are spurring massive opposition to pipelines and tar sands expansion in Canada. Our movements are growing and strengthening as we continue to organize from coast to coast to coast. Together, we can win.

Climate change is the issue of our time. It is entrenched within social movements worldwide. If we do not resolve the climate problems that we have created, the entire world as we know it will descend into climatic and political chaos and— it is time to face this inevitability— violence. We refuse to let this happen for us, for frontline communities, and for future generations. The time to be united is now. United, we are greater than our unique identities and differences. We are greater than the systems that oppress us— the systems that perpetuate a world in which fossil fuel companies reign. We are greater than the forces against us.

You can share this blog from where it's posted on here


In solidarity from Peru,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Kelsey, Brenna, Megan, Aleah, Alex, Bronwen and Katie 

Highlights from Day 9 of COP20: 

As COP 20 wraps up in Lima, the CYD has been hard at work preparing our final actions, keeping pressure on the Canadian government, and tracking the negotiations. Here’s a wrap-up of the past 24 hours in Lima.


  • John Kerry, American Secretary of State, was at COP today to urge concerned citizens to call on their governments to take action on climate change. Wish we had thought of that one...

  • As of 7pm yesterday, only one paragraph in the draft text was agreed upon. The COP President asked negotiators to report back at 9am with more progress. Here’s to hoping they have a productive all-nighter.

Updates from the Canadian government

Oops, they canceled the meeting today. Maybe they heard about our action demanding the Canadian government put the tar sands on the negotiating table? We didn’t see them in the crowd, though.

Tar Sands by the Numbers

Today, the Canadian Youth Delegation told the Canadian government: put the tar sands on the table. Without a plan to halt and reduce emissions from the tar sands, Canada comes empty handed to these negotiations. The tar sands are emblematic of the Canadian government’s refusal to meet the country’s historical and moral responsibility to meaningfully and equitably reduce emissions. Canada, we deserve better.

  • Barrels of oil Canada produces per day? 4 million

  • Percentage that tar sands emissions are projected to climb by 2030? 250%

  • Number of environment ministers who have promised oil and gas regulations since 2007? Four

  • Number of federal oil and gas regulations passed since 2007? Zero

  • Number of treaty violations documented by the Beaver Lake Cree Nation? 20,000

  • Number of Big Oil representatives present at daily Canadian stakeholder meetings at COP20? Two

  • Spending on direct subsidies to fossil fuel industry? $2.4 billion

  • Amount of indirect subsidies to fossil fuel industry, including social costs of carbon? $34 billion

  • Stephen Harper’s statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday? Priceless.

Numbers are important, but the tar sands and its related extractive projects are perpetuating a “slow industrial genocide”across the Canada and United States. The CYD stands with the indigenous, frontline, and racialized communities who are being disproportionately affected by the tar sands, pipelines, refineries, and industrial infrastructure. 

Actions Update 

The CYD organized two actions focused on the tar sands yesterday. For the first, we made a banner urging Canadian decision makers to put tar sands on the negotiating table and spoke about how the tar sands and pipelines affect our home communities. Share our tar sands meme on Twitter and Facebook using #TarSandsOnTheTable!

A second action, carried out with our friends at SustainUS, focused on the Keystone XL pipeline and how pipeline expansion has an impact on people and environments at home and abroad. The action came on the heels of Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks, during which he avoided mention of Keystone XL.

Read a joint statement from the CYD and SustainUS here.

CYD in the Media

  • With quotes from the CYD, Carol Linnitt says “Canada Keeps Skirting the Oilsands Issue at the COP20 Climate Talks.” Read her article in the Huffington Post

  • covered our joint action focusing on Keystone XL censorship at the UNFCCC

  • Scroll through tcktcktck’s storify for on-location coverage of our Tar Sands and joint CYD-SustainUS actions!

  • Read key points and useful links from our Tar Sands action today in The Tree

Quotes of the day

“Even though the parties did not reach an agreement I would like to put on record that they worked very hard."

- SBI Chair, Mr. Amena Yauvoli

"The decision that we don’t make today will decide who lives and who dies." - Rachel Kyte, World Bank


In solidarity from Peru,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Kelsey, Brenna, Megan, Aleah, Alex, Bronwen and Katie 

Highlights from Day 8 of COP20: 

COP 20 is beginning to get hectic as Parties begin real negotiations and high-level members of governments start to arrive. The CYD, ever vigilant, has assembled the main points of day 8 of COP for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

New to these emails? You can check out all the updates you missed on our website.

Highlights of the Day

  • High-level negotiations began today, so there were a few sightings of high-profile officials (including Bolivian President Evo Morales) buffered by their entourages. Check out real life footage of COP20 today here. In theory, this means that things should be moving right along in the coming days. Newsflash: they probably won’t.

