It’s a freezing cold day in December 2009, and a 16 year old from West Wales is an unlikely figure queuing to get into an international climate summit in Copenhagen.
I was that young man, drinking coffee being handed out by the army, and rubbing shoulders with politicians, lawyers and environmental leaders from around the world.
Back in 2009, I accompanied the First Minister of Wales and our Environment Minister to COP15, the UN’s climate change conference in Copenhagen, to represent the young people of Wales and their hope for a fair, binding, global deal on climate action. At the time, I was one of Wales’ Climate Change Champions and a member of our Climate Change Commission.
After all that queuing I got in eventually and spent a fair bit of time speaking to people and organisations from all across the world about what we wanted out of Copenhagen. I was full of optimism that we’d get the global deal we needed to cut emissions and head off the biggest threat to our planet.
We of course didn’t get the deal we wanted in Denmark.
I came home to Wales with a mixture of feelings. I was pleased that an agreement of sorts had been reached, even if it was a weak one. That was surely better than no agreement whatsoever, but with hindsight I was too optimistic about what Copenhagen could achieve.
Despite my frustrations at Copenhagen, I had some fantastic conversations with people from all over the world about the good work being done in Wales to tackle climate change, and what my hopes were for a better future.
Six years later, I’m working for WWF and campaigning for action on climate change. And in a week or so, decision-makers from across the world will come together again for COP21. We need to make sure that this conference will not be Copenhagen 2.0. The world needs a truly fair, global, and binding deal now to take action on global climate change.
As a society, we need to speak with one strong voice when we call on our leaders to put future generations and the most vulnerable first. We need to remind them that the world needs action on climate change for the sake of all of the things that we hold dear.
If enough of us call for it together, our hope for a better and more sustainable world will surely be too loud to ignore.
On Saturday 28 November, people in Cardiff and Edinburgh will be coming together to call on their leaders to take action on climate change at Wales Climate Action Day – Pedal for the Planet in Cardiff and Scotland’s Climate March in Edinburgh. On Sunday 29 November, people from across the UK will come together at The People’s Climate March in London. This is our chance, wherever we are, to rally for ambitious climate action.
So whether you’re in Cardiff, Edinburgh, or London (or anywhere else in the UK!), join us and speak up for the love of our planet.