Inspired by Greta, young Brazilians hope to be heard in the decisions of COP-26 – 30/09/2021 – Environment

The last preparatory meeting for the 26th UN Climate Conference, which takes place a month from now in Glasgow, Scotland, began this Thursday (30) with the unprecedented role of young activists.

At the invitation of the Italian government, which hosts the pre-COP-26 in Milan, until Saturday, around 400 activists from 190 countries will gather for two days at the Youth4Climate summit, to produce a document with what they consider the priority measures for conducting of the climate crisis.

Announced this morning, in front of the prime ministers of Italy and the United Kingdom (this one via video), the list, at its most incisive, calls for the abolition of the fossil fuel industry by 2030.

It also calls for the inclusion of “climate literacy” in school curricula in a global and transversal way – not a subject, but a theme present in all others – and the guarantee of meaningful representation, in national governments, in decisive processes that have an impact on the emergency. climate.

“I strongly believe that we have a lot to learn from your ideas, suggestions and leadership. And your pressure is actually very welcome. Your mobilization has been powerful and you can be sure: we are listening,” said the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

“Young people have been at the forefront of proposing positive solutions, demanding climate justice and responses from leaders. We need young people around the world to continue asking them to listen to their voice,” UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said in a message from video.

In the group of 400 young people aged 15 to 29, three represent Brazil: Eduarda Zoghbi, who is doing a master’s degree in energy policy at Columbia University, in the USA; Paloma Costa, member of the UN Climate Change Youth Advisory Group; and Eric Marky Terena, journalist for Media India. They were selected through a questionnaire, to which approximately 8,000 people responded.

“This summit is different from other pre-COP youth meetings because it has a very broad representation. Young people from all over the world were really brought in and very specific themes were chosen, priorities for the youth to debate”, Zoghbi tells sheet.

The debates focused on four themes: how to expand youth representation in decision-making processes; sustainable recovery from the pandemic; engagement of non-governmental actors; and raising awareness about the climate crisis. Brazilians were in the last group.

“My expectation is that the impact [do documento na COP] be more consolidated, because we will really have a legitimized document”, says Zoghbi, who is 28 years old.

According to her, interested in environmental issues since the age of 11, this pre-COP gains relevance with the influence and presence of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

“The international community has really started to listen to the demands of young people,” he says.

Recently, Thunberg uttered words that echoed: “Blah, blah, blah.”

“Blah, blah, blah. It’s just that we’ve heard it from our leaders. Words that sound great, but so far have produced no action. Our dreams and hopes sink into those empty words. Of course we need dialogue, but that’s it. 30 years of blah blah blah,” he said on Tuesday at the opening plenary of the youth summit.

On Thursday, authorities announced the commitment that the proposals prepared by the young people will actually be analyzed in Glasgow. “We will ensure that the voice of young people is heard,” said COP-26 President Alok Sharma.

For Draghi, who met Thunberg and two other activists this morning, the “blah, blah, blah” is really a way of “hiding our inability to act.” “But, to some extent, [o blá, blá, blá] it’s useful to convince people that action is needed.”

“We adults created this problem, not you. But now we are better off than two or three years ago. I see more conviction among leaders. Let’s not forget that some leaders abandoned the Paris Agreement less than three years ago,” he said. Prime Minister Draghi, who nominally thanked US President Joe Biden.

Biden’s White House predecessor Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the agreement in June 2017 — which was formalized in November 2020.

Biden, shortly after assuming the presidency, reinstated the country in the agreement. Absent from the event, the American president was represented by John Kerry, US special envoy for climate affairs.

The pre-COP takes place in Milan until Saturday, with the participation of around 40 countries. It is the last formal opportunity for ministers to move forward on details that will be discussed and agreed – or not – by delegations in Glasgow.

Delayed by a year because of the Covid pandemic, the conference is one of the most awaited since the Paris Agreement in 2015. It is here that countries must update their commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

One of the goals of the British presidency of COP-26 is an agreement on the goal of neutralizing emissions by 2050 and limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C — a growth likely to occur by 2040.

In the absence of the Environment Minister of Brazil, Joaquim Álvaro Pereira Leite, the country has four official representatives in Milan: Ambassador Paulino de Carvalho Neto, secretary for National Sovereignty and Citizenship Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, two secretaries from the Ministry of the Environment and another employee of Itamaraty.

At the end of the morning session, Carvalho Neto asked to speak. “We have made significant commitments under the Paris Agreement, with an ambitious NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution of Brazil), which we intend to be even more ambitious. And we announced in April, at the Climate Leaders Summit, that we will anticipate our net issuance zero for 2050,” he said.

Despite the speech of the Brazilian representative, the initial Brazilian goal, still under the government of Dilma Rousseff (PT), had a certain luck in being presented, which could facilitate its fulfillment by Brazil.

The basis for calculating emissions is 2005, the year in which deforestation in the Amazon was extremely high and, with that, so were the emissions—since in Brazil, greenhouse gases are mainly linked to deforestation and agricultural activities.

The recent update of the Brazilian target was not well received, as, according to analysis by organizations, it was not more ambitious than the previous one. Based on a change in the basis for comparing emissions, the new national target ends up giving rise to an increase in emissions.

About Abhishek Pratap

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