ALL NEWS

Too much “blah blah blah” say young activists during Youth4Climate summit

Sep 28, 2021, 2:14 PM | Updated: 2:21 pm
youth climate activists...
Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, right, is comforted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg as she is overcome by emotion after speaking at the opening of a three-day Youth for Climate summit in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

MILAN (AP) — Youth climate activists Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg chastized global leaders Tuesday for failing to meet funding pledges to help poor nations adapt to a warming Earth and for delivering too much “blah blah blah” as climate change wreaks havoc around the world.

They even cast doubt on the intentions behind a youth climate gathering where they were speaking in Milan.

Stay up to date, download the KSL NewsRadio app for Android

Four hundred climate activists from 180 countries were invited to Italy’s financial capital for a three-day Youth4Climate summit that will send its recommendations to a major United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, that begins on Oct. 31. But participants are demanding more accountability from leaders and a bigger official role for young people.

“They invite cherry-picked young people to pretend they are listening to us,” Thunberg said. “But they are not. They are clearly not listening to us. Just look at the numbers. Emissions are still rising. The science doesn’t lie.”

“Leaders like to say, ‘We can do it.’ They obviously don’t mean it. But we do,” the Swedish activist said.

iOS users! Download the KSL Newsradio app!

Nakate, a 24-year-old activist from Uganda, said pledges of 100 billion euros ($117 billion) a year to help countries particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change have not materialized, even as wildfires in California and Greece and floods in Germany and Belgium show that “loss and damage is now possible everywhere.”

“In fact, funds were promised by 2020, and we are still waiting,” she said. “No more empty conferences. It’s time to show us the money. It’s time, it’s time, it’s time.”

Nakate dramatically underlined how climate change is affecting Africa, “which is ironic given that Africa is the lowest emitter of CO2 emissions of any continent except Antarctica.”

Just last week, she said she saw police taking away a body that had been washed away by violent storms in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, while others searched for more victims. Her mother told her that one man dragged off by the water had been trying to protect the goods he was selling.

Nakate collapsed in tears after her emotional speech, getting comfort from Thunberg, who followed her to the podium, which was too tall for her small stature.

Thunberg, who coalesced the global protest movement Fridays for Future, said it wasn’t too late to reverse climate trends. But she has clearly heard enough from leaders, whom she said have been talking for 30 years while half of all carbon emissions have occurred since 1990, one-third since 2005.

“This is all we hear from our so-called leaders: words. Words that sound great but so far have led to no action. Our hopes and dreams drown in their empty words and promises. Of course we need constructive dialogue, but they have now had 30 years of blah, blah blah. And where has this led us?” she said.

Saoi O’Connor, an Irish activist in the Fridays for Future movement, said the youth meeting in Milan was orchestrated by governments who chose the participants and drafted the document that the delegates will “edit.” As a result, she said, the closing document will not represent “what the strikers want.”

“They have people in the rooms who are watching what we say. The topics we have been split into have been decided for us,” she said.

The three-day Youth4Climate Summit will be followed by a two-day pre-COP meeting before Glasgow aimed at finding common ground on sticking points among countries, which range from the world’s big carbon emitters to developing nations that are lagging both economically and technologically.

Hopes for a successful Glasgow summit have been boosted by announcements from the world’s two biggest economies and largest carbon polluters. Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country will no longer fund coal-fired plants abroad while U.S. President Joe Biden announced a plan to double financial aid for green growth to poorer nations.

In addition, Turkey has said it would adhere to the Paris protocols and South Africa announced more ambitious emissions targets.

“These are good steps,” said Italy’s minister for ecological transition, Roberto Cingolani, who is hosting the Milan meetings. “They mean that they are moving in the right direction. … I never expect quantum jumps in this gigantic operation on a world level. But the indicators are all good.”

Cingolani said he agreed with the criticism that many promises had been broken, including for financing climate change adaptions, but that he also saw a convergence in the sense of urgency. “It’s true, we have to work harder,” he said.

He also clarified a previous reference he made to “radical chic” activists, saying he was not referring to climate protesters but to those who will not make sacrifices to have renewable energy facilities in their neighborhoods.

The youth delegates were trying to maintain realistic expectations for the meeting.

“What we can do is hope for the best,” said 16-year-old Zainab Waheed of Pakistan, who is campaigning to include climate in the national school curriculum. “But looking at the past, and relying on the science of deduction, and learning from history, we have seen even ministers from COP26 countries not keep their promises.”

Rose Kobusinge, a 27-year-old Ugandan with a masters degree in environmental change and management from the University of Oxford, said the Glasgow meeting needs to come up with concrete action if fighting climate change is to maintain any credibility. She also thinks the youth delegates should be invited as participants — not just to send a message.

“Let it not stop from negotiations in Glasgow. If it stops, then I guess COP won’t be necessary any more because what is it? Just coming and discussing and go back to your countries?” she said.
__
This story corrects the spelling of Vanessa Nakate’s last name in several paragraphs.
___
Follow all AP stories on climate change at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The mayor of Provo, Utah, discusses how popular the city's four-day workweek has been, why it's pop...
Simone Seikaly

A 4-day workweek is working for Provo government

Provo Mayor Michelle Kafusi said she isn't surprised at the positive results reported after a global 4 day workweek pilot program.
7 hours ago
This photos shows the gate to the Duke Energy West End substation in Moore County, N.C. on Sunday, ...
Nouran Salahieh and Hannah Sarisohn, CNN

Tens of thousands still in the dark after ‘targeted’ attacks on North Carolina power substations

With no suspects or motive announced, the FBI joins the investigation into power outages in a North Carolina county.
7 hours ago
Man who shot Lady Gaga's dog walker...
Taylor Romine and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Man involved in shooting of Lady Gaga’s dog walker sentenced to 21 years in prison

Originally Published: 05 DEC 22 21:53 ET     (CNN) — One of the people charged in the shooting and robbery of Lady Gaga’s dog walker last year has been sentenced to 21 years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Monday. James Howard Jackson, 20, pleaded no contest to one count of […]
7 hours ago
Great Salt Lake State Park and Marina...
Mark Jones

How much will it take to save the Great Salt Lake?

A bipartisan bill was passed in the U.S. Senate aimed at giving funding toward the study of The Great Salt Lake and other saline lakes in the west.
1 day ago
goblin mode...
Christian Edwards, CNN

‘Goblin mode’ chosen as Oxford word of the year for 2022

According to OUP, the term refers to a behavior which is "self-indulgent, lazy, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations."
1 day ago
free national park...
Aimee Cobabe

Lawsuit against Arches National Park after incident resulting in the death of a woman

A trial is underway after a woman was decapitated at Arches National Park. Her family alleges the park was negligent in not securing a gate that killed her.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Too much “blah blah blah” say young activists during Youth4Climate summit