Bali report card 2

This is the second report from 15-year-old Clunes resident Samlara Canin-Henkel, who has just spent two weeks in Bali at the UN Climate Change Conference. She was invited to do these reports for the NSW Department of Education.

The second week of the United Nations Climate Change Conference was probably the most exciting, tense, hectic and important week to have been a part of.

After successfully completing my live webcast for the NSW Department of Education, I joined up with some of the youth representatives from all around the world. We did a number of actions including a plea to the United States and Canada to support the Bali Roadmap with a giant poster with just the single word Please.

Three young people one from Australia, one from the United States and one from Indonesia spoke in front of the UN in the main plenary urging them to action. Almost 200 young people from over 30 countries rose with one finger painted green held in the air to symbolise our support and let the UN know that youth from all over the world are watching. The action received great press coverage and the speech was very moving and brought us all to tears. On the last day I took part in the unfurling of a giant banner calling for binding emission targets resulting in a photo on page four of The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday.

On Wednesday, Kevin Rudd arrived in Bali and I met him that night at a private function for Australians where I also met Peter Garret. That morning, in front of the whole world, Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol, leaving the United States and Kazakhstan the only signatories who have failed to ratify. He received a huge welcome and made me feel truly proud to be an Australian. Although he proposed cuts of 60 per cent by 2050, which is a good start, I believe that it needs to be more. The previous day I had been to a forum with Sir Nicholas Stern who proposed that cuts of more than 80 per cent by 2050 are needed if we are to prevent a global crisis.

I also witnessed Al Gore address the delegates with a very inspiring speech. He applauded Australia for electing a new leader and uniting in this fight against climate change. He said, This is not a political issue, not a diplomatic issue, but a moral issue.

On the last day there was tension and uncertainty as to whether the delegates would agree on the Bali Roadmap. The negotiating went all day Friday and all day Saturday. The United States were obstructing the decision and received boos from everyone in the plenary. Then many developing countries made passionate speeches demanding America to change their position, including South Africa, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea, who said, if you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way. They all received a huge round of applause. Finally, the US gave in to the pressure and there was more cheering as consensus was reached. The inclusion of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) in the roadmap was also agreed. This was a big win for the forests, the orangutans and the planet. It also made a great ending to the film my parents are making, The Burning Season.


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