Voice of Youth Ignored by Governments

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Taking away the voice of the next generation

By Stephen Leahy

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 17 (TerraViva)

Youth and future generations do not deserve a voice in their own future, the Brazilian government appears to have arbitrarily decided here at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, where the theme is “The Future We Want”.

Representatives of children and youth, as well as the European Union and other countries, want to see the summit conclude with an agreement to create a High-Level Representative for Sustainable Development and Future Generations.

However, Brazil, under its formal leadership of the summit, has deleted all references to this from the “outcome document” currently under negotiation.

It is a bit surprising considering 62 percent of Brazil’s 185 million people are under 29 years of age.

The proposed representative for future generations would act to balance the short-term nature of government electoral cycles by advocating for the interests and needs of future generations, says youth representative Alice Vincent of the World Future Council Foundation in London, UK.

“I strongly believe that a Rio+20 outcome that does not include the creation of such an advocate for the needs of future generations wouldn’t be worthy of the title The Future We Want,” Vincent told TerraViva.Rio+20 logo

Over the past weeks there has been little progress on agreement of the content for the final 20-page “outcome document” intended to serve as the world’s roadmap to sustainable development. It will include details for greening of the global economy and possibly include sustainable development goals and a timetable for reaching them.

Countries were essentially deadlocked over the contents, so the Brazilian government revised the document and presented it to countries this morning saying it is an attempt to “make all delegates a bit happy, and a bit unhappy”. Continue reading

Energy Use On Suicidal Path

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“If we get that kind of increase it will be societal suicide”

By Stephen Leahy

Nov 9 (IPS) – Today’s skyrocketing fossil fuel use will accelerate far faster in the coming decades, driving oil prices higher and virtually guaranteeing catastrophic climate change in the decades to come, energy experts say.

Emissions of greenhouse gases could increase a staggering 57 percent by 2030 if current trends continue, and with the strong growth of coal and oil energy use in India and China, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported this week.

“If we get that kind of increase it will be societal suicide,” says Gavin Schmidt, a climate researcher at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University.

“It really is a huge increase,” Schmidt told IPS. Continue reading