Will Steger Foundation Expedition Copenhagen 2009

The Expedition Copenhagen team consists of Midwest youth who will travel to the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 5-19, 2009. The expedition will be led in part by internationally renowned polar explorer Will Steger, and designed in collaboration with youth climate partners across the region.

US Youth Well Represented at US State Department Briefing

Posted On Wednesday, December 09, 2009 by Danielle |

Yesterday U.S. youth made a HUGE impact at the COP15 negotiations. The U.S. State Department invited NGOs and youth for an off-the-record briefing of U.S. position in the negotiations. Representatives included EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing, and Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs David Sandelow. In a room of over 200 people, youth filled rows and rows of seats representing about 70% of the audience. The crowd erupted into applause and then a standing ovation after the introduction of Lisa Jackson.
Photos courtesy of Will Steger Foundation, Jamie Horter In case you missed it, Monday the EPA announced that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten public health and the environment. This declaration was not a surprise to those of us here at COP15 or our followers in the states, but it does represent a big victory for the U.S. Up until now, previous administrations took very little action on the issue of climate change. The announcement was a great way to begin these crucial negotiations and move us toward reaching a FAB (fair, ambitious and binding) agreement next Friday. The briefing was off-the-record so I cannont blog about explicit content - but I do have to stress that we need to continue pressuring the U.S. to take significant action in Copenhagen. It is important to acknowledge the progress that has been made by the Obama Administration in the past year, because it really is impressive. The U.S. passed new clean car regulations and proposed rules for stationary sources (factories and industries that pollute above a certain percentage of emissions). Not to mention the movement for federal climate change legislation,, currently being debated in the Senate. But these domestic actions need to be strengthened, and ratifying an international treaty on climate change is not only necessary, but also extremely required. Pressure needs to come from all sides, here in Copenhagen and in the U.S. But back to youth action at this briefing - let me just mention that out of nine questions asked, five, and by that I mean *5* good, strong and tough questions were asked by U.S. youth. Laura Comer from the SustainUS delegation began her question saying "I am here today with a U.S. delegation of over 500 youth" during which every young person in the room waved to our friends on stage. The youth at this briefing were so impressive that we received a shoult out from David Sandelow, who recognized our efforts domestically and abroad, and asked that we continue to pressure the U.S. to take action. One of the most exciting moments was at the end of the briefing where U.S. youth were invited to have a group picture with Lisa Jackson. I left this conference in awe of the U.S. youth delegation's professionalism and composure under pressure. I have confidence that we will be very effective at these negotiations and look forward to more interactions with the U.S. State Department.
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