#Youth4Climate: Inspiring Young People Around the World to Take Climate Action
Today’s youth are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last that can do something about it. A flotilla of partners are working together to empower young people around the world to engage in the UNFCCC climate talks taking place in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
Why Does Climate Change Education Matter?
As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says in Article 6, education contributes to the solutions being developed to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change:
“The solutions to climate change are also the paths to a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for all. To see this and to understand what needs to be done requires a sharp and sustained focus on education, training and public awareness in all countries and at all levels of government, society and enterprise.”
Key points on why climate change education matters:
- Long-term, independent records from weather stations, satellites, ocean buoys, tide gauges and many other data sources all confirm that our nation, like the rest of the world, is warming. Scientists who study climate change confirm that these observations are consistent with significant changes in Earth’s climatic trends. (U.S. National Climate Assessment, 2014)
- Over the 21st century, climate scientists expect Earth’s temperature to continue increasing, very likely more than it did during the 20th century. Two anticipated results are rising global sea level and increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts and floods. These changes will affect almost every aspect of human society, including economic prosperity, human and environmental health and national security. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will bring economic and environmental challenges as well as opportunities and citizens who have an understanding of climate science will be better prepared to respond to both. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Society needs citizens who understand the climate system and know how to apply that knowledge in their careers and in their engagement as active members of their communities. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
- Climate change will continue to be a significant element of public discourse. Understanding the essential principles of climate science will enable all people to assess news stories and contribute to their everyday conversations as informed citizens. (USGCRP Climate Literacy, 2009)
The #Youth4Climate social media campaign is an effort led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Energy, Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), CLEAN Network, The Wild Center, the World Bank Group’s global partnership program Connect4Climate, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, Alliance for Climate Education, Earth Day Network, Climate Interactive and others. It is an open discussion for all to join the youth call for climate action.
Young people are one of the largest demographics in the world—approximately one billion youth roam the globe today. Climate education is now a necessary foundation for those young people. In order to tackle the complex issue of climate change, we need leaders with the skills, knowledge and passion to push for and innovate solutions.
With their knowledge, young people are already the leaders of this generation. They are already demanding ambitious action on climate change and leading a youth climate movement. The #Youth4Climate coalition is supporting them all the way on the road to and through Paris.
We are excited to join forces and support them by giving them a voice and an opportunity to lead in Paris and beyond. We know the solutions are here and are committed to working together to build a resilient climate-friendly world. Join us at #Youth4Climate.
Social Media Kit
This coordinated media effort is a commitment to educating, engaging and lifting up youth in the COP21 space. In order to create a powerful presence during this defining moment in climate history, we need your help. This toolkit should provide you with all the information you need to engage in the #Youth4Climate social media campaign, as well as provide you with a list of important youth and climate education initiatives taking place around COP21.
For a month, from Nov. 12 until Dec. 12, we’re calling on young people to share their climate solutions, tell their climate stories and engage in the UNFCCC COP21.
Nov. 12-13: In the center of the Adirondacks, in northern New York state, 200 high school and college students convene at the Wild Center for the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit to learn climate science and to create climate action plans for their schools and communities. #ADKyouthsummit Watch highlights here.
Nov. 12-30: In the lead up to COP21, get ready to film a #Day4Climate action when people around the world will raise the voice of youth in climate action and send in your climate questions and or statements to the partners developing the U.S. Center side event, “Our Time to Lead: Youth Engagement on Climate Change” on Nov. 30 (ASTC, the Wild Center and the Alliance for Climate Education, collaboration with DOE and NOAA) using the hashtag #AskUSCenter. See more here.
Nov. 15: Students and teachers from schools from across New England will meet at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut for the GSAx Sustainability Conference to share best practices and create action plans around how schools can play an integral part in addressing climate and conservation challenges. #GreenSchoolsAll
Nov. 16-17: If you are in Washington DC on Nov. 16-17, join the World Bank Youth Summit 2015 to engage with crowd-sourced solutions to climate change or discuss climate change with your peers online through the #wbgyouthsummit community.
Nov. 20: Vermont Youth Climate Summit. High school and college students from across the state of Vermont will share ideas, craft plans and inspire action to reduce carbon footprints of schools and communities through peer-to-peer learning at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Follow their Facebook page here and connect with #VTYCS.
Nov. 21: Middle and high school students will gather at Furr High School in Houston, Texas for the School and Community Sustainability Summit. The summit is a collaborative effort of the Green Schools Alliance and the Houston East End Greenbelt Initiative. #GreenSchoolsAll
Nov. 26: Finland Youth Climate Summit at Heureka, the Finnish Science Center in Helsinki. Junior high schools students from all over Finland will gather to create a climate action plan for their schools, while their teachers learn to support them, with coaching from experts. It is the most remarkable climate education event in the country, leading not only to learning but also to concrete actions.
Nov. 26-28: This year’s Conference of Youth, organized by young volunteers, will take place in Villepinte, France. The conference targets youth, aged 18 to 30, to spread sustainability best practices, with a specific climate change focus. Join #COY15 and spread the youth climate movement.
Nov. 29: Join the 24-hr Film a #Day4Climate Action challenge organized by Connect4Climate, Vimeo and partners. On Nov. 29, at the Global Climate March, people around the world will raise their voices for climate action. Film your climate action, solution or conversation on the day before COP21. We are heading for a clean resilient future. Let’s make it a reality. Let’s tell the world through film, send your story to #Day4Climate.
Nov. 30: At the U.S. Center at COP21, an interactive panel of climate scientists, decision makers, science museums and youth climate organizations will showcase unique and diverse youth programming models and student-driven initiatives that are advancing place-based climate solutions.
