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The Youth Press Agency is an initiative of youth participation through the creative use of new and traditional tools of communication and information. 
Promoted by: Viração Educomunicação (Brazil), Viração&Jangada (Italy), Fundación TierraVida (Argentina) and ClimaLab (Colombia). 
The Youth Press Agency is an initiative of youth partecipation through the creative use of new and traditional tools of communication and information promoted by the association Viração&Jangada in collaboration with the association In Medias Res, associations of youth and schools.
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14/12/2018, 22:30

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PIK, HELIX, Arctic Sea, civil sociey, glaciers


 Droughts, floods, heat waves, violent storms and extraordinary winds: the world is on a tipping point. The scientific commuty, here voiced by John Schellenhuber, urges us to act immedeately.

We need to be realistic: the road which has been taken could lead us to the catastrophe. This is one of the several considerations of John Schellnhuber, climatologist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). After the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate, despite the alarm already expressed by the scientific community, nothing significant has been done in order to change the route that would consider a drastic reduction of greenhouse gasses emissions. The world is not only going in the wrong direction but also donates us presidents such as Donald Trump in the USA and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Both of them even deny the patency of climate change and guide extremely important countries, from the economic and the environmental point of view, in the fight to climate change effects.
So far, the estimated increase of the global temperature is 1°C average above the preindustrial period. At this rate of greenhouse gasses emissions, the temperatures could approximately rise to 2.5°C-4.4°C by the end of the century (2100). Even worse: there are countries like China, Russia and Canada which rates could lead the temperatures to reach 5°C. Scientists are then interested in understanding what would happen to our planet in case the route will continue to be the wrong one. In the HELIX (High-Ended Climate Impact and Extremes) project, climatologists examined the physical consequences for the planet depending on the different temperature rise scenarios.

What worries the most is the increasing frequency and intensity of the extreme meteorological events. Particularly, the stress provoked on the human life by the rise of heat waves, frequently accompanied by high humidity. With a 2°C increase, the areas subjected to heat waves would rapidly expand around the globe and with a 4°C increase there would be lead to dramatic consequences in the Tropics, mostly in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

Regarding precipitations, we will observe quite variable behaviors in the future with some areas that will be characterized by the increased frequency of drought, others by intense rain and other areas which will be subject to both phenomenon. The percentage of people damaged by floods will increase from the current 54 million to 97 million, in case of 2°C temperature rise, and 211 million, in case of 4°C temperature rise.

Another important issue will be the expected rising level of the sea, which could become extremely serious in case of collapse of the Artic glacial platform. What draw more attention are the Southeast Asian areas, particularly Bangladesh, which are densely populated and already in high vulnerability and exposition conditions. In fact, here is where rising sea level and presence of intense storms and hurricanes are combined.

Among the elements analyzed by the researchers, it has been particularly underlined the increasing risks for the world’s population related to food safety, which is measured in terms of availability, access, stability, and possibility of use of the food. Again, Africa and Southeast Asia suffer the higher risks. Already with a 2°C increase, several areas of the planet will reach levels of vulnerability with no precedent.

There’s a disturbing aspect which is faced by John Schellnhuber: the processes we observe as a consequence of climate change are not linear and they could reach the so-called tipping points, namely points of no return. In the future, the achievement of the different rising temperatures thresholds, 1.5°C, 2°C, till 4°C, would prompt progressive irreversible physical processes.Likely for some of them is already too late, such as for the fusion process of the Arctic Glacial Sea, Greenland glaciers and also for the continental mountain ones like the Alps.

There are also concerns about the modifications in progress in the global atmospheric circulation. The abnormal increase of the temperature in the Arctic affects, for instance, in the behavior of the so-called jet stream which is as a matter of act responsible for the weather in Europe. Anomalous drought, such as the ones happened in spring and summer 2018 in Northern Europe, and the intense rains in Italy at the end of October, are consequences ascribed to the modifications of the jet stream. 

The situation is therefore extremely critical. Of course, it’s still possible to intervene. In fact, there are no physical impediment to the reduction of the greenhouse gasses emissions and the available technology would be helpful yet. However, we need a political will which has find all the countries united in one huge effort of cooperation and responsibility. That’s what we expect here in Katowice.

