From left we’ve got Mike, then that’s a windswept me (!), Phil and Matt. We’re standing in front of Parliament House in our nation’s capital, Canberra on a freezing cold winter’s day. But, as you can see, we’re grinning through the cold!
On Monday 31 August, the four of us road tripped it from Sydney to Canberra to meet with our government’s Ambassador for Climate Change, the lead negotiator at the UN climate talks, Louise Hand. To talk about, you guessed it, climate change!
I decided that instead of just me going along to the meeting, that I would invite some other young passionate Australians who have signed up to get the inside scoop on the international climate negotiations via the Adopt A Negotiator blog.
…Who are they?…
Mike’s a mechanical engineer who has worked for CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) in the renewable energy sector, Phil is doing a PhD looking at communities in developing countries are adapting to climate change and how a global agreement can best serve the needs vulnerable communities, and Matt is an International studies student and involved with a massive youth movement, Vision Generation. And me, well, I’m your Aussie tracker.
It was a really constructive meeting – we nutted out a bunch of things like agreeing to do some more interviews and video blogs with the Australian delegation so all of you readers out there will be able to get a real insight into who our country’s negotiators are and what they are advocating on our behalf. Of course we also got to ask some questions into the current state of play.
Mike asked: considering the slow pace of the talks, and that we are less than 100 days out from Copenhagen, are we going to reach a global agreement that will solve climate change?
The response from the delegation was that although the talks may seem to be moving very slowly to people outside of the process, and that they may be moving slowly in relation to the fact that we need urgent action, in fact whether we have 100 or 50 days or 200 days left isn’t the key point. They reiterated what we are hearing negotiators from around the world say, what is lacking is necessary political will from heads of states. The delegation are looking to the upcoming high level international talks (like the G20 and the UN General Assembly – more on this later) for world leaders to make some progress which will refresh and invigorate their negotiating mandate.
Walking out of the meeting I felt inspired. Inspired by the power and passion of youth, inspired by the fact that I live in a healthy democracy where we have the opportunity to speak with, and advocate our positions to decision makers, and they will listen.
2009 is quickly passing us by. Here in Australia, September is the first month of Spring, at the moment jasmine is fresh on the warm evening breeze and the climate calendar for September is fast filling up.
There is this really nifty application out there that you can download to your own website or blog. It’s a countdown to Copenhagen clock . It will tell you exactly how many days, minutes and seconds we have left to world leaders will gather in Copenhagen in December. This clock asks a constant question: how will you use your time?
…upcoming international climate-y events…
In the coming month we are going to see a number of high level international meetings as well as civil society come together even more creative ways as we continue build the movement of movements. The climate solution.
If you haven’t heard about it, check out what New York city has planned for Climate Week (Sept 19-25). It’s going to be huge. New York will be alive with amazing climate events before and during the UN General Assembly meeting which will also be in NY, where Ban Ki Moon has said climate change will be high on the agenda. Hot on the heels of the General Assembly is the G20 , where finance ministers from twenty countries will come together to discuss global economic matters. President Obama tasked finance ministers earlier this year to come to the G20 ready to talk about climate financing. Our Treasurer Wayne Swan will be at this meeting.
I’ll be closely tracking both the UN General Assembly and the G20, as well as brining you highlights from NYC Climate Week. But, you don’t have to be in the US to be a part of the climate solution. We have tonnes going on in Australia too, and there’s something for everyone.
…your role on the climate stage?…
Below is a list of a couple of the things that I’m working on, but, I want to hear what you’re up to. Please share with us here at Adopt A Negotiator what you are doing to raise your voice to demand strong global climate action now. Together, our seemingly small ripples can be a tidal wave for change.
Right now I am working with my climate colleagues to draft a letter for us all to send to Treasurer Swan, bidding him well at the G20 meeting. Watch this space. We’re also thinking about plans to get Australia on the map for the Global Wake Up Call on September 21. If you have ideas on how to creatively convey to our leaders (PM Rudd and Opposition leader Turnbull) that time is running out for urgent climate action, I want to hear from you. Lastly, we all know that climate change poses the greatest threat for the coming generations, that’s why the Australian Youth Climate Coalition with World Vision V-Generation are hosting Youth Decide’09, a massive national youth vote on climate change. Youth Decide will give Australia’s 4.8 million young people the chance to vote on what kind of world we want to inherit. Find out more and register to host your own event.
Phew. Lots going on. I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited. Please let me know what you’re up to in your home town, school, workplace and beyond! If you’ve written a letter about climate change to your local paper, I would love to see a copy of it on here. If you’ve designed climate action t-shirt, please post a photo on here. Let’s share our work and continue to inspire and learn from each other. You know as well as I do, time is running out.