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Climate Change Conference - final negotiations interview

Youth say act now, as leaders dither

Article published on the 2009-12-18 Latest update 2009-12-18 15:12 TU

Activists displaying banners on the route between Copenhagen airport and the Climate Change summit on 17 December(Photo: Reuters)

Activists displaying banners on the route between Copenhagen airport and the Climate Change summit on 17 December
(Photo: Reuters)

The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference draws to a close on Friday, and negotiations look set to last all night. US President Barack Obama told the summit Friday that commitments must be independently monitored. But despite some compromises young people at the summit say not enough is being done.

Kirsty de Fryer, a Flemish-speaking member of the Belgian youth delegation, says that the future of the world’s children is “at stake” while delegates and negotiators at the conference “won’t be there anymore”.

Interview: Kirsty de Fryer

18/12/2009 by Rosslyn Hyams

“I do feel that things are not progressing as they should be, and people are not looking to what is scientifically necessary to tackle climate change,” says Fryer.

And, according to a leaked UN report, she is right. A document drafted by the UN Secretariat running the summit says that current pledges will still lead to a rise in temperature of 3°C, undermining current pledges ensuring no more than a 2°C rise.

The Stern Review report says that a rise of 3°C could lead to up to 170 million more people suffering severe coastal floods.

Fryer has some good to say about European pledges.

There were “a lot of positive signals, from big EU countries, that they were willing to go to the 30 per cent reduction of emissions,” she says.

But she thinks that is “absolutely the minimum requirement” and “they should actually do more”.

Although some negotiators have describe the European Union's proposals as “ambitious”, the 23-year-old does not think the EU is playing a “leading role”.

Following co-operation between youth delegates from across the world, the young Belgian is “worried that key countries don’t want to move forward enough” and her hopes for real action on global warming “are not entirely optimistic”.

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