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The Youth Press Agency is an initiative of youth participation through the creative use of new and traditional tools of communication and information. 
Promoted by: Viração Educomunicação (Brazil), Viração&Jangada (Italy), Fundación TierraVida (Argentina) and ClimaLab (Colombia). 
The Youth Press Agency is an initiative of youth partecipation through the creative use of new and traditional tools of communication and information promoted by the association Viração&Jangada in collaboration with the association In Medias Res, associations of youth and schools.
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24/12/2018, 16:38

Chile, UNO, COP25, transparency, YOUNGO, Katowice, USA, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, IPCC, global warming


 The XIV UN Conference on Climate Change touched many fundamental questions for the fight against global warming, raised many problems and found some solutions. Although they have agreed on a few points, the negotiators left a lot to the next COP.

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change, better known as COP24, was held from 3 to 15 December of this year in Katowice, Poland. This annual meeting is an international event that brings together hundreds of institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, activists, foundations and people from around the world around a common cause, the global environmental problem. In that sense, the 24th edition of the Conference of the Parties concluded last Saturday is important for two fundamental aspects: The latest report published by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) on the increase in global temperature by 1.5 ° C in relation to the pre-industrial era; that marks a before and after in terms of the scientific basis and accumulation of evidence on climate change and its effects was to be adopted.

The publication of the last report of the panel, that the same COP that invites to carry out such studies, represents the definitive defeat of the negationist current used by authorities like the president of the United States -Donald Trump- to delegitimize the importance about the topic. The second aspect has to do with the Paris agreement signed 3 years ago in this same negotiation space, at the headquarters of the French capital. This document establishes an effective reduction that represents at least 55% of global emissions of greenhouse gases, a measure that begins to be effective as of 2020.

In relation to the participation of the countries, we see that there are two very different blocks in terms of their positioning. The conservative block , politically correct, but lacking real commitment to the pending agenda of the climate struggle, basically its own market interests prevail. The second is the block that defends the effective fulfillment of the Paris agreement, and that knows that ambitions must increase in the next decade if we really want to avoid reaching the point of no return, from which the Earth-System will not be able to return to its normal condition (regeneration process) and where the ability of human predictability on its effects will be completely zero. To this block belongs the countries that joint the "High Ambition Coalition", a group of countries that committed to reach higher reduction of emissions to 2030.On this element the diatribes that led to a very diplomatic formulation of acceptance, in order to fight the resistance of the opposing countries, were not lacking.The IPCC report was NOT included in the final document of the COP event because four countries do not agree with the inclusion of the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The reasons seem more than obvious: they are not willing to give up their energy matrix for the global fight against climate. In this sense, it is evident that the most important and influential authorities in the world have no interest in supporting themselves in the science that they finance and defend, limiting themselves to having empirical evidence as a reference, and not as the central support. of the climate action plan.

As a remarkable point of these two weeks of negotiation in Poland, was the leading participation of the island countries, who were present in the working committees and decision spaces actively. Proof of this was the intervention of Maldives in the final plenary of the event where he warned that "we are only 12 years of being able to reach 1.5 ° C and that the effects of global warming will affect countries unevenly, so it is necessary take more severe and effective measures. " The situation of island countries such as the Pacific Islands and their different Confederations is extremely serious because accompanied by the increase in temperature the sea level will also rise, causing the collapse of isolated territories and the death of entire communities, all this It can occur after 2030, according to the latest IPCC report.

The countries with the highest degree of climatic vulnerability are Egypt and Ethiopia, who spoke on behalf of the G77 + China, questioning the lack of commitment of the developed countries towards the fulfillment of the agreements already agreed by the Parties, such as the Paris agreement. In the same way, Malaysia has expressed its discontent for not having addressed the concept of Climate Equality in a holistic way, understanding that all countries deserve the cooperation of multilateralism and that the geographical size of the country should not be a criterion for prioritizing support or financing by the international organization.

Perhaps the most representative point of the COP24 has to do with the issue of Transparency, since from now - the Transparency Framework - a set of binding rules is established for all countries to submit periodic reports in relation to the climatic actions adopted. In addition, each country will have the obligation to present a National Adaptation Plan detailing all the actions planned for the next years and the procedures used to comply with it. Both points are unprecedented in the multilateral agreements prior to the one approved in Katowice by the 197 countries present. At the same time, the Platform of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities was created, which represents an important step in the consolidation of a permanent space of participation and synergy with the other representations of the Convention, which aims to take into account the holistic vision of ancestral peoples as guardians of nature. This space will be composed of communities from the seven socio-cultural regions of the world, and will meet twice a year to implement a Work Plan for 2020. In the same way, the intervention of the Representations of Women and Gender had a great prominence in Poland. The role of women in the different axes of Climate Change such as water, agriculture, food security, biodiversity and others is gaining the collective recognition of organizations and has its own agenda for the future.However - despite the fact that a global financing of 5.5 billion dollars was approved for the implementation of 93 proposals for financing for adaptation and mitigation in 96 developing countries - the COP24 did not live up to the expectations of the group of environmental organizations, research institutions, indigenous communities, local people, young people and activists who attended the event from all regions of the world.The Women and Gender Constituency’s actions were very strong and said that there is no reference to human rights in the text,  in spite of the many meetings and proposals on this point.

