Petition by 14 Young Leaders Says UN Must ‘Declare System-Wide Climate Emergency’


On Wednesday, a group of 14 young climate leaders, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, filed a lawsuit imploring the United Nations to “declare a system-wide climate emergency,” a push that came amid growing anger over milquetoast promises from the COP26 summit.

“The United Nations connects the whole world and we need global action on the climate crisis.”

“The climate emergency – which threatens every person on the planet for the foreseeable future – is a threat at least as serious as a global pandemic and also requires urgent international action,” reads the petition, which was also signed by American climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor. , Ridhima Pandey from India, and Ranton Anjain and Litokne Kabua from the Marshall Islands.

The petition specifically urges UN Secretary-General António Guterres – who for years has warned that climate change poses an “existential threat” to humanity – and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) to view the planetary crisis as an issue. “Level 3 emergency”. On its website, the IASC notes that Level 3 protocols are designed to “activate operational capacities and resources to meet critical humanitarian needs on the ground.”

“The countries which emit the least are confronted with the greatest risks”, notes the dossier of young leaders. “UNICEF has identified 33 countries as ‘at extremely high risk’ for children due to threats from climate change. These countries contain half of the world’s children but are collectively responsible for only 9% of CO2 emissions. The 10 most emitting countries represent nearly 70 countries. % of global emissions, but only one, India, is classified as ‘extremely high risk’. “

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The new petition comes just a month after the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child refused to hear a case submitted by many of the same young activists behind the latest case. The failed petition argued that countries “violate their rights to life, health and culture” by failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet.

“I have no doubt that this judgment will haunt the Committee in the future,” Villaseñor, a 16-year-old climate activist, said in a statement last month. “When climate disasters get even worse than they are now, the committee will deeply regret not doing the right thing when given the opportunity.”

Talk to Earthling On Wednesday, Villaseñor expressed hope that the new petition would send “a message of urgency” to the UN and world leaders, which young activists have accused of endangering future generations with continued inaction amid the crisis. worsening of the climate crisis.

The Guardian reported that the UN “has already seen a draft” of the latest dossier on young climate officials and that “a level 3 emergency is under discussion, but a spokesperson for the secretary-general’s office declined to comment if it could be implemented “.

“We had 26 COPs which were failures,” Villaseñor said on Wednesday. “Now is the time to act, and we need to do it urgently. It is the youth and youth who continually remind those in power that we need to do something now, and this petition is an important way to do it. . “

“The United Nations connects the whole world and we need global action on the climate crisis,” she added. “To show great leadership, they must declare a climate emergency.”


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