Global Youth Statements and resiliency races: Six things you need to know from science and youth day at COP27

Image: UN Climate Change - Kiara Worth

There has been a lot of historic criticism that the COP conferences failed to offer a seat at the table for those on the front line of the climate crisis – predominantly in the global south – and those that will have to live with the consequences of the previous generation’s mistakes.

As such Science and Youth Day at COP27 (10 November) offered a wide variety of discussions on the Global Goals, activist movements and the continuous and critical topic of adaptation and mitigation.

So, what was announced and achieved on science and youth day? What did Gen Z and the activists shaping the world of tomorrow have to say about efforts to respond to the climate crisis, and did any tangible initiatives come to fruition in Egypt?

Here, edie highlights the six things you need to know.

1) Race to Resilience posts string of updates

If you’ve been following edie’s COP27 coverage all week, you’ll have seen news of the ‘Adaptation Agenda’ – a comprehensive plan for nations to follow to improve the resiliency of infrastructure and systems for four billion people.

Building on this, the UN-backed Race to Resilience initiative for non-state actors has posted several updates, making clear the role that cities, regions and the private sector must also play in adaptation efforts. A key piece of news was the launch of a new campaign to mobilise 3,000+ insurance companies, representing at least 50% of the market, ahead of COP28.

Race to Resilience also launched a new data dashboard to help people track resilience-related commitments and progress across the world. You can read edie’s full story on these announcements here.

2) Global Youth Statement shared with world leaders

This COP is the first to have a pavilion dedicated to children and youth by the presidency and, in line with today’s theme, the pavilion had a jam-packed agenda.

One event saw UNFCCC’s official youth constituency sharing a ‘Global Youth Statement’ which was developed before COP27. It was finalised at the 17th Global Conference of Youth, which concluded last week, and youth constituency members have been sharing it more widely today.

The Statement was contributed to by young people from 149 nations of the 193 participating in climate diplomacy through the UN.

“At this critical juncture, COP27 must demonstrate tangible progress in delivering on the pledges and promises made in Paris and Glasgow. First, COP27 must finally accomplish the goal on adaptation finance and commit to a dedicated finance facility for Loss & Damage, in order to enable most affected people and areas (MAPA) and climate-vulnerable countries to cope with and recover from the increasingly destructive impacts of climate change,” the statement reads.

“Second, COP27 must embrace justice in the transformations ahead towards a climate-resilient future, advancing the inter-linked and inter-dependent climate and development goals in the post-pandemic context. Third, despite – or precisely because of – the deteriorating geopolitical environment, the COP27 must facilitate international cooperation and dialogue to collectively address the borderless, transnational climate crisis.

“The current global energy crisis perfectly exemplifies how energy markets are built on a broken system that leaves the much-needed just energy transition up to geopolitical confrontations and short-term political gains. Therefore, it is imperative that we decisively transform our societies and economies, and finally end our toxic dependence on fossil fuels.

“We urge parties and stakeholders to take the Global Stock-Take process very seriously for it will determine how far we are progressing in delivering the promises of the Paris Agreement.”

Today also saw several youth-led protests with people from across the world calling for climate justice to be embedded in all decisions made at COP27. Demands included securing a strong agreement on loss and damage funding.

3) Spotlight shone on attendees from fossil fuel firms

Global Witness teamed up with Corporate Accountability and Corporate Europe Observatory to analyse the UN’s provisional list of COP27 attendees and published the results this morning, stating that at least 636 people classed as fossil fuel lobbyists will be attending the conference in full or in part.

The organisations have included professionals working directly for fossil fuel businesses or representing industry bodies in these figures, as well as those working for – or with links to – state-owned fossil fuel bodies.

Compared with last year, the organisations believe there has been a 25% increase in the number of individuals with fossil fuel interests represented at the COP. At Glasgow, the figure was 503.

4) Nancy Pelosi leads US Congressional delegation

In what is likely to be one of her last international appearances as House Speaker for the US Federal Government, Nancy Pelosi appeared in the Blue Zone today. She is leading a Congressional delegation from the US in Egypt, which chose to travel to the conference after the World Leaders Summit and once the majority of the ballot counting had been completed for the US Midterm elections.

Pelosi stated that many policymakers in the US, including several Republican candidates in these midterms, believe the climate crisis is a “hoax”. She said these attitudes were “inexplicable” in the face of climate science and with climate risks crystallising in extreme weather across the world this summer, urging attendees to press on with progress and ignore detractors.

Less than two weeks ago, Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was attacked by a hammer-wielding intruder at the family’s home in San Francisco. Police in the city have stated that the attacker likely had a political motive and motives relating to extremism fuelled by conspiracy theories are being considered.

5) New report launched summarizing key climate science updates since COP26

Several important climate science reports have been published since COP26, including two from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, against a fast-moving news agenda with Russia’s war in Ukraine and the rising cost of living dominating the front pages, many of us will likely be less informed of climate science developments this year.

A new report summarizing 10 New Insights in Climate Science (10NICS for short) was published today at 2am Egypt time and a press conference was subsequently held in the Blue Zone at a more sociable hour.

The overarching messages from the report, compiled by Future Earth, the Earth League and the World Climate Research Programme, are that physical climate impacts are already here and that there will be limits to humanity’s ability to adapt as they worsen, which will be lower in warmer temperature scenarios.

Messages include the IPCC’s conclusion that more than three billion people are already highly vulnerable to physical climate impacts and that their vulnerability rating will grow significantly through to 2050. At the same time, hundreds of millions more people will become climate-vulnerable for the first time. This, the report highlights, will cause increased climate mobility – people being forced to move.

The report also urges world leaders present at COP27 not to perpetuate “myths” around “endless” adaptation and to properly recognise the link between land use and climate.

6) Mia Mottley brings forward Bridgetown Agenda

Technically this is a story from yesterday, but it somehow slipped under the edie radar amid the COP clamour, despite its importance.

Barbados’s Prime Minister has launched a proposal to reform the international financial system to better serve the most vulnerable and the lowest-income nations, known as the Bridgetown Agenda, after speaking of flaws in multilateral development banks and private finance during the World Leaders Summit.

Both France and Canada have reportedly signalled support for the Agenda. The Agenda calls for a debt finance holiday for developing nations; for multilateral development banks to prioritise the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; and for the creation of a new way for the private sector to contribute to aid and economies after climate-related extreme weather events in developing nations.

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