Also YOUNGO - the international constituent that brings together young people from everyone, stood in front of the world leaders reiterating that "they are far from being ambitious" and "compromise the future of future generations", "our future" they said.

However, although the Paris agreement is in force, there is no guide to how this set of good intentions can be transformed into concrete actions after 2020, above all in terms of the systematic reduction of gas emissions , that nowadays are inevitable product of the economic matrix of several states parties. Secondly, because many institutions and organizations that know that the effects of climate change are already causing serious social and environmental problems around the world, hoped that this edition of the Conference would show a much more ambitious scenario for the future, what it means to build - at least from the rhetoric - agreements more drastic than the Paris agreement itself. And finally, because the final document does not include the IPCC report as the central support of the Katowice Agreement, which has a deep political implication. Yes, although it is difficult to digest, the minority is still able to overcome the needs of humanity.

In this sense, the COP25 hosted by Chile will be the cornerstone for global climate adaptation, not only because it is the last opportunity to establish the times and forms of what was signed in Paris, but because it is urgent to live up to it. the biggest challenge in our history. Issues related to mitigation, specifically to the market and carbon credits have been postponed to be resolved in this next edition. Latin America, the most biodiverse region on Earth, will once again receive the United Nations authorities in the lead-up to what may be the last decade of climate stability on the planet. It is urgent that our local, peasant, indigenous, social and citizen organizations take this fact as an opportunity to change the course of the COP towards a truly sustainable future and at the service of the next generations.

Juan Orgaz Espinoza/ Observatorio Educador Ambiental, partner of the YOuth Press Agency, and Domenico Vito/ Alliance IVS YOUNGO

22/12/2018, 12:16

COP, Katowice, Chile, climate change, Paris Agreement, Rulebook, National Determined Contributions, global warming, IPCC, UNFCCC


 COP24 has ended. A day later than originally planned. The extra time was needed to reach an agreement on the Rulebook of the Paris Agreements, but also testified a warning lack of real international cooperation when it comes to the climate crisis.

After two weeks of tiring negotiations, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) officially closed on December 16th on a note of enthusiasm that would have seemed unrealistic only a couple of days before. An enthusiasm that brought the deal to be welcomed by a standing ovation of the around 200 governments gathered in Katowice (Poland) and by a jump of COP President Michal Kurtyka down the plenary table. The reason for all this excitement was the adoption of the so-called "Rulebook" of the Paris agreement, which includes the technical guidance that will make it operational from 2020.

The Paris Agreement is based on the "Nationally Determined Contributions" (NDCs), i.e. the climate plans that every country has committed to implement from 2020 onwards. The objective is to peak global greenhouse gases emissions as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter so to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels while making efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. The Agreements creates an institutional framework that should support and monitor these efforts. The heart of it lies in the "Transparency Framework" which describes how, how often and how in detail States need to report on their mitigation, adaptation and climate finance commitments. The most controversial point during negotiations was how to possibly differentiate between developed and developing countries in their reporting efforts. A compromise was eventually found in having common criteria while allowing for flexibility for those countries that lack capacity.

As for climate finance, a topic which is typically controversial at COPs, the process for defining the new 2025 targets was also nailed down. The new targets should replace the current commitment to mobilise 100 billion dollars a year from 2020 to support developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts. The language agreed is nevertheless permissive and it does not provide clear indications on the type of financial resources that would qualify for the goal. More clarity was instead reached on the modalities for tracking progress on technological transfer. Finally, the COP specified the functioning of the Global Stocktake, the mechanism that should ramp up States’ ambition in climate action every 5 years.

It was impossible to reach an agreement on the voluntary market mechanisms foreseen by Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and which should allow countries to sell their surplus in climate action (eg. mitigation efforts exceeding their domestic goal). Brazil held the talks in hostage on some technical issues -and this is why the conference closed with a delay of one day and a half- and it was therefore decided to leave this issue for COP25.

The objection by some countries (USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) in welcoming the importance of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C was eventually weakened in the final decision. As a compromise solution , the text now welcomes the timely completion of the IPCC Special Report and invites all Parties to make use of it in the UNFCCC process. Yet, it looks like it is still difficult for some countries to accept the call made by the scientific community on the urgency of keeping temperature increase within 1.5°C so to limit particularly adverse climate change impacts on people and ecosystems. This is even more important in light of the results of a recent report by Global Carbon Project which shows that emissions increased again in 2017 and will probably increase by 2.7% in 2018.

