Ben HaywardSeptember 20th
2020

A group of young activists have launched their own climate crisis talks after the UN has stalled in its efforts to address the emergency.

The move comes after negotiations - known as Cop26 - aimed at fulfilling the Paris climate agreement, that were due to be hosted by the UK this November, have been delayed as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, the young activists, known as Fridays for Future - the movement sparked by Greta Thunberg’s school strikes - are forging  ahead with their own online event this November, called Mock Cop26.

Run by around 200 students from 74 countries, the organisation is being supported by TOTUM's official charitable partner, SOS-UK (Students Organising for Sustainability) an educational charity created by students and staff at NUS in response to the climate emergency and ecological crisis.

The group is inviting young people to ‘fill the void of the postponed Cop26 with a big, inclusive online Mock Cop’, with the five main conference themes covering climate justice; education; health and mental health; green jobs; carbon reduction targets.

The event is aiming to get three to five delegates from as many countries as possible, with a focus on the global south, and is set to include high-level opening statements by the youth delegates, keynotes and panels by global names, followed by a week of facilitated workshops and regional caucuses, reports the Guardian. 

Mock Cop26

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The finale will be a statement to world leaders from with demands for the achievements the youth delegates want to see from the real Cop26 when it (hopefully) takes place next year.

Joel Lev-Tov, coordinator of Fridays for Future, said: “We are so far quite disappointed in how [the UK’s hosting of Cop26] is shaping up.

“[That is why we] have started to work on our own Mock Cop26 to address what we presume will be the failure of Cop26 … to show what Cop could look like if governments actually acted on the climate crisis.”

The move comes as a number of developing countries and international observers revealed they have growing concerns over the slow progress being made towards Cop26 by the UK. 

Carlos Fuller, a member of the Alliance of Small Island States, many of whom are some of the most at-risk from climate disaster, said: “We are very disappointed that we are so far behind. The UK needs to exercise its muscle more.”

Former president of Ireland and twice a UN envoy on climate issues, Mary Robinson, told the Guardian: “I have not seen the leadership necessary to deliver a successful Cop. It takes every ounce of influence and diplomatic muscle, and we are not seeing that yet.

“In the two years before the Paris agreement was signed in December 2015, [the French government] threw everything at it, every ambassador, every country was engaged.”

Mohamed Adow, director of PowerShift Africa, a developing country thinktank, added: “We need to see some real leadership from Boris Johnson. If he wants the ‘Global Britain’ brand to mean anything more than just a PR stunt, he needs to step up and lead from the front on climate.”

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