Why, instead, are the negotiations going very slowly? Why is there resistance? Probably the social and economic system we live in displays all its own limits. What if indeed is the system to be wrong? That’s the question that Schellnhuber asks himself and answers recalling to the necessity to cause a social change which could not be produced by the UN Conference on Climate Change.

It then up to us, civil society, to propose a "new narrative of the world" and to cause a "big bang toward a social change" which would guarantee better life conditions to mankind in this planet.

Roberto Barbiero
Tommaso Orlandi (Translation)
14/12/2018, 20:22

CGIL, Italy, sustainable development, fossil fuels, Europe, COP24, Katowice


 The UN Conference on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice is made not only of negotiations, but also of side-events. During one of these, we met Simona Ferrari. The representativ of the Italian trade union CGIL spoke with us of work and ecology.

In addition to the great meetings of technicians and negotiators, the UN Conference on Climate Change in Katowice (COP24) is made up of side events centred on a wide variety of topics somehow related to climate change. During one of these events, focused on work and ecologic transition, we had the chance to meet the Head of the Environment Territory and Culture Department of CGIL Simona Ferrari. She welcomed us with a smile and embraced us with her great availability, which lead her to consent to be interviewed on a hot topic - especially for Italy. The environment is something we all care about... As far as work is not involved. But working and protecting the ecosystem are two strictly related activities, as they both have something to do with climate change.

How do international and Italian workers respond to the laws and rules on ecologic transition?
Priority is placed on the defence of planet Earth, because we are not facing climate change fast enough - as scientists constantly repeat. Disasters caused by the global warming are under everybody’s eyes: we all are witnessing floods, droughts, famine and forced migrations. To do everything possible to safeguard our ecosystems is the precondition to grant work and rights to everyone.

Then, obviously, the transition to a greener economy has impacts on all workers, and especially on those who are employed in the energy sector. Here in Poland, as in Italy, where 23 fossil-fuelled power stations should be closed soon. The first thought of those power stations’ workers is the loss of their job. And it is true, the trade union does not deny it. But it is also true that the transition will boost employment: numerous studies demonstrate that it will create more jobs than those it will destroy. On this very regard, the latest IPCC special report on global warming specifies that the proposed solutions to climate change are not only compatible with an energetic transition and climate goals, but they are also in line with the models of sustainable development the UN wants the countries to implement by 2030. Among the aims of sustainable development, number 8 is the full employment of the global workforce.

There are enormous possibilities, but someone must be responsible of the social aspects of the whole question. The public intervention in the economic system is crucial. States should take upon themselves the creation of jobs, the furthering of the research, the implementation of innovations, the modification of university courses, and so on. They should create the conditions for sustainable development while granting social protection to those workers who will need to requalify.
Moreover, investment guarantees are needed. States are not doing a lot, however. Governments slack and are under the pressure of different lobbies. This problem concerns Italy and Europe, too. There is a tendency to hold other world regions accountable for climate change, but each country has its share in it.

Some days ago, the European Agency for the Environment issued a report which said that the EU will not be able to reduce its greenhouse gasses emissions by 40%: it will only reach a 32% cut. Thus, the Union will not contribute to fight against climate change as it promised to do in the framework of the Paris Accords. And it will be potentially co-responsible of the rising of the global temperature to +3.5°C - way higher than the acceptable limit of +1.5°C. Is this an ambitious Europe? To accuse the USA or other States of being negligent, as if there were good and bad countries, is just a way to deny our responsibilities. And to eliminate or avoid internal confrontations does not help in finding a solution. We must remember that the environmental crisis requires actions taken on a international (and we are here at the COP24 for this reason) and on a national and local scale.

What is university trade unions in the ecologic transition?
They have a fundamental role. We are talking about the future: thus, it is crucial that the young have an active role in the policy-making process which will define their own future. And young people have the energy and the knowledge necessary to invigorate the whole movement.

Are workers aware of the importance of the ecological transition?
They are, but a lot of work must be done. It really depends on the workers, on their age, for example. It seems that retirees are more reactive to the topic: maybe they have more time to worry about their children and grandchildren’s future, now that they do not have to work anymore.

