As I write this, the results of the conference are still unsure.
The closing ceremony of COP24 was to start at 4 p.m. but it was delayed till 7 p.m. and now until 10 p.m. Regardless of the outcome of this political process, there are many things that continue to give me hope that we will be able to tackle climate change.
Youth, the Next Generation:
As the generation that will have to address climate change throughout their lifetimes, this week we have seen heartfelt pleas from the youth of the world. One example is the delegation of nine students from the School of Environmental Studies in Minnesota. Led by veteran teacher Craig Johnson, these high schoolers have witnessed and documented the climate talks all week. This experience is giving them the tools to be active participants in their communities as they become adults. You can read about their journey at sescop24.blogspot.com.
I have also enjoyed meeting the emerging leaders that are pursuing master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Policy. These graduate students are combining their commitment to climate change solutions with a growing depth of knowledge on public policy. This combination will make them formidable leaders in their future careers.
Evident at COP24 is the fiercely engaged civil society.
Community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), indigenous groups, faith-based organizations, and academics start the list of voices I have heard this week either in meetings, on panels, or in demonstrations.
In a packed room this afternoon, a group of country ministers stood together asking for a strong Paris Agreement rulebook. The group, called the High Ambition Coalition, demonstrates the leadership needed during these times of change.
All these people working into the night as observers or as negotiators give me hope for the journey ahead. Regardless of the outcome for COP24, these future and current leaders will remain dedicated to delivering meaningful solutions. I have hope because of these committed people.
As this week inches toward its close, I am also grateful Climate Generation provided the opportunity to be an official observer of COP24 to the Minnesota business community. I am grateful Best Buy is committed to managing carbon emissions and that we were able to add our voice to the dialogue in support collective action on climate change.
I am grateful for this week and hopeful for the future.