  • Yesterday in the Canadian Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called regulating the largest source of carbon emissions in the country, the oil and gas sector, “crazy”. Twice. What seems crazy to us is to expect that Parties would not notice the massive bait and switch the Canadian government is trying to pull on the world. Our friends at Climate Action Network sum up the situation well:

    "In Warsaw, a year ago, the environment minister promised during the High Level Segment that oil and gas emissions would be regulated in Canada. During yesterday's speech, that promise was absent and instead the main target were HFCs. For the record, the oil and gas sector emits 25% of Canadian emissions, and growing quickly. HFCs are right now 1%”

    Crazy, crazy indeed. The government is, at least, making our job of calling attention to its inaction easier.

  • Australia did a 180° on climate finance and it turns out they will be making a contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) after all. Maybe Stephen Harper is giving his BFFL (best friend for life) Abbott tips on public relations: you probably won’t get re-elected by withholding money from climate initiatives while donating massive sums to fossil fuels. However, the money will apparently be siphoned from Australia’s foreign aid budget. The only thing Australia can be congratulated on is some creative bookkeeping. 

Encounters with the Government of Canada: your daily dose of awkward

  • When forced to talk action, Canada has been focussing on emissions from refrigerants, coal - anything but the #tarsands. Considering they are the largest single barrier to meeting our emissions targets, we wanted to find out for certain if there are any plans to address this in Canada’s climate plan for the Paris treaty.

  • At first, head negotiator Dan McDougall said he wasn’t able to say if emissions from oil and gas sector would be included. But when pressed on the issue he said, “I wasn’t saying that we wouldn’t include emissions from oil sands… all of our emissions will be included in our INDC… how we describe those is yet to be determined”

  • McDougall also stated that Canada was still planning on meeting their 2020 target on emissions reductions. For saying this with a straight face, we’d like to nominate him for an Oscar.

Acronym Acrobatics 

We know we use a lot of acronyms, we’re sorry!  We’re still learning too; we even keep these around to help us wrap our heads around how the INDCs fit into the ADP under the UNFCCC at COP20.

Click here to learn all about our favourite acronyms. 

An exciting action tomorrow! 

Tomorrow the CYD will be joining Peruvians and many other international members of civil society to march for climate justice during the People’s Climate March. You can (and should) follow the march on twitter with the hashtags #YoMarcho10D and #Marcha10D

Quote of the Day

"Under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy, it would be crazy economic policy to do unilateral penalties on that sector. We're clearly not going to do it."

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper on regulating emissions from the oil and gas industry 


In solidarity from Peru,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Kelsey, Brenna, Megan, Aleah, Alex, Bronwen and Katie  


Highlights of Day 7 at COP20:

Encounters with the Government of Canada: your daily dose of awkward

It was a breath of fresh air to see lots of new faces around the table at the stakeholder meeting.

A fellow young Canadian delegate asked the Canadian delegation’s opinion on the presence of the fossil fuel industry at the climate negotiations and how that could possibly influence their policy. Unsurprisingly, we got an answer about how the Canadian government is ready to engage with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, etc. etc. etc. We look forward to pushing that point more in the coming days.

Among new attendees was the Honorable Elizabeth May. She chimed in near the end to ask if Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of the Environment, would be making any statements about Canada's climate stance that we didn’t already know. The Canadian delegation responded that the Minister would make her statement “in due time” and indicated that the content of the statement would be up to Minister Aglukkaq. In mock surprise, Elizabeth May pointed out that these directives usually come straight from the Prime Minister’s Office. Touché Ms. May!

Exciting actions of the day (and we mean really, really exciting!)

Solidarity not just Sympathy: Climate Justice Now!

The morning began on a somber note. For the third year in a row, the Philippines have been devastated by a typhoon during the negotiations. In advance of this year’s Typhoon Hagupit, some 1.2 million people left their homes in one of the largest peacetime evacuations in history.  This morning we stood in solidarity with and observed a moment of silence for those most impacted by the effects climate change.

CCS ≠ Climate Change Solution: Get fossil fuels out of COP!

Prominent climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern spoke alongside reps from the World Coal Association and Shell today at an event that both touted prohibitively expensive and  unproven technology known as carbon capture and storage as a panacea and slammed grassroots divestment campaigns. (Un)shockingly, it was sponsored by our favourite friends of the earth, Shell and Chevron.

