Student voices heard ahead of climate change talks

01 Dec 2015

Young environmentalists at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University have been given a voice ahead of crucial international climate change talks taking place in Paris.

XJTLU student Mia Oenoto delivered a Youth Climate Declaration to the international Conference of Youth, which was held in Paris ahead of COP 21.

Mia is also representing XJTLU at COP 21, where delegates from than 190 countries will discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions that pollute the air and contribute to global warming.

She worked with fellow student James Guo, who will also attend COP 21, to draft the youth declaration through a series of workshops with XJTLU students. They also had the chance to air their views through graffiti boards set up at the Central Building Library.

Both Mia and James are environmental advocates and have been involved in numerous initiatives to raise awareness of climate change, and its impact, among young people.
Mia represented her home country of Indonesia at COP 20 in Peru last year and has given speeches to students about environmental leadership, amongst other things.

Last month, James gave a speech on environmental management and policy at the TedX Youth@Suzhou event.

The two also gave presentations at a recent XJTLU climate change and health symposium on why it is important that young people are involved in discussions and how they can help address climate change.

At that event, they said that apart from the fact that the young will inherit the world that present-day adults are creating, they felt that they also "borrow" the Earth from their future children.

Both are adamant that COP 21 must successfully put in place a robust agreement that shows governments around the world are serious about cutting carbon.

James is confident that with changes having been made to make COP agreements legally binding, and the UN asking countries to make their own pledges they think can be achieved, a consensus can be reached: "The decision making process has been reversed. It’s better for the countries and more likely to create lasting, binding agreements. This year countries are more accountable to their own people," he said.

Mia agrees, adding: “It has to work out this time. We are at the peak of discussions, and these talks could open new opportunities."

01 Dec 2015