COP16 — Youth Day

Today is a slow day for negotiations in Cancun.  There are no plenaries.  The negotiators are working on details in small groups, many of them closed to observers.

World Youth have taken the day.  As we arrived this morning, perhaps a hundred of them were lined up along the path to the shuttle buses in turquoise shirts bearing the quote

You have been negotiating all my life.
You cannot tell me you need more time.

It is attributed to Christina Ora, a very courageous young woman from the Solomon Islands who was in Canada last year to reach out to youth and others around the world.  She faces the knowledge that her home will almost certainly disappear beneath the sea this century, one of the innumerable tragedies we are inflicting on future generations, and on vulnerable people even today.

A day full of activities has been planned by and for youth.

Much of the activist focus has been on Japan, which announced a couple of days ago that they were not prepared, under any circumstances, to make a renewed commitment for emissions reductions in a second commitment period of Kyoto.  As delegates enter the official areas today, they are being asked to pose with a display expressing their support for the Kyoto Protocol and its continuation and strengthening in a second phase.

While Canada has been officially silent on the question of Kyoto, when I pressed Canada’s chief negotiator on this a couple of days ago, he held up Japan’s opposition as a reason not to go forward, seeming not to notice that virtually the rest of the world in unison expressed their strong and unwavering support for a strengthened second commitment period coming out of Cancun.  The Canadian delegation does not want to attract attention, but I see every reason to believe they will be, if anything, more difficult than Japan.

[Adriana is blogging from the UN climate change negotiations in Cancun, in an attempt to keep the Canadian delegation honest.]

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