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Youth coalition challenges UN meeting to take stand on climate change

Youth coalition challenges UN meeting to take stand on climate change

A representative of environmental youth groups today challenged global leaders gathered at the United Nations to take decisive action to curb the threat posed by climate change.

“I have nothing but my future ahead of me and you have nothing but my future to protect,” Catherine Gauthier, 18, told heads of State or government or other top officials from over 150 nations, the largest-ever gathering of its kind on climate change.

“I challenge you to show true leadership,” she said.

A timetable of targets is indispensable in combating climate change, Ms. Gauthier noted.

“A short-term target without a long-term goal is short-sighted,” she explained. “A long-term target without a short-term goal is prone to procrastination and political manoeuvring – I should know, I only do my homework the night before it’s due.”

Speaking on behalf of Greenpeace Solar Generation, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Environnement Jeunesse, SustainUS and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Ms. Gauthier said that many will hold their elected leaders accountable for missteps taken in addressing climate change.

“I turned 18 this year and am now among the many that will vote for the climate.”

She also stated her high expectations for the major upcoming summit in Bali, Indonesia, in December, which seeks to determine future action on mitigation, adaptation, the global carbon market and financing responses to climate change for the period after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol – the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – in 2012.

“It can be no small step, next step, inch forward,” she said. “Bali must mark the watershed of a new phase in the Kyoto Framework.”