As you know, for the past few days we have been calling on Stern to cancel his speech using the hashtag #StepbackStern on Twitter. Today we amped up the pressure by holding a panel of our own where representatives from communities directly affected by Shell and Chevron spoke out against the presence of these and other climate criminals in the negotiation process. Activists and media then turned their attention on the corporate event, storming the room and then walking out in unison as soon as Stern was introduced. It was an energizing event that united people from many backgrounds under the common banner of denouncing the fossil fuel industry for attempting to greenwash themselves at COP negotiations. Want to find out more about this action? Check out the hashtag #gettheFFout on twitter to find the photos from this fantastic event!


Ontario came to town!

In a rather refreshing change of tone from our daily meetings with the federal government, the Ontario government’s delegation held a meeting that prioritized questions and dialogue from youth. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change actually seemed to grasp concepts like “science” and “public consultation.” Some key takeaways:

Québec s’intéresse à l’environnement!

Lors d’une rencontre plus semblable  à une séance de yoga que d’autre chose, les QuébécoisEs présentEs à COP ont pu rencontrer le Ministre du Développement durable, Environnement et lutte contre les changements climatiques, David Heurtel. Étant donné la longueur de son titre, il y a eu peu de temps pour “s’occuper des vraies affaires” lors de la rencontre, mais nous avons tout de même pu jaser des initiatives québécoises de réduction des émissions, du marché du carbone et des demandes auprès du gouvernement fédéral. Ce fut très bref, mais intéressant, et il y aura probablement peu de chances de réellement rencontrer le Ministre de nouveau avant son départ de Lima jeudi. Il faudra donc continuer la discussion ailleurs, en 2015 (peut-être nous pourrions se rencontrer ce printemps...?).

Australia and Canada’s Climate Bromance: competing for the lowest rank on climate action


Today, the 2015 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) was released, once again shining a spotlight on Canada’s appalling record on climate. The index is used to compare the emissions, efficiency, renewable energy development and climate policies of the 58 countries who are “responsible for more than 90% of global energy-related CO2 emissions”. For the last two years, Canada has claimed the bottom ranking spot on the Performance Index for OECD member countries, making them consistently one of the greatest climate villains on an international scale. This year, although Canada has not budged, their primary competitor for that prized bottom rank, Australia, has outdone them.  Both Canada and Australia continue to be major emitters, heavily investing in further expanding fossil fuel industries; Canada, the tar sands, and Australia, coal.

Read all about Harper and Abbott’s climate bromance here.

La présence corporative à COP20

La première semaine de la conférence de Lima (COP20) a été riche en apprentissages. Avec la Délégation jeunesse canadienne, nous avons forgé des liens avec d’autres délégations jeunesse, appris comment naviguer les rencontres interminables et préparé notre stratégie pour les prochains jours.

Cliquez ici pour lire plus.

Quote of the Day

Check out this video of our CCS action today, with amazing quotes by Godwin Uyi Ojo, from Friends of the Earth Nigeria.


In solidarity from Peru,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Kelsey, Brenna, Megan, Aleah, Alex, Bronwen and Katie  



The Canadian Youth Delegation, a project spearheaded by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, is in Lima, Peru attending the COP20 climate negotiations. Seven young climate leaders from across the country are keeping tabs on the Canadian government and their (in)actions as UNFCCC members lay the groundwork for an international climate agreement next year in Paris.

We’ve also been producing a daily newsletter, the CYDaily. For those of you who have already been getting this, scroll to the bottom of this email for some new content!

In case you haven’t been receiving the CYDaily, now is the time to sign up and stay informed with smart and sassy on-the-ground analysis of the COP20 climate negotiations in Lima.

Here’s what you can expect from the CYDaily newsletters:

- Daily encounters with the government of Canada: Your daily dose of awkward
- Memes, moving images and quizzes
- Information about actions taken at COP
- Good news… and bad news
- Terrifying facts
- Links to the CYD blog
- Quote of the day

Some highlights from last week include:

1. We wrote about Canada’s facepalm-inducing climate proposal 

2. We looked everywhere for Canada’s Climate Change Ambassador, Dan McDougall (don’t worry, we found him)

3. The formidable scientists and researchers from the IPCC told UNFCCC delegates what everyone on the planet already knew (human influence on the climate system is clear)

4. So-called “developed” countries like Australia, the US, and Switzerland (supported by Canada and New Zealand) surprised no one by continuing to block progress in climate finance meetings

5. We’ve seen the corporatization of COP20: A representative from Shell sat on a panel at an IPCC side event (what?!) and Chevron and TransCanada representatives have been present at almost every meeting with the Canadian government.  According to her Twitter, BC’s Minister of Environment promptly met with Chevron upon her arrival to the Peruvian capital

6. Er’rybody is talking about Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as a solution to climate change (Spoiler alert: it’s not). The Global CCS Institute and their corporate bedfellows are hosting a side event on-site today and Nicholas Stern is slated to speak there. We are calling on Stern to cancel his speech, in order to cast doubt on the legitimacy of this false solution to climate change

We’d love your help. Tweet at @GRI_LSE, @guardian, @lseecon to put the pressure on! We have sample Facebook and Twitter posts herehere, and ici (en français!). Here’s a meme that you can share, using the hashtag #stepbackstern  

7. Members of the CYD participated in two action on Youth and Future Generations Day here at COP20 


Want to catch up on Week 1 at COP 20? Click here to read a week’s worth of blogs and updates!

