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EU: Turn your COP24 ambitions into concrete new years resolutions!

After a year full of climate change related natural disasters, students striking from their schools and massive demonstrations to demand climate justice, world leaders didn’t manage to step up against climate change at the climate summit. The 24th Conference of Parties from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came to an end late at night on Saturday. Certain countries were actively blocking the negotiations and aimed at avoiding the 1,5 degree report from the IPCC to play a leading role in the years to come. 

It’s an abomination that the supposed leaders of this world have chosen to once again postpone taking action to combat catastrophic climate change. Instead, they opted for putting their hopes on the climate summit in New York coming September. For professional negotiators, who work in diplomacy, this might be a short-term plan. But for the climate and the people that are already suffering, this is nine months to come closer to the 3 degree or higher path we are following. 

European Union 

Despite the lack of consensus amongst the different member states, the European Union joined the “high ambition coalition” to call for higher ambitions towards the emissions reductions until 2030. We now call upon the European leaders to take this message with them as It is now more crucial than ever that the leaders go back home and start working on how to put the ambition into concrete actions. Next to that, we call upon the European Union to work harder on ensuring their member states respect the rule of law. Despite the general speech held in the summit, we have seen how several climate activists were denied entry into Poland, because fighting climate change is an apparent “threat to society”, while the fossil lobby was granted a space in the EU Pavilion in the summit.. 

The role of Poland as the president of the COP isn’t one to go into history well either. They invited the coal industry to be their main partner, invited many fossil fuel lobbyists to the summit and promoted the use of coal for at least 200 more years. Luckily, their narrative of coal as a solution for climate change wasn’t received well. Besides this example, the respect for science and facts was unfortunately not very high, with the discussions around the IPCC report on 1,5 degrees as the main issue. Several countries refused to “welcome” report and instead the report is only mentioned because it was “presented in time”. The IPCC has warned we have only 12 years left to reduce our emissions by at least 50% if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. The big polluting countries refused to listen to this warning and instead delayed the negotiations, by using this report. 

Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United States, amongst others, should be ashamed of themselves. They prefer to hang on to the profits of the few shareholders from their country, rather than all the people in the world. It is worrying to see that countries are creating a debate about science to actively influence and delay the use of that science. 

Youth activism 

There was a lot of attention for the young people that are standing up all around the world to demand climate justice. Unfortunately, this was only outside the summit. In the final draft text future generations, intergenerational, youth or young are not mentioned. Apparently, we are just tokenized in bilateral meetings, but not taken seriously. 

Because we understand the role of young people in climate activism is crucial for our fight to succeed, the Federation of Young European Greens calls upon all young climate activist across Europe to join together and step up for climate justice. Stay tuned, we will collaborate in the future with other young organisations to build up a network of young climate activist and claim our future.

Gender issues

As a cross-cutting issue gender played the important role in many negotiations during the COP24. After the Lima Work Programme on Gender from COP20 and the Gender Action Plan from COP23, we expected that the guidelines in the Paris Rulebook will include references to gender and human-rights issues during COP24. Moreover, the parties are asked to act more on capacity building and gender balance in negotiations and delegations. However, we have witnessed Parties cutting out references to human rights, gender equality and the rights of indigenous people across different parts of the Rulebook. Unfortunately, many parties still think that mentioning gender references in the Paris Agreement Preamble is just enough and there is no need to be included in the Paris Rulebook as well.