Magazine article UN Chronicle

A Future to Look Forward to Youth and Children Demand Global Climate Stabilization

Magazine article UN Chronicle

A Future to Look Forward to Youth and Children Demand Global Climate Stabilization

Article excerpt

Youth and children, as the next generations, have the right to a clean future--they do not wish to inherit a toxic, radioactive, dirty and carbon-driven world. We demand a clear definition of sustainable energy and time-bound targets for the implementation of a sustainable energy policy that will free us from respiratory ailments, air pollution, climate change and a radioactive legacy. We stand in solidarity with vulnerable communities, including low-income and marginalized groups, indigenous populations and those living in geographically vulnerable areas, who bear and suffer a disproportionate share of the impact of climate change.

Youth and children worldwide, having worked together at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and within their communities on the ground, believe that renewable energy is the key to a sustainable future. With the support of all stakeholders, a holistic strategy is needed to offer a sustainable solution to energy access, providing local context-sensitive measures that preserve the environment. Within that strategy, we must aim to phase out our reliance on nuclear energy and fossil fuels--energy sources that are simply not viable options for sustainable development. Following the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, Governments must consider the reliability, affordability, economic viability, social acceptability and environmental soundness of energy services and sources. However, nuclear energy and "clean" fossil fuels utterly fail this test.

Global climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation. Given the changes already occurring and the projections for the coming decades, adaptation by way of environmental, social and economic adjustments is essential in order to alleviate the most direct effects of climate change. We fear for future generations and, although there is consensus on the impacts of climate change, efforts to advance adaptation activities and projects have been inadequate. While international efforts are concentrating on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation should rank just as highly on the international agenda. We urgently need commitments to create funding mechanisms to deploy the necessary adaptation projects and coping mechanisms. It is particularly important to examine the needs of the rural and urban coastal communities and small islands developing States, and for research to address the relationships between food security and climate change. …

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