And sign up now for the updates coming this week! They’ll only be getting more interesting as the negotiations continue.  

Feel free to forward this message on to anyone who might be interested.

Finally, here's an important blog post for you: 

We must stand with communities on the frontlines of our climate inaction

As we write this, communities across the islands in central Philippines are reeling after Typhoon Hagupit hit land on Saturday night.  It’s almost exactly a year after record-breaking Typhoon Haiyan burst through the same area, demolishing a million homes and killing more than 7,000 people, and almost two years to the day since Super Typhoon Bopha touched down leaving over 1 million families displaced and over 1,000 people dead and the CYD wrote a solidarity statement with the Philippines at COP18. At the time of writing this, Typhoon Hagupit has already caused over one million people to evacuate their homes, and three fatalities have been confirmed.

Read the full blog here


In solidarity from Peru,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Kelsey, Brenna, Megan, Aleah, Alex, Bronwen and Katie



We are considering sending this e-mail to Canada’s lead negotiator at COP, Dan McDougall, who said yesterday: "Since we do these updates daily, sometimes there's not a whole lot to report on..."

Clearly he doesn't know about the hottest newsletter online…

Highlights from COP 20 Day #5:

  • Norway pledged to double their contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to a total of USD$225 million. This brings total GCF contributions to USD$9.95 billion, nearly reaching this year’s goal of $10 billion

  • Observers yesterday voiced concerns that the negotiations are progressing too slowly, which may prevent important pre 2020 commitments from getting enough time in the spotlight

  • Yesterday we had the opportunity to meet with negotiators from the Umbrella Group, which includes Canada, Norway, Japan, Australia, the US and more. Highlights (read: lowlights) include:

    • Australia will not be contributing anything to the GCF to support mitigation and adaptation measures around the world. Even Canada is doing more on that front by contributing a total of $300 million. It remains to be seen whether Canada will contribute again next year.

    • When asked about long term emissions goals, a variety of targets were mentioned by different state negotiators, none of them were strong enough to be on track for what’s needed to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Encounters with the Government of Canada: your daily dose of awkward

Canada’s Climate Change Ambassador Dan McDougall attended his second Canadian stakeholders meeting in a row. Maybe he caught wind of our concerns about his absence?

Out of the gate, Mr. McDougall all but confirmed that Canada’s INDC proposal will not be an ambitious one. When asked about commitment periods for emissions reduction targets, he paid lip service to the benefit of a five year commitment period, which would ensure mitigation efforts are implemented with urgency. However, Mr. McDougall indicated that Canada prefers a 10 year commitment period, providing more evidence that our current government refuses to act ambitiously against climate change.

Much of the meeting focused on Canada’s position on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Canada’s pesky ADP submissiontouts CCS as a means to mitigate emissions from “energy-intensive sectors.” When pressed, Mr. McDougall’s comments on CCS were in line with the ADP submission. In other words, not good.

We asked how the government plans to balance costly CCS with the need for investments in renewables and phasing out fossil fuels. It seems the Canadian government committed to cutting emissions - from coal - which makes up just 11% of Canada’s overall emissions. McDougall again mirrored the government’s ADP proposal, pointing to existing prohibition of new coal-fired electricity generation and once again ignoring the oil-soaked elephant in the room.

Mr. McDougall mentioned SaskPower, whose Boundary Dam project will sell some of the CO2 that it captures to Cenovus Energy. Cenovus will use that CO2 to extract more oil. We are a bit confused about how this will do anything to cut emissions.

A representative from Chevron was back again yesterday. Additionally, a representative from TransCanada was also there! As you all know, we always enjoy a little corporate presence in the stakeholder meetings. Here’s hoping we cross paths with our favourite corporation again before all this is over. 

Actions at COP

In September, four leaders of the Ashéninka people of Saweto in Peru were murdered for their work defending their Amazon home from deforestation. There’s a striking dissonance to the fact that Peru is hosting these global climate talks to foster environmental progress when in the wake of this tragedy they have failed to protect activists’ families, convict their killers, or hold up the land rights they were fighting for in this first place. We joined others this morning to stand in solidarity with the widows of these slain activists and demand justice for their families. 



