Press Release: Statement by US and Chinese Youth Directed at Our Presidents and President-Elect

 

For Immediate Release

CYCAN and CAC delegates present their joint statement directed to their leaders.

Marrakesh, Morocco-  Dear President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping, and President-Elect Donald Trump,

Last year the world came together to create the Paris Agreement. Both the United States and China have ratified this agreement. However, we still have a lot to do, and US and Chinese governments are morally as well as legally responsible to do everything in their power to address climate change as soon as possible.  As the two largest global economies and greenhouse gas emitters, our countries have the opportunity to lead the world forward in climate action.

In this statement CYCAN and CAC seek to share a unified vision for what we expect the United States and China to support in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 22 (UNFCCC COP 22) and beyond, and in doing so, continue to build stronger working relationships between our two countries. We are calling for action from both parties to work on pre-2020 ambitions, adaptation, climate finance and loss & damage. This must be done while promoting and considering “obligations to human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.”

The US and China need to share technological resources and provide capacity-building to developing countries in order to provide the tools necessary for countries to adapt to climate change, including addressing impacts to agriculture, coastal cities, and vulnerable populations.  Last September, the United States reaffirmed its $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and China announced that it would make available 20 billion Renminbi for setting up the China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund to support other developing countries to combat climate change.

We call on the United States and China to provide a clear pathway to providing finance to developing countries to actualize their NDCs. China and the United States should support developing countries to assist with these climate impacts. Both countries should provide assistance when called upon by the global community.

As the representatives of youth in China and the United States, we demand our countries act proactively on climate change now. They must be ambitious, provide finance, support countries facing loss and damage, and help people adapt to climatic changes that are already happening.

CYCAN

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Press Conference Speakers:

Jing Liu, CYCAN

Kongrui Li, CYCAN

Nicholas Jones, Care About Climate

Sarah Voska, Care About Climate

To watch our Press Conference, you can view it on the UNFCCC Stream HERE.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (December, 2015). Paris Agreement.   

US-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change. (September, 2015). White House

 

We Have A Climate Agreement…. Now What?

On December 12, 2015 nations came together to sign the Paris Agreement. This is a new climate agreement that was designed to get nations to reduce their greenhouse gases and prevent further global warming. This agreement is revolutionary because all countries within the United Nations have to participate, and it outlines a process to attempt to keep global warming on average well below 1.5 degrees celsius.

So, what is this process? Essentially, nations agreed that they would submit pledges every five years to reduce emissions, and it is up to individual countries to fulfill those commitments through domestic policy with the help of international finance and aid, if needed. This allows individual nations to make policy decisions that make sense for them, while trying to collectively prevent a big problem. The catch is that they either need to keep their current pledges, or they need to up the ante and pledge more each time they submit their commitments.

Although this is a great first step, it is not going to get us to where we need to be without domestic action, organizing, and voting. The agreement is only as good as the pledges and policies that the countries make individually, and the pledges that the countries made in 2015 will still lead to a 3 degree celsius world.

We need to do more, much more, and it will be up to us to make that happen. We need to work locally to develop projects that mitigate greenhouse gas production, we need to elect politicians that care about climate change, and we need to advocate and vote for policies that help support a just transition to a clean energy economy. It will take all of us together to get this done.

This year is a particularly important year because we have the opportunity to take this agreement and demand action now. In the United States there will be an election that will determine the amount of resources, time, and effort that is given to address climate change by the US government. It will be critical to elect a president that cares about climate change, and will uphold what we promised to do in the Paris Agreement. It is up to you to get involved, vote for climate, and encourage others to do the same.

To start, you can show that you care about climate and that you want others to care about climate with the climate symbol. Help get the conversation about climate change started in your neighborhood, on your campus, and in your community. We need to show that we want action on climate change now! Get your free climate symbol stickers here.

If you would like to help in our Vote for Climate campaign email careaboutclimate@gmail.com.

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First Stop: Tucson, AZ

Hello! My name is Nat10434318_10152467474489169_9071055305704435390_nalie, and I am the Executive Director of Care About Climate. I have been working on environmental issues since I was 16 starting with a plastic bag reduction campaign in my hometown of Flagstaff, AZ. I got involved with the climate movement in 2012 when I attend my first United Nations Conference of the Parties in Doha, Qatar. I was intrigued by the complexity of the issue, I was inspired by the people that were dedicating their lives to fight it, and I witnessed the urgency and need to address the issue now, if not yesterday. Since then I have been dedicating my studies and my life to addressing this issue of climate change through education and advocacy as well as on the ground163251_476774687259_7289451_n projects.

This is Don.  He is Care About Climate’s videographer and photographer. He is also from Flagstaff, AZ and co-owns Ambient Lens LLC. Don has a lot of experience working on telling the story of indigenous and environmental issues through multimedia.

Together, we are traveling around the United States on our Road Trip to Paris to talk to communities about climate change, climate policy, and what we can do about it.

Why a road trip, and why now? Are you driving to France? These are all great questions that we get, and I can answer them. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is meeting this year in Paris, France for their 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21). At this meeting nations will come together to create a new climate agreement that all countries will be signing onto to address this huge problem of climate change. Many people do not know about this historical meeting and they do not know how they can help make a difference in the conversation. So it is our goal to help spread awareness and engage people around the United States around the COP.  We think one of the best ways to do that is to visit people in their community to talk about what they can do at home, locally, to have a global impact. Doing a road trip helps us visit dozens of places and connect with people on a personal level. So no, we are not driving to France, but we are road tripping until Paris.

IMG_2276Our first stop on the Road Trip to Paris was Tucson, AZ to visit the University of Arizona. This is my alma mater, and it is the school and community helped foster my passion for climate change, environmental justice, and taking action on the issues that matter most. The UA also has top of the line researchers and programs that are working to learn more about climate change while building resilient communities in the process.  In every way this was the perfect place to start.

We drove into Tucson last Thursday and talked with individuals from the Agnese N Haury Foundation, which is a foundation that focuses on climate justice issues. We learned about what groups that they are funding around the community are doing to combat climate change. One of the projects is a thriving compost program that is a partnership between the Tohono O’odham Nation, the City of Tucson, and the University of Arizona called Compost Cats. This was originally a student-run project that has changed the way the community looks at food waste and the connection to climate change, and it is expanding to decrease that food waste overall by taking the food that can still be eaten and redistributing it to the community. The foundation has also have been funding a fabulous school garden program that helps revolutionize underserved schools by providing them with gardens, composting bins, water harvesting systems, and curriculum that can be integrated into the children’s everyday learning experience.  Finally, we heard from students at the UA that are think12022621_1055934601096312_7101373551921056133_oing about climate issues through literature, and are writing fiction pieces that are inspired by the things that they see are happening all around them as a result of a changing climate.

In addition to meeting with the Haury Foundation, we were able to talk to a variety of community members about their efforts, which includes Power Through Paris workshops to talk about how to build momentum for climate action in Arizona, the city developing a climate resiliency plan, and local groups like Physicians for Social Responsibility working on adaptation toolkits for neighborhoods. After meeting with all these groups and learning about their initiatives it was exciting to see all the momentum that has been building up in a community I grew up in to seriously address the issue of climate change by mitigating it and adapting to it.

We gave our first Road Trip to Presentation on Monday at the UA’s Institute of the Environment. Students, staff, faculty members, and community members all came out to learn about the climate negotiations and how they could help. It was a great group that had a lot of knowledge collectively, which made the presentation very interactive an exciting.

It was great visiting Tucson and seeing it grow in many fun and exciting ways. On to the next adventure! Check us out at Arizona State University on Thursday: https://sustainability.asu.edu/events/.