02 Mar 2007
Positive News US looks at the progress made at the UN Climate Change Conference, which was held in Nairobi in November
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Half way through the UN Climate Change Conference,held in Nairobi from November 6–17, Dr. Joseph Ouma Muga, a 70 year oldKenyan professor of geology and environmental studies, stood up in ameeting and said, ‘This is one of the best days of my life.’
Dr. Muga was not speaking of the plenary sessions where over 6,000delegates from more than 180 countries were debating the science andeconomics of climate change, emission– reduction proposals, carbonfinance, and after Kyoto what? He was praising the energy, creativity,and intelligence of the only youth panel at the conference, ‘Generation Kyoto: Youth-led Climate Change Action from Local to Global.’ The panelists, from Canada, India, Togo, Costa Rica and the Netherlands, were brought to
Nairobi by organizations such as Greenpeace and Solar Generation International.
UN climate change conferences have been held annually for 12 years now,and are best known for having negotiated the Kyoto Protocols in 1997.One hundred sixty six nations have now signed on, pledging to reducetheir greenhouse gases collectively by 5% as compared to the baselineyear of 1990. Elegant calls to urgent action came from two Nobel PeacePrize laureates, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Wangari Maathai,and the authoritative voice of Sir Nicholas Stern of ‘The Stern Report’fame.
Though few agreements were made at the conference, the fact thatrepresentatives from 180 countries could carry out such seriousbusiness or that the UN can function at all during such trying times insuch a vulnerable part of the world is still a marvel of modern times.It was inspiring that young people from around the world could haveboth hope and such a good presence at the Nairobi meetings. And thereis some reason to believe that this year’s conference did lay some goodgroundwork for global action, thanks in
part to the contributions of Generation Kyoto.
Photo © Garry Thomas
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