Help us dampen corporate influence at COP2

Nicholas Stern is slated to talk alongside reps from the World Coal Association and Shell next Monday at an event that will champion unproven Carbon Capture and Storage and slam grassroots divestment campaigns. Shockingly, it’s sponsored by our favourite friends of the earth, Shell and Chevron. You can read more about the delightful gathering here on Corporate Europe Observatory’s blog.

This event is a particularly glaring example of corporate influence on the UNFCCC negotiations. We are calling on Stern to cancel his speech, casting doubt on the legitimacy of this false solution to climate change.

We’d love your help. Tweet at @GRI_LSE, @guardian, @lseecon to put the pressure on! We have sample Facebook and Twitter posts herehere, and ici (en français!). Here’s a meme that you can share, using the hashtag #stepbackstern.  


Multimedia Interlude

We had our first radio interview of COP yesterday! Brenna chatted with The Green Majority, a show broadcast on CIUT in Toronto. She shares what has happened so far here in Lima, particularly regarding Canada’s ADP submission, speculations on our INDC, climate finance, and why it’s important that civil society is here to bear witness. Listen here, Brenna’s interview starts at around 10 minutes.

Also check out this fantastic take on the popular Québécois band Mes Aïeux’s song Dégénérations:  

Even if you don't understand French, there are great sketches to help you figure out the main message - that previous generations have wrecked the planet and that youth and future generations will have to live with the resulting impacts forever. 

Ontario is coming to town

On Monday, representatives from the Ontario government will be present at COP20. The Ontarian members of our delegation will be present at their stakeholder meeting. That’s right, you heard us: we will have the chance to ask Ontario any climate-related questions we may have. Do you have a (serious) question you want us to ask? Send it to us by Monday morning via e-mail ( or social media (Facebook or Tweet us!).

Quote of the Day

“We have floods... I have a cottage on the coast, and my private road was washed out three years ago. My insurance company paid...but then it was washed out again, and it wouldn't pay... I didn't like that.”

- Negotiator from Norway on the importance of incorporating “loss and damage” into adaptation discussions. Ugh.


In solidarity from Peru,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Kelsey, Brenna, Megan, Aleah, Alex, Bronwen and Katie


Highlights of Day 4 at COP20

JK! Yesterday was not BINGO Day. It’s not until tomorrow. Guess we were just confused since Chevron and Shell were everywhere. But really, every day could be BINGO day if you count the amount of corporate influence on governments present at COP.

  • Canada’s BFF, Australia, is messing things up for everyone by being an all-round hypocrite: they claimed that climate change has no place in finance discussions. However, they are also keeping their environment minister home and sending their finance and trade ministers. How peculiar!

  • Yeb Sano, the outspoken and inspirational member of the Filipino delegation from COP 19, will not be attending COP this year. After mysteriously being disallowed to attend negotiations during the first week, rumours were circulating about him possibly being able to attend next week’s negotiations. Because of the mega typhoon Hagupit heading towards the Philippines, he has decided to remain there in solidarity with his people. We also learned today that evacuation of coastal villages and landslide-prone communities has begun. We are sending love to the Filipino people and will continue to fight for climate justice here in Lima.

Your terrifying fact for the day:

A member of the CYD attended a press conference by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG) and a webcast interview with Cambridge University’s Professor Peter Wadhams today.  Mr. Wadhams stressed the catastrophic threat thatunreleased methane gas in the Arctic poses to the climate. IPCC reports do not take into account the methane yet to be released as permafrost melts and ocean beds warm - making the need for ambitious targets all the more urgent.

But on the bright side…

Talk around Net 0 is gaining momentum within COP.  Get ready to be inundated with more information around the Net 0 movement as youth and civil society start amping up the push for 0 emissions and 0% discount rates!

Actions at COP

Today, the CYD participated in two different actions, both with a solid amount of media presence from around the world. 

The first action highlighted the unheard voices of future generations from around the world. There were two specific demands:

  1. That agreements are in line with having net zero fossil fuel emissions worldwide by 2050

  2. That negotiations cease to be rooted in a discount rate that values impacts in present day over impacts in the future


The second action was hosted by SustainUS, the main American youth delegation here at COP20. It was the launch of a new initiative called the Climate Test, that will highlight the climate policies, projects and politicians that are helping or halting progress.

You can share our posts about these actions on Facebook and Twitter here. 

Encounters with the Government of Canada: your daily dose of awkward

Spotted: Dan McDougall!

Canada’s Chief Negotiator came by the Canadian stakeholders session to take a turn at fielding questions from us. Mr. McDougall opened with a recap of the UNFCCC meetings from this year.  He went on to say that Canada has had the opportunity to hear from such diverse energy interests as SaskPower and Shell. “[The ADP process] certainly engages a broad array of actors,” he told us.