The trade unions leaders in the agricultural sector are quite sensitive to the problem of climate change. But the group of workers which is most worried about the ecological transition comes from the energy sector, from the power stations. And anytime a power station closes, these people’s concern intensifies. CGIL always tackle the questions of sustainable development and the transition to a de-carbonified economy in its reports. We have elaborated an integrated platform for the negotiation of the measures to be implemented in the work market in relation to sustainable development. It is a tool meant for all degrees of negotiations, as the topic it tackles is interesting for all employers and employees. In general, I would say that the working world is becoming more and more aware of the environmental crisis we are facing - just like the rest of the population.Politicians, however, do not follow in the trend. In conjunction with the Coalizione Clima, my trade union called for public discussions of the situation before the political elections held in March. Very few parties responded in a positive way. And these have declared to share our opinion totally, but we all know how it ended up...

If the world wants to reach the Zero Emission goal by 2050, all countries must contribute. It is often argued that the first country which will start transitioning to a greener economy will be penalised, because its economy will be less competitive. Italy has often adopted this line of thought. But this is incorrect. In fact, the first country to transition will count on lots of competitive advantages and will create lots of new jobs on its territory. This means that the most penalised country is going to be the last to adopt a more ecological economic model.

The State has a great responsibility toward its community and citizens. The businessman’s goal is profit, not the preservation of the environment, public health and social equity. Businesses will continue to invest in fossil fuels for as long as they bring them profit. Thus, we need laws and rules which make the investment in fossil fuels too expensive. In Italy, the subsidies for fossil fuels and environmentally disadvantageous projects amount to 16 million each year. The government should invest those money in sustainable development-related projects. The last Budget Law did not even mention a similar operation.

Matteo Poda, Luca Kosowski e Roberto Barbiero
Carlotta Zaccarelli (Translation)

14/12/2018, 19:11



 From an interview in the corridors, to the participation at an event “in China”. How the COP24 allowed us to cooperate with Chinese young people and to become panelists for an afternoon.

Cooperation. To cooperate means to act together, with purposes of mutuality and not speculative ones, to carry out a project or to achieve an aim. And what other opportunity to experience this concept, if not at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP)?It was out first day here at the COP24 when three Chinese guys stopped us in the corridors to film a short interview about environmental policy. After that quick moment, we thought our collaboration would have ended but we were wrong. Our peers contacted and invited us to the side event "Young Climate Action" that they were going to host in the Chinese pavillion on Tuesday 11th. The topics to focus on were the concepts of cooperation and environmental education.

The event was divided in two parts: the first one saw the intervention of different Chinese people, who stressed the importance of the awareness among youngers, especially in China, regarding environmental education and energy policies. Later on, the discussion became more dynamic and participative for the public too, thanks to the introduction of two panels and several guests. Firstly, the panelists were asked to explain their own vision on how youth deal with climate changes, both in an academic and social way. Afterward, the attention shifted on young representatives of different geographical areas of the globe. The countries were China, Japan, Malaysia, Kenya, Switzerland, the US and Italy, for which I was delegate. One of the questions we were asked referred to the main topics of the session and requested us to explain our experiences of collaboration in the environment field.

The adventure at the COP24 allowed me to be part of that kind of event for the first time in my life. At first, talking in front of a public so mixed in terms of origin, age, sex and culture, made me feel a bit uneasy. This because I didn’t feel prepared enough to represent all my friends here at the COP and, more in general, all Italian youngsters. Nevertheless, as soon as I started chatting with all the others young delegates, the stir faded away leaving space for the desire to converse and explain the reasons why we are here and the importance of cooperation. It might be foreseen and trite but, simply by exchanging ideas and opinions on such salient themes with other students from various realities, I established deep connections and got the chance to see the same subject from other point of views.
Personally, I believe that even small things have a really big impact, that most of the time we don’t even realize. I was positively impressed, for example, by the fact that some guys took a few time at the end of the side event to come and talk to me and the other panelists. It’s thanks to that kind of experiences that we can really understand the importance of our actions. From a simple interview in the corridors, we got the opportunity to participate in a whole event: these are the effects of cooperation!

Giulia De Nadai


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