It is probably too early to analyse in detail the implications of the complex technical guidelines agreed in Katowice. Defining the Rulebook was undoubtedly an important step ahead and a good technical result. Yet, the relief for having reached a deal after sleepless negotiation nights, comes with a sense of disappointment for the lack of urgency and ambition in the text. In Katowice, it was agreed what was actually possible. Yet, what is possible will not be enough for acting on the climate crisis. In the final speech to the Plenary, Amalen Sathananthar from "The Activist Network" and in representation of youth civil society organizations, was clear: "Nobody expected COP24 to save the world, but we expected more. And deserved more". On the same line, Carlos Rittl from the brazilian Observatory on the Climate said: "Paris defined the framework for limiting global warming and its adverse impacts. Katowice created the tools for making the Agreement operational. Yet it is only political will that can ramp up climate action".

The next COP25 will be hosted by Chile in 2019, while for COP26 the competing hosts are Italy and the United Kingdom. Italy’s candidature was officially presented by the Minister Sergio Costa in Katowice. The COP26 in 2020 will be of extraordinary importance as the Paris Agreement will take effect and the first revision of NDCs will be completed.

Elisa Calliari, Paulo Lima e Roberto Barbiero
14/12/2018, 22:30

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PIK, HELIX, Arctic Sea, civil sociey, glaciers


 Droughts, floods, heat waves, violent storms and extraordinary winds: the world is on a tipping point. The scientific commuty, here voiced by John Schellenhuber, urges us to act immedeately.

We need to be realistic: the road which has been taken could lead us to the catastrophe. This is one of the several considerations of John Schellnhuber, climatologist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). After the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate, despite the alarm already expressed by the scientific community, nothing significant has been done in order to change the route that would consider a drastic reduction of greenhouse gasses emissions. The world is not only going in the wrong direction but also donates us presidents such as Donald Trump in the USA and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Both of them even deny the patency of climate change and guide extremely important countries, from the economic and the environmental point of view, in the fight to climate change effects.
So far, the estimated increase of the global temperature is 1°C average above the preindustrial period. At this rate of greenhouse gasses emissions, the temperatures could approximately rise to 2.5°C-4.4°C by the end of the century (2100). Even worse: there are countries like China, Russia and Canada which rates could lead the temperatures to reach 5°C. Scientists are then interested in understanding what would happen to our planet in case the route will continue to be the wrong one. In the HELIX (High-Ended Climate Impact and Extremes) project, climatologists examined the physical consequences for the planet depending on the different temperature rise scenarios.

What worries the most is the increasing frequency and intensity of the extreme meteorological events. Particularly, the stress provoked on the human life by the rise of heat waves, frequently accompanied by high humidity. With a 2°C increase, the areas subjected to heat waves would rapidly expand around the globe and with a 4°C increase there would be lead to dramatic consequences in the Tropics, mostly in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

Regarding precipitations, we will observe quite variable behaviors in the future with some areas that will be characterized by the increased frequency of drought, others by intense rain and other areas which will be subject to both phenomenon. The percentage of people damaged by floods will increase from the current 54 million to 97 million, in case of 2°C temperature rise, and 211 million, in case of 4°C temperature rise.

Another important issue will be the expected rising level of the sea, which could become extremely serious in case of collapse of the Artic glacial platform. What draw more attention are the Southeast Asian areas, particularly Bangladesh, which are densely populated and already in high vulnerability and exposition conditions. In fact, here is where rising sea level and presence of intense storms and hurricanes are combined.

Among the elements analyzed by the researchers, it has been particularly underlined the increasing risks for the world’s population related to food safety, which is measured in terms of availability, access, stability, and possibility of use of the food. Again, Africa and Southeast Asia suffer the higher risks. Already with a 2°C increase, several areas of the planet will reach levels of vulnerability with no precedent.

There’s a disturbing aspect which is faced by John Schellnhuber: the processes we observe as a consequence of climate change are not linear and they could reach the so-called tipping points, namely points of no return. In the future, the achievement of the different rising temperatures thresholds, 1.5°C, 2°C, till 4°C, would prompt progressive irreversible physical processes.Likely for some of them is already too late, such as for the fusion process of the Arctic Glacial Sea, Greenland glaciers and also for the continental mountain ones like the Alps.

There are also concerns about the modifications in progress in the global atmospheric circulation. The abnormal increase of the temperature in the Arctic affects, for instance, in the behavior of the so-called jet stream which is as a matter of act responsible for the weather in Europe. Anomalous drought, such as the ones happened in spring and summer 2018 in Northern Europe, and the intense rains in Italy at the end of October, are consequences ascribed to the modifications of the jet stream. 

The situation is therefore extremely critical. Of course, it’s still possible to intervene. In fact, there are no physical impediment to the reduction of the greenhouse gasses emissions and the available technology would be helpful yet. However, we need a political will which has find all the countries united in one huge effort of cooperation and responsibility. That’s what we expect here in Katowice.

Why, instead, are the negotiations going very slowly? Why is there resistance? Probably the social and economic system we live in displays all its own limits. What if indeed is the system to be wrong? That’s the question that Schellnhuber asks himself and answers recalling to the necessity to cause a social change which could not be produced by the UN Conference on Climate Change.

It then up to us, civil society, to propose a "new narrative of the world" and to cause a "big bang toward a social change" which would guarantee better life conditions to mankind in this planet.

Roberto Barbiero
Tommaso Orlandi (Translation)

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