Youth demand radical action to stop climate change


It's official: young people in Australia have rejected the Rudd government's weak policies on climate change. These are the findings from YOUth Decide, an event organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) at the end of September.

The AYCC found that 97.5% of young people, aged between 12 and 29, voted for emissions reduction targets much higher than proposed by the Rudd government. Of these, 91.5% voted for 40% plus emissions reduction target, 5.9% voted for targets between 25% and 39%, and only 2.5% voted for Rudd's proposed range of 4% to 24%.

The AYCC initiative involved more than 37,000 young people that voted at more than 330 events around Australia and online. Members of the socialist youth organisation Resistance participated, including at Deakin University in Geelong and the University of Tasmania in Hobart.

The vote came as governments of the world prepare to meet at Copenhagen in December to form policies for reducing emissions.

Unfortunately, initial indications from the September 22 United Nations Climate Summit in New York are that if any agreement is reached it is unlikely to be one that reflects the scientific consensus.

Recent science has shown that to avoid catastrophic climate change, resulting from 2° Celsius and higher, carbon emissions would need to peak in the next three to five years, and we would need to move towards a zero carbon economy within the next 10 to 20 years.
The overwhelming support for radical cuts to emissions indicates that most people, and particularly youth, are much more advanced than governments on climate change policies.
Patrick Hearps, Melbourne YOUth Decide volunteer and climate activist, told Green Left Weekly, "YOUth Decide has shown that young Australians value the vision of a safe climate future much more than the current politics of doubt and compromise. It resets the goal posts for our climate negotiations."

Resistance, together with other climate campaigners, will be organising actions in the lead-up to and during the Copenhagen summit to ensure the youth voice is heard on climate change. Join us.