A CPS teenager among the Illinois youth delegation walks to the 26th United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow
When Mather High School, Khan Ali, arrives at the 26th United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow on Sunday, he will represent all of Chicago’s public school youth in the global conversation on climate change.
âI feel excited and nervous. So much to do in such a short time, âsaid Ali, 19, of West Ridge, as he prepared for his 4pm flight to Scotland on Saturday.
“We’re already at a point where if we don’t make a change now, it’s going to be detrimental to my generation, and the current leadership is not taking enough action.”
The teenager is traveling to Scotland as part of the Illinois delegation to ‘This is our future’.
He joins four other young people from Oak Park and Evanston attending the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, or COPS26. The youth-focused climate justice program ‘This is our future’ is run by the 20-year-old Oak Park nonprofit environmental association, Seven generations ahead.
âI’m trying to find out what each country is going to do to mitigate global warming, and since we will be there among the world leaders, I hope to interview President Biden on how we can make sure that every person in our country is knowledgeable about the climate crisis, âsaid Ali, one of the two children of his Pakistani immigrant parents, Jamshaid and Chand Nasim.
Hosted by the UK and Italy, COPS26 will bring together world leaders, tens of thousands of negotiators, government officials, businesses and citizens from nearly every country at a pivotal time in the climate crisis.
In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report, finding that the earth is getting so hot that within a decade, temperatures will likely exceed the level of warming that world leaders, meeting every year. year at the top, sought to prevent.
The report, stating that climate change is clearly man-made, “unequivocal” and an “established fact”, finds that global warming – in each of the five scenarios based on the level of carbon reduction in the world – would still exceed the 1.5 of the Paris Agreement. warming threshold -degree by the 2030s, much earlier than past predictions.
âWorld leaders are simply not taking enough action to reduce the impact of the climate. So we need to make sure, as young people, as representatives and stewards of our future, that we push each and every one of our country’s delegates to ensure that they and their colleagues put in place policies aligned with the reduction. carbon emissions before they reach the point where it’s going to be irreversible, âsaid the CPS student.
This year’s conference comes against a lack of progress on the 2015 Paris Agreement. As part of this pact, for the first time ever, countries have agreed to work together to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius – aiming for 1.5 degrees. The agreement also calls for adaptations to mitigate the impact of climate change and funding for these efforts.
Nations have pledged to establish a national plan to reduce carbon emissions and update them every five years – which would have been in 2020. But with the pandemic canceling last year’s summit, nations will unveil their updates during COPS26.
However, data shows that the Earth has already warmed by almost 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Paris Agreement.
Young people from around the world will be among the 30,000 expected participants converging on Glasgow, seeking to accelerate carbon emissions reductions in the crucial decade leading up to 2030.
Ali and his fellow young delegates will be there among world leaders, enjoying observer status in the spaces where the global negotiations take place. On Thursday, they will participate in a global live broadcast event, âYouth voices on climate: COP26 and beyondâ, where young people in Chicago and around the world can make their voices heard from their hometown.
The other members of the local delegation are Lily Aaron from Evanston Township High School and Charlotte Meyer, Jelena Collins and Sophie Ball, all from Oak Park River Forest High School.
Thanks to his high school, Ali participated last summer in a solar panel project organized in collaboration with Seven Generations Ahead. When the organization reached out to expand a niche for a participant, its teacher, Peter Iselin, recommended it.
âWhen I received this call in August, I was speechless. I was like, ‘This is crazy. Truly ?’ Ali said.
âThis is an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the climate crisis. I have watched videos and read articles and reports on climate change, to find out what is happening in the world and what are the impacts of various countries on our climate, âsaid Ali, who will present what he says. taught his comrades on his return.
âMy ultimate goal is to ensure that the climate studies curriculum is included in schools across the United States. And I hope to talk to President Biden about it. ”