The first question from the floor was from the CYD. Given that it was Young and Future Generations Day at COP, we asked how the Canadian Government was representing the interests of youth for the duration of the negotiations. Dan more or less stated that by being here they are by-proxy representing us. Thanks Dan! …. Yikes.

We also asked Mr. McDougall when Canada would be releasing their most up to date Emissions Trends Report. He told us, “I’m not pertinent to when it’s going to be out."

Canada & Climate Finance: the Price is most definitely not right

In climate talks past, finance was a bit of a pariah at the table, labelled as a distraction from the real business of mitigation and adaptation. But in the lead-up to the Paris treaty, finance has become incredibly important because it has the goal of including all countries, not just the rich ones. If Global South countries are going to commit to a treaty, they have to be feel secure they can afford to commit to a development trajectory that’s low-carbon.

For more real talk on finance, read the full blog here

Quote of the Day

“If people don’t want to have a conversation lets just pack our bags and go home."

- South African representative on climate finance


In solidarity from Peru,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Kelsey, Brenna, Megan, Aleah, Alex, Bronwen and Katie


Highlights of Day 3 at COP20

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It was BINGO day at COP20! Sounds pretty fun, amiright? Nope. BINGO actually stands for Business and Industry Non-Governmental Groups. While we didn’t go to any of the events organized by the International Chamber of Commerce, we can assume it looked something like this. We did, however, have the pleasure of experiencing a corporate presence several times throughout the day:

  1. A representative from Chevron attended the stakeholder meeting with the Canadian government, inviting government delegates to a side-event later that day #Chevwrong

  2. At a panel on the IPCC 5th Assessment Report for Policymakers, this happened:

That’s right, a representative from Shell felt like he had all the answers on climate change (thank you!), and turns out Shell feels the same way as the Canadian Government: they both believe that Carbon Capture and Storage is the solution to all the climate’s ills.

Take this simple quiz to find out if you, too, could one day be a Shell representative:

To keep temperatures under 2 degrees, would you:

a. Spend billions of dollars on technology that somehow captures CO2 emissions and uses it to extract more fossil fuels so that the industry can emit even more CO2.

b. Convert to renewables.

Chose b? Sorry, you lose! No swanky Shell job for you.

In good news... 

  • Germany is kicking serious butt with their emissions reductions. They have gone over and above the EU’s pledge to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020 to reach a goal of 40% emissions reductions by 2030.  The German government released plans today to slash CO2 emissions by up to 78 million tonnes, at least in part by working to phase out coal.

  • The Alliance of Small Island States was the first country group that has come forward in support of a complete phase out of fossil fuels and 100% renewables-based global energy production by 2050. Other countries, including Norway and many Latin American and Caribbean states also added their support.

  • Representatives from the Green Climate Fund released the news today that they will be in a position to accept proposals by June 2015.   This means that real dollars can start being funneled into adaptation and mitigation efforts in the Global South.

In not-so-good news...

  • The US and Swiss representatives openly opposed legally-binding commitments on climate financing for the treaty in Paris next year. This would mean that countries could essentially pick and choose how and when they would contribute to international climate funds (No big deal, we’re only $90.3 billion short at this point). Needless to say, this leaves a great amount of uncertainty for nations needing to access funding for adaptation and mitigation efforts.

  • Additionally, the Swiss representatives threatened developing countries that any demands for finance commitments would jeopardize a strong outcome from COP20. Really Switzerland?  Needless to say, Switzerland’s active blocking of progress in the meetings today earned them the Fossil of the Day Award.

  • Canada spoke in support of Switzerland.  You stay classy, Canada!

Encounters with the government of Canada: your daily dose of awkward

Attendance at the government meeting today was a bit more interesting, with an industry rep from Chevron present alongside the usual civil society crowd.  Chief Negotiator and Canada’s Ambassador on Climate Change, Dan McDougall was unable to make it to today’s meeting, again. Dan McDougall is officially the Carmen San Diego of COP20.

  • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions  (INDCs) to emissions reductions (due in March 2015) were brought up again today. When pressed, the government confirmed that they will be submitting their proposal on time.  Rest assured we’ll be holding them to that.

  • When asked about the content of their INDC proposal (which will essentially be Canada’s commitment for Paris 2015) and whether it would be action or target-oriented, the Canadian government said to “look what we have done in the past” which, given Canada’s track record on climate policy, does not bode well.

  • When asked about Canada’s position on climate adaptation - a hot button issue at this year’s COP -  the government gave a very enlightening answer, saying, “Adaptation is good. Often it needs to happen locally, but we also support it at other levels, like regionally and nationally”. Also, the Earth is round. Hurrah!

