The 6th December, in occasion of the “Business and Industry Day”, a group of youngsters decided to organize a mobilization action to ask negotiators for climate justice and to uncover the hidden sides of the COP24 that is hosted this year in Poland, one of the greatest coal deposits. The action was promoted by Engajamundo, a youth led project created after Rio+20 to engage young Brazilians in international processes through capacity building, mobilisations and activism. With an impressive performance, youngsters clearly showed the tension between their wishes and those of the big companies: while young people are ambitious and want to fight for a more sustainable world, corporations base their interests on the economic profit and, thus, refuse to acknowledge the destructive effects of their activities on the planet.
We want to report here the initial speech read by Engajamundo because also we, the Youth Press Agency, are sharing the same hopes and ambitions:
“Today is Business and Industry day at COP24 but it is also Youth and Future Generations day. As young people, we are the ones who will be left to deal with a broken planet, sponsored by fossil fuel industries and dangerous distractions.
We need a conflicts of interest policy at COP. The people are calling for faster action, the IPCC 1.5°C report is calling for greater ambition, and mother earth is screaming. If fossil fuel sponsorship and lobbying continues to dominate and infiltrate these negotiations, none of the above will be possible.
Living in northeastern Brazil, the most vulnerable region to the effects of climate change, showed me over the years the urgency of controlling global warming. This made me look for alternatives on how to understand and help, so that more people could know the environmental guidelines. We deal with constant droughts and this scenario is getting worse. Our political situation perfectly highlights how decision-makers sit in the pockets of the fossil fuel industries. Their money, their power and their unforgiving pollution threaten our planet and the people on it. If we don’t remove them from negotiations – where we must set ambitious and necessary targets to combat climate change, we cannot hope to live in a 1.5°C world.
The corporate interference and sponsorship is all around us here. It cannot be ignored, and yet business and industry are given a whole day just to remind us how much power they have.
If we, the future, have to share our day with the very people who pollute it, then you can BET we are going to have something to say.
We know we need to act with urgency in order to change the fate of our world. Young people have been at the forefront of this push for ambition and we will continue to demand climate justice. Yet we are forced to recognise the vested interests here at the COP and the ways in which they influence, and hold back negotiations to benefit their bottomline.
On this day, we reclaim youth and future generations day as our own, and we reject the idea that those who have driven this crisis deserve any place in these talks. We are asking parties to support a bold and urgently needed comprehensive policy on the conflict of interest here at COP which would allow us to reach a 1.5 world that accounts for climate justice and protects our future”.