The international youth presence at COP15 is a formidable force. Over 2,000 young people from countries all over the world have come together in Copenhagen with the clear message that our political leaders must seal the deal on a fair, robust and binding climate treaty. Despite differences in language and culture, this common call to action is driving an extremely high level of organization and communication. As renowned climate scientist Steve Schneider told me tonight over dinner, this engagement by youth at a COP is unprecedented.
At ACE, I have been continually blown away by some of the action that our students have taken in their hometowns, and it gives me great hope to see so many young people stepping it up on the global scale in Copenhagen.
First of all, this is the first COP that youth have actually been recognized as a constituency. This means that youth are given a voice with as much recognition as any other NGO delegation. Secondly, the youth are showing the world that they can be energetically disruptive, as well as politically savvy. There is still a very long way to go before an effective international deal is reached, but whatever the outcome here in Copenhagen, it is clear the youth will play a major role.