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The Green Party bloc at last Sunday’s climate demo in London. Photo: Green Party of England and Wales.

 

Earlier this week, world leaders arrived in Paris for the COP21 climate talks – where the nations of the world will meet and attempt to hammer out a global deal on tackling climate change.

It’s clear that these talks are really our last chance to secure a global and binding deal on emissions which will prevent global temperatures rising more than 2°C- which is absolutely critical if we are to stop catastrophic climate change. But it’s also clear that governments like our own are dragging their feet when it comes to making the necessary commitments, and that a huge amount of pressure is needed to make them do so.

Last weekend, that pressure was on as tens of thousands of people across the UK marched to demand that the government take greater action on climate change. Among them was a huge contingent of Young Green activists, fighting for our future. We have organised with like-minded groups such as Friends of the Earth, Transition Towns and People & Planet, made placards, and marched through our villages, towns and cities. We have raised our voices to let those in power know that we’re watching them, and inaction is not an option. A number of Young Greens, too, will be travelling to Paris in the coming days to take part in demonstrations, marches and alternative climate activism; some have already been there for FYEG’s AlterCOP21 seminar and the Conference of Youth.

There is a clear momentum building behind the movement for a more sustainable future, and young people are at the heart of it. Only this week young activists in Sheffield won a huge victory when it was announced that the university will be divesting from fossil fuels, following in the wake of other institutions like the University of Glasgow and SOAS.

Among young people there’s a growing recognition that the action needed to stop climate change in its tracks is action on a huge scale – regulating big businesses, investing in a renewable energy revolution, international agreements on emissions – and a growing anger, too, at the reluctance of governments across the world to take those actions. Our own government, in particular, has a deplorable record, slashing subsidies for solar power and onshore wind, ludicrously subjecting the renewables industry to the climate change levy, and giving tax breaks to fossil fuel companies.

And this is where we, as citizens whose futures are being put at risk by the short termism of governments like ours, come in: the impetus for radical change won’t come from big businesses or mainstream politicians, it will come from us – through direct action, political lobbying, and a refusal to settle for anything less than action that will save the planet.

This is about our collective futures, and without decisive action taken at the Paris talks, we’ll be looking at a future of catastrophic climate change, which means that more people will be forced into becoming refugees and more wars will be fought.

Young Greens recognise the link between our environmental and social issues. Action on climate change means action on social injustices. It means people aren’t forced from their homes. This is a global issue, from Syria to the Somerset Levels.

We know it’s possible to achieve a deal this December which could secure the future of our planet. Let’s make sure it happens.