Youth Embarrassed By U.S. Delegation at Climate Conference
, December 1, 2008 (ENS) - The U.S. climate delegation's "sidestepping and recalcitrance" in a news conference on the opening morning of the United Nations annual climate conference in Poznan was denounced by the international climate campaign 350.org and young people from the United States who are attending the meetings.
Lead U.S. negotiator, Ambassador Harlan Watson, representing the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush, dodged reporters' questions about whether or not the United States would commit to emissions targets or funding for developing countries to address global warming.
U.S. Ambassador Harlan Watson (Photo courtesy ENB)
"It's an embarrassment," said Jamie Henn, 350.org co-founder and a U.S. youth delegate. "With the election of Barack Obama we showed the world we were ready to commit to real action on climate change. All this lame-duck delegation is offering is more of the same."
Henn asked delegates from other countries to ignore the current U.S. delegation and focus on the next administration's commitments.
"Thanks in large part to the work of young people across the United States, President-elect Obama has committed the U.S. to 80 percent cuts in carbon by 2050," Henn said. "That's the type of serious action scientists are saying is necessary to stabilize atmospheric C02 at the safe upper limit of 350 parts per million."
The figure 350 in the organization's name is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide, CO2, in the atmosphere in parts per million. Led by author Bill McKibben and a staff of young organizers from around the world, 350.org partners with more than 100 organizations to push for a strong international climate treaty that meets the 350 ppm target.
Twenty young people from the United States are attending the Poland climate meetings, representing every region of the country and youth organizations like the Energy Action Coalition and SustainUS.
"As youth representatives of the United States, we're working with other young people from around the world here in Poland," said Jeremy Osborn, a 24 year old from Connecticut. "It's time for our government to do the same. If we can all get along and work together, so can they."
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