If the South Were the North: the frontline of climate change in Canada

In 2008 I visited Isabella Bay, Nunavut, a renowned sanctuary for whales. On a sparkling Arctic day, I wrote, “I noticed that there were at least eight whales moving around the bay… We watched [them]… until we heard over the radio that a polar bear had been spotted on shore… Seeing these age-old ambassadors of the North, it struck me just how vast and truly imperative the Arctic is.” 

Now, in the context of this month’s international climate negotiations, climate change in the Arctic is already exacting far-reaching consequences in places like Kiribati, an island nation that purchased land 2000 kilometers away in anticipation of gradual submersion by rising seas. 

Read the full blog here. 

Quote of the Day

“I would also agree with some of the comments made yesterday that perhaps all parties should be replaced with each party, and also supportive of the notion of the inclusion of “from a variety of sources”. We would also agree with the comments on 31.1.c but would like to get clarity on the meaning of the last phrase of that sentence which refers to international financing. In 31.1.2, going back to the notion of what is more appropriate for what we are considering here as an agreement, we would suggest the deletion of e,i,j,o, as well as the final phrase of b. ”

- Canadian Representative in the ADP Finance Meeting

Just kidding. That’s just the kind of stuff we get to listen to all day. Here’s the actual quote of the day:

“Monitoring of the ecosystem is not an activity for Indigenous people, it is a lifestyle.”

- Kimaren Ole Riamit, Executive Director of Indigenous Livelihood Enhancement Partners, Kenya


Thanks for reading and sharing!

With solidarity from Peru, 

Kelsey, Alex, Brenna, Katie, Aleah, Megan, and Bronwen - the Canadian Youth Delegation 

Highlights of Day 2 at COP 20: 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave a summary of their Fifth Synthesis Report today. It was super rad of the scientists to present their summary at COP20, which included key findings about observed climate change and its cause, future climate change, risks and impacts, and future pathways for adaptation and mitigation.

Main take-away points include:

1. Human influence on the climate system is clear.
2. Recent human-produced emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history.
3. Human-produced greenhouse gas emissions are now higher than ever.
4. Every continent already experiences the impacts of climate change in some way.
5. Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. 
6. Governments need to halt the business-as-usual approach and take immediate action on climate change. 
7. The next two decades present a window of opportunity for climate change mitigation efforts. 

Check out the full report, in a super interactive format, here.

Check out this rad short video about the IPCC report’s key findings, just released today, here: 

Update from the ADP:

Today was the opening day for the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) Holy acronym batman!  

The mandate of the ADP is to develop a protocol with legal force before 2015.  The ADP is critical in laying the groundwork for action between now and COP21 in Paris where states will sign a legally-binding treaty.  The ADP is particularly important in the context of what individual states will bring to the table next year in Paris (e.g. emissions targets etc.)

One thing is certain, negotiating groups from across the globe, particularly groups from the Global South called for proposals that were less mitigation-centric.  Instead, they expressed the need for adaptation in addition to mitigation, capacity-building, technology-sharing, and climate finance (mostly through the Green Climate Fund).

The representative for Nauru spoke on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).  She gave a fiery speech reminding the negotiators that a “discussion on adaptation is absolutely critical in moving us forward. Adaptation is about survival. We are already experiencing impacts that can no longer be mitigated and to which we can no longer adapt”. It’s day two, and the inequities are already very apparent. 

Encounters with the government of Canada: your daily dose of awkward

- Unfortunately, we weren’t able to question Canada’s chief negotiator, Dan McDougall, today as he was called into another meeting for the second day running. However, we did manage to ask a couple of key questions about Canada’s dismal climate policy.

- When we asked about the government’s work plan for their national contributions (INDCs) due in March 2015, the government representative standing in for McDougall said that they hadn’t yet set out a timeline. This is worrying as there is still tons of work to do and very little time to do it in.

- CYD slid in a question on stakeholder engagement, because we are pretty worried about not having our voices heard in that process. Many countries actually have a stakeholder engagement process (read: citizen consultation) to develop their INDCs. Looks like Canada won’t be one of them.

- We also asked about how our INDC would be reviewed (to ensure that it is adequate and reflects the will of the 88% of Canadians who want action on climate). The government representative’s answer was “I’ve already answered your question”. Wicked!

Tomorrow, we hope to finally lay eyes on Mr. McDougall. Otherwise, we might start to get worried!

A Collective Conscience: Why I'm in Lima for COP20 

In Canada, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples are disproportionately affected by the extraction industry.  Here and around the globe, indigenous and racialized people and those living in poverty are undoubtedly bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change.  In spite of this or perhaps because of it, they are fighting back.  It is their fierce resistance that gives me hope.  I want to take time to acknowledge the frontline communities around the world that are standing up for their right to a safe environment for themselves, their families, and their future.  We owe it not only to ourselves but also to them to stand beside them in their fight for justice and truth, because before we know it, it will be the privileged few on whose doors climate change will be knocking, and there won’t be a way out.

