Global Climate Negotiations

I am currently in Montreal at the global climate change negotiations. Things are really starting to get intense here, with marches in major cities across the world this Saturday, there is a huge amount at stake and the scientists now telling us we have only 10-15 years left to make the deep cuts in emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change, the stakes couldn’t be higher. I’m working with a huge number of other amazing youth organisers and campaigners here, and we’re posting regular updates on the aptly named It’s Getting Hot In Here blog. Check it out, follow what’s going on, and if you are in the UK and have time to call London and try to get some key messages through to the UK government (who currently are head of the EU) then please do contact me.

We’ve also been doing creative (fluffy) actions within the UN conference, and putting out a daily youth bulletin called ‘Tip of the Iceburg’ which is online at

That’s all great and good, but what I really would like to do is try to mobilise some young people in the UK to push the UK government from at home. The EU’s position on this stuff is in principle OK, but they’re not taking the lead they need to and the UK is in a key position at the moment to drive the EU’s position.

Without wishing to get into too much detail, the debate that’s going on here is about what happens when the current commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol finishes in 2012. The environmental groups and youth have taken the position that we need a strong decision from Montreal that will lead to a second round of compulsory emissions cuts starting in 2012 in line with the science. The EU position at the moment is that they aren’t against that, but they won’t really promote it either, and that simply isn’t good enough.

If anyone has time over this week and could work with me to do some phoning in to the government in London, and maybe some press work to try to get the message through to the delegates here that young people are watching from back home in the UK, and demand strong action to cut emissions from the government for the sake our our future, that might *just* help turn things around here.

So give me a shout – email, msn, skype – I’m trying to be online as much as I can manage. Literally 20 phone calls from young people to key people back in London asking them to pass the message through to the UK government team here could make a big difference in giving them the courage to do the right thing. We simply can’t afford for these negotiations to fail, we are out of time on climate change.

3 Responses to “Global Climate Negotiations”

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    Update: I have managed to set up a meeting with some european youth and Minister Eliot Morley this evening (montreal time) – if we can somehow get the key messages that we’ll be putting across at that meeting echoed through communication channels from the team in the UK supporting the delegation here, that would be incredible. To be honest, I’m really not sure how to get in touch with the right people back in the UK – it needs a little detective work to find out who back in the UK the team here are regularly in contact with.

    If anyone has time to work that out and then contact them that would be amazing. The three key messages we’re trying to get the UK (in their position holding the presidency of the EU at the moment) to shift on are as follows. I’ll try to not be technical, but appologies for any jargon that slips in:

    1. A definite end date to the negotiations – the need for negotiations on post 2012 emissions reduction agreements (a.k.a. kyoto round 2) to end in 2008. This is *in* at the moment (draft decision on kyto protocol article 3.9) but the EU is sitting on the fence, when we really need them to take the lead in backing this.

    2. That it is absolutely OK to leave the current US administration behind and have a strong decision under the Kyoto Protocol (which the US isn’t part of at the moment). This is a big one, because some countries (the UK included) currently seem to be wanting to ensure that the US is on board at any cost. What we need is a strong decision that moves the world forward, and that the US can become part of at a later date once their domestic politics changes (which it is).

    3. Support for what’s called “additionality” within the clean development mechanism. This is rather technical, but basically it means that projects under the ‘flexible mechanisms’ part of Kyoto have to actually make real emissions reductions. The EU (from my understanding) was fairly key in getting this included in the first place, but now it’s fighting to keep it as much as they should.

    Even if all you manage is to figure out where we need to be calling to apply pressure from the UK end, that would be a big step forward. I’ve had a few people email me this morning wanting to know who to call, and at the moment I’m not sure.

    If there is one message, it’s that the UK and EU need to take a strong stance to move the world forward with a new round of binding emissions reduction commitments under the kyoto protocol and that they should support an end date of 2008 for those negotiations.

    Please post anything you find out here as a comment.

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    hi matthew, i wonder if there is anything i can do in germany? have you been in contact with any germans at the negotiations? how many more days to act are left?

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    There seems to be a sticking point within the EU at the moment in that they can’t agree what an end date for the next round of negotiations on emissions reductions should be. I believe it’s Italy and one other country that are blocking consensus within the EU bloc. I don’t think Germany is a problem, but trying to contact the German team here and sending the message that you support 2008 as an end date for the negotiations on post-2012 targets can’t hurt. The more support we give countries who are on our side to push this point, the better. Unfortunately I have no idea how you can contact them.

    For anyone who wants to contact the UK delegation here, you can email them: ukdelegation [at] — just make sure you are polite, since they seem to be very much on our side even if the government’s actions at home don’t (quite) seem to line up with policy.

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