Poznan, POLAND, 11 December 2008 - European environment ministers arriving at crucial climate negotiations in Poland received messages this morning sent by over a thousand young people urging them to 'wrap up' climate change.
Ministers from Austria, Germany, Norway, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were presented with messages from young people from over 30 countries. The messages collected by Young Friends of the Earth Europe urged politicians to take urgent and drastic action to secure the future of their generation from the worst impacts of global warming.
Members of Young Friends of the Earth Europe presented European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, with a message to 'act now' (left) as part of their 'Wrap Up' climate change event in Poznan, Poland (right).
Youth climate advocates wrapped a giant globe in messages and asked governments to 'wrap up' a just global solution to climate change.
Bette Harms from Young Friends of the Earth Europe said: "We believe it is urgent to take serious action on climate change and want our governments not to disappoint us, but to inspire us by taking the lead in these negotiations - we as youth, contrary to many parties here, have no vested interest in these negotiations other than our future."
Joan Ruddock of the UK (left) and Niki Berlakovich from Austria (right) were among the European Environment Ministers urged to 'Wrap Up' talks on climate change
So far the EU has dramatically failed to show leadership at the UN talks which are a milestone to an agreement in Copenhagen next year. Ministers arriving for the final two days of the meeting must provide some much needed ambition to agree on the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol by the end of 2009.
Only by agreeing strong domestic action, in the form of drastic emission cuts, can the EU really claim to be a leader internationally. But new legislation due to be agreed by Heads of State this week is nowhere near ambitious enough and will allow two thirds of emissions reductions to be achieved through the purchase of 'offset credits' from developing countries.
Antje von Broock, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) said: "The European Union is causing a standstill - its trying to play down the importance of these talks and by doing that it is playing with people's lives. Europe can only be a genuine leader if it commitsto at least 40 per cent emissions cuts in Europe by 2020 and to repay its climate debts by helping developing countries."
Young Friends of the Earth Europe collected more than 1000 hand-made messages expressing young people's views on climate change
1) Names of Ministers attending the event: Jacqueline Cramer - the Netherlands; Joan Ruddock - United Kingdom; Sigmar Gabriel - Germany; Erik Solheim - Norway; George Pullicino - Malta; Niki Berlakovich - Austria. Plus European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas and Jean Pascal van Ypersele - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
2) Young Friends of the Earth Europe is a grassroots network that brings together young people and youth organisations from all over Europe to work together on pressing environmental issues such as climate change in a European context. It aims to give politicians, businesses and the general public a refreshing youth perspective on environmental issues.