Read the full blog here. 

Quote of the Day

“We call on Parties to include clear, equitable, ambitious contributions to get to zero: zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
- Claudel P-Desrosiers, International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (and fellow Canadian!)

In solidarity from Peru, 

Kelsey, Alex, Brenna, Katie, Aleah, Megan, and Bronwen - the Canadian Youth Delegation 

Highlights of Day 1 at COP 20:

  • After a theatrical performance to mark the opening of COP20, Rajendra K Pachauri, IPCC Chair brought everyone back to the challenge at hand “with the reality of science”. He spelled out the influence of human emissions and their unequivocal impact on people and the planet. He also expressed his hope that COP20 will  direct us towards a commitment to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius and reach a zero emissions world by the end of the century.

  • NGOs spent the day laying strong groundwork to call on governments’ around the world for strong commitments to climate action. 

Encounters with the government of Canada: your daily dose of awkward

Today we met with the Canadian government negotiators alongside representatives from Canadian civil society. In the wake of our last blog post, we thought we’d try to clarify some points about the proposed national contributions for Paris 2015. Here’s a brief summary about the answers we received:

  • Canada will keep their current ADP proposal as it is (remember all the facepalms?) But that won’t happen if we have anything to say about it.

  • Negotiators were asked how the recent US-China climate deal will affect Canadian climate policy, to which they responded that we have a very different “electricity profile” than the US and that Canada already has a large portion from non-emitting sources

  • In fact, the Canadian government stated that we can’t increase the use of renewable energy “like the States can” because of the amount of renewables that we already use (Just so you know, according to Natural Resources Canada, renewable energy sources currently provide ~16.9% of Canada’s total primary energy supply.  We think there’s a little room for improvement there)

  • The negotiators implied that provincial and territorial governments have got things covered on the climate front. In fact, their effort is so big that the federal government touted emissions reductions as being the responsibility of the provincial and territorial governments. How novel!

  • Canadian negotiators also said they are open to meeting with aboriginal groups. We’re looking forward to hearing more about that.

Stay tuned for more uncomfortable commentary tomorrow!

Linking Moral Judgement with Climate Change

Climate change is not simply a scientific issue. It is a moral issue that requires a moral response. As of today, world leaders have been unable to agree on what the most appropriate moral response to climate change is. And some leaders, like those in power in Canada, have disregarded morals all together. There is an underlying historic responsibility associated with positions of power and privilege. With that in mind, it is clear that Canada’s elected leaders have an obligation to lead in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Tragically, this has not been the case and Canada continues to push forward its obstructionist agenda.

The moral path to climate justice is more crucial now than ever before. The World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people already die from climate change each year and, if human-produced emissions are not phased out, this number will dramatically rise in decades ahead. Climate change is essentially a pandemic, yet elected leaders are not treating it as such.

Read the full blog here.

Canadian Medical Students Take a Stand for the Climate

Medical students from across Canada made this video to demand the government of Canada recognize the severe health effects of climate change and take action. Watch the video here:

In solidarity from Peru, 

Kelsey, Alex, Brenna, Katie, Aleah, Megan, and Bronwen - the Canadian Youth Delegation 

P.S. To help support our work on the ground here at COP 20, you can donate to the Canadian Youth Delegation here! 


Welcome to the CYDaily, your source for all news from the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP20. 

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Hey COP20, the Canadian Youth Delegation has arrived!

A facepalm-inducing climate proposal from the Government of Canada

Today, the COP20 UN Climate Negotiations in Lima begin. As part of the lead-up to a global climate agreement next year in Paris, governments around the world will be discussing their commitments for emissions reduction targets. These commitments are slated to come in the form of intended nationally-determined contributions (INDCs) and are due in March 2015 - three short months from now. Canada’s most recent proposal avoids any mention of the tar sands and our increasing inability to meet emissions targets, and outlines only a handful of inadequate “solutions”. Here are the highlights, or should we say lowlights, from the dismal proposal. Spoiler alert: brace yourselves for some serious face palms. 

Read the full story here.

Greetings from COP 20 in Lima 

Delegate, Aleah Brooks, discusses some of the basics of COP and what we can expect coming out of the negotiations this year, and the Canadian Youth Delegation's plans to hold our government accountable. 

Check out the blog here. 

And don't forget, this is your last chance to sign up for our CYDaily. Sign up now! 

In solidarity from Peru, 

Kelsey, Alex, Brenna, Katie, Aleah, Megan, and Bronwen - the Canadian Youth Delegation