Nov. 30: Youth experts will also be heard at COP21 in the Justice and Future Generations: Achieving Intergenerational Equity in Paris and Beyond side-event.
Nov. 30-Dec. 11: The Window into Paris: COP21 #EducatorsinParis initiative of Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy will be sending out daily digests that include blogs by their staff and teacher delegation to Paris and information on how to connect to daily webcasts hosted by teachers connecting back to their classrooms, which will also be open to the public. Climate Generation will be bringing the position statements of hundreds of students and public to share with the U.S. delegation. Climate Generation will also host daily informal “cafe roundtables” with experts in Paris.
Dec. 3: The Young and Future’s Generation Day at the UNFCCC COP21 will host a number of youth-focused events throughout the day, placing youth at the heart of the climate talks. Join with #ParisACE for #COP21.
Dec. 3: In the middle of the day young leaders will join their older counterparts on the Intergenerational Inquiry official side-event of the UNFCCC. This is followed by a special screening of “An Inconvenient Youth,” a film documenting the vibrant untold story of the global youth climate movement by Slater Jewell-Kemker, a young Canadian.
Dec. 3: During an international interactive video conference organizing a dialogue between youth and experts on concrete plans for their communities and youth and education leaders can ask their questions at the Universcience the science center in Paris on Dec. 3 by using hashtag #WorldCOP21.
Dec. 4: UN Alliance Call to Action: There is an urgent need to scale-up action and investment in climate change education, training and awareness raising. This high-level event showcases innovative ways of effectively engaging all stakeholder in this transformation. Panelists will include representatives from Earth Day Network and Connect4Climate, discussing recent climate education and communication initiatives. In the evening the #Day4Climate filmmakers and UNFCCC videographers will be celebrated at a youth reception with a special presentation by Prince Ea.
Dec. 4: World Climate Project: Interactive Simulation of UN Climate Negotiations. In the Climate Generations Area from 11:30-1:00, Climate Interactive will offer a chance to explore potential pathways to address climate change through an interactive demonstration of the World Climate game and computer simulations C-ROADS and En-ROADS. Put yourself in the shoes of the climate negotiators to see what it will take. Analysis of the INDC pledges will be offered alongside a framework for understanding how climate solutions can and must address other challenges simultaneously. See more here.
Dec. 6: The Sustainia Award Ceremony will highlight and celebrate the solutions and young change makers that are already paving the road to achieving the SDGs and tackling climate change. Young entrepreneurs will be awarded by a jury lead by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Connect4Climate will present leading industry transformers from their Fashion4Climate and Film4Climate initiatives during the show: www.sustainia.me/cop21/.
Dec. 7-8: Earth To Paris: A diverse coalition of groups, from foundations to technology companies to media organizations and more, is uniting to launch Earth To Paris to drive awareness and host events that highlight the connection between people and planet and the need for strong climate action; to showcase climate solutions and innovations; to bring together communities to promote collaboration; and to engage people around the world in the dialogue taking place in Paris.
Dec. 8: CLEAN Network Teleconference: Live from Paris—Kristen Poppleton, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy, Title: Window into Paris: COP21.
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By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
Creating a Global Sustainable Transition<p>How the world recovers from COVID-19's economic damage could help drive a lasting shift in the global energy mix.</p><p>Nearly one-third of Europe's US$2 trillion economic relief package <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/eu-approves-biggest-green-stimulus-in-history-with-572-billion-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">involves investments that are also good for the climate</a>. The European Union is also strengthening its 2030 climate targets, though each country's energy and climate plans will be critical for successfully implementing them. The <a href="https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Biden plan</a> – including a $2 trillion commitment to developing sustainable energy and infrastructure – is aligned with a global energy transition, but its implementation is also uncertain.</p><p>Once Biden takes office, Kerry will be joining ongoing <a href="https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021/about#:%7E:text=The%20overarching%20goal%20of%20the,2030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development.&text=Accelerate%20delivery%20of%20United%20Nations,related%20issues%20at%20all%20levels." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high-level discussions on the energy transition</a> at the U.N. General Assembly and other gatherings of international leaders. With the U.S. no longer obstructing work on climate issues, the G-7 and G-20 have more potential for progress on energy and climate.</p><p>Lots of technical details still need to be worked out, including international trade frameworks and standards that can help countries lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming in check. <a href="https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Carbon pricing</a> and <a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-can-europe-get-carbon-border-adjustment-right" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">carbon border adjustment taxes</a>, which create incentive for companies to reduce emissions, may be part of it. A consistent and comprehensive set of national energy transition plans will also be needed.</p><p>The global shift to <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jan/A-New-World-The-Geopolitics-of-the-Energy-Transformation" target="_blank">clean energy will also have geopolitical implications for countries and regions</a>, and this will have a profound impact on wider international relations. Kerry, with his experience as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and Biden's plan to make the climate envoy position part of the National Security Council, may help mend these relations. In doing so, the U.S. may again join the wider community of countries willing to lead.</p>
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By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.
We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
Time for Action<p>I have spoken to many scientists, particularly federal scientists, who are eager to turn the page so they can hurry back to the work they had been doing before this administration, but I urge caution in assuming that things can be "normal" again.</p><p>Before Trump, I naively thought the scientific integrity policies established during the <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/12/19/scientific-integrity-policies-update" target="_blank">Obama administration</a> would be sufficient. I never imagined that any administration could so willfully ignore and attack expert advice and evidence that is intended to protect us and our public lands.</p><p>I have personally witnessed how hard our federal scientists work. They put in long hours with minimal pay (far less that what they could get if they worked in private industry) to pursue one simple goal: to make things better for the nation.</p><p>We need stronger scientific integrity policies to protect these people and their work. But more than that, we need stronger scientific integrity laws because they also benefit society.</p>
By Andrea Germanos
Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.
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