Irene Vivas Lalinde

COP 22 or “22nd Conference of Parties” was meant to shed light on the pathway to follow after the Paris Agreement, the star attraction of the previous Conference.

Unfortunately, the shadow of Trump’s electoral victory has, on the one hand, keep the spirit of compromise alive in order to take steps forward whatever the circumstances are and, on the other hand, risen some questions about a future without the United States in support of climate action – internationally and within its borders too-.

The Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) has been actively participating –  supporting side events, campaigns and updating us through social media- with an excellent delegation compounded by Anton Jaekel (International Officer of Grüne Jugend), Mitja Mieskolainen (Chairperson of the Helsinki Young Greens), Sabrina Chakori (youngest Australian certified Caring Economy Advocate), Kim van Sparrentak (co-coordinator of FYEG’s climate change working group), Natasa Ioannou (Board member of the Young Cyprus Greens), Danika Formosa (International Secretary on the board of the Maltese Young Greens) and Hanna Lidström (Spokesperson for the Young Greens in Sweden).

As young people, we want to achieve intergenerational equity to bring us, our children and grandchildren the same opportunities that our parents once had. Nevertheless, global warming is already happening. Indeed, COP 23 will be presided by Fiji – the first Pacific nation invited to have such a role – one of the main countries lobbying to reduce carbon emissions due to the dramatic consequences of the rise of sea level in this territory.

But, what about intra generational equity? It is undeniable that those who are more vulnerable will bear the costs of climate change: they belong not only to areas (geographically) in risk but also to deprived communities or poor countries, they live in rural areas, are women, children… And, surprisingly, this people sometimes vote for politicians that might not represent their interests in the long run. We are witnessing a societal, generational and educational breach in neighbouring and our own countries; a breach that we, young people, must close.

We are used to automatisms, expecting change to come rapidly, even without noticing it. Sadly, Trump, Le Pen, Jensen, Wilders, Bossi, Voigt, Valkeniers, Kjaersgaard, Soini, Akesson, Vona, Strache and a long etcetera are here to remind us how important our actions are. As President Obama has recently said at a joint press conference in Berlin, “do not take for granted our systems of Government and our way of life”.

The Conference has given us tools and knowledge; gathering leaders, experts on different fields and giving people and organizations a space to have a say, to network and to create the necessary energy to push for a sustainable development. It has also highlighted the weaknesses of the process as only 8% of the pledged money ($ 100bn by 2020) has been disbursed so far, civil society organizations are not sufficiently empowered and delegations of low income countries cannot participate as effectively because of budgetary constraints.

COP 22 gave us the focus and now, the hard work is on us. We are the urban, cosmopolitan generation and lovers of technology; let’s innovate, let’s act at the local level, let’s construct sustainable and resilient cities, let’s pressure our national governments to finance the fight against climate change, let’s include everyone in the process (the private sector, as well) BUT let’s also tend bridges to those who do not think that environment is a top priority, which certainly will be our most difficult battle.


Photo credit: FYEG’s Facebook (2016).

Irene Vivas Lalinde

The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of ALDA and the European Union.