A position paper from the Sierra Youth Coalition delegation to the COP in Montreal:
Today’s youth recognize that the manner in which individuals and cultures relate to the environment is important to the development of sustainable societies and thus humanity’s survival, and that locally and globally there are a number of root causes that compound and inform the exploitation, manipulation and degradation of natural environments, and that these causes are compounded by Western values which prioritize immediate gain over future interests and seek to exploit natural resources resulting in a loss of biodiversity, ozone depletion, pollution of water resources, and climate change on a global scale;
Today’s youth recognize that such practices function to undermine the future sustainability of human societies on a global scale;
Today’s youth recognize that the transboundary and transgenerational implications of environmental degradation requires that practices which do not account for posterity or the current socio-economic ramifications of environmental degradation need to be addressed in a precipitous and efficient manner, and that a multi-disciplinary and multicultural approach to environmental conventions, which integrates diverse socio-political and epistemological ideals as well as concepts of economics, policy, environmental conservation and traditional ecological knowledge and practices is required if the prior-generations’ legacy of environmental degradation is to be overcome;
Today’s youth recognize that the negotiation of substantive environmental conventions that produce effective environmental legislation are a key component to reversing greenhouse gases, climate change, depletion of finite natural resources and other forms of environmental degradation;
Today’s youth recognize that for environmental conventions to be effective they must incorporate domestic interests, cultural differences, holistic practices, economic and political realities, and that the negotiation of Climate Change Conventions must produce self-enforcing agreements if goals such as reducing green house gases and ensuring the conservation of common resources are to succeed, and that the development of environmental agreements that ensure compliance is an important step to overcoming the current history of ineffective mandates for environmental conservation, which are primarily the result of a failure to ascertain consensus on enforceable statements of action that enable the effective fulfillment of environmental responsibilities.
Today’s youth recognize that anything less than comprehensive, self-enforcing conventions based on sound environmental principles undermines the interests of today’s youth as well as future generations of youth on a worldwide scale, because it is youth who will suffer the consequences if today’s governments’ continue to fail in negotiating comprehensive environmental conventions tha! t can be translated into strategic environmental legislation and cooperative environmental conservation mandates;
Today’s youth recognize that they have a greater stake in these environmental negotiations than any other party but lack equal representation.
The SYC mission is to develop a strategic model to ensure youth are provided an equal opportunity to inform the development of efficient, effective and enforceable environmental mandates that reduce unsustainable and exploitative economic development practices, so that all youth can aid in the development of strategic environmental legislation and cooperative environmental conservation mandates based on sound environmental principles so that today’s youth can be proud to pass on a sound environmental legacy to future generations of youth.
In seeking to achieve these ends today’s youth advocate and endorse:
· The initiation of negotiations, in Montreal in 2005, for the Second Commitment Period (2013-2017) of the Kyoto Protocol, to be concluded in 2008.
· Broader participation (including the annexation of greater numbers of countries) in the Commitment Period with a corresponding timeframe to be used for the implementation of the ‘greening’ or ‘decarbonization’ track for developing countries
· The integration of adaptation strategies into a unified adaptation track within the climate regime (the UNFCCC) and not within the Kyoto Protocol.
· The development of a track to end tropical deforestation.
· A total conversion to the use of Mandatory Caps and the discontinuation of voluntary caps.
· The realization of targets, inline with what scientists, governments and civil society have agreed to, of 25-30% reductions relative to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% reductions by 2050, in all industrialized countries. Today’s youth recognize that anything less will not prevent dangerous interference with the climate system,
· A long term goal that precludes increases above 2°C within interim goals set every 5 years.
· The maintenance of atmospheric concentrations of carbon at no more than 400ppm