Al Gore inspires young future leaders at COP24

My attendance at COP24 has opened my eyes to the sheer number of people from diverse backgrounds not only concerned about climate change and its impacts, but who are actively seeking solutions to this global issue. The biggest highlight of my participation was attending a side-event led by Al Gore, in large part due to his ability to communicate in such a meaningful and emotional way to the diverse crowd of people gathered together in freezing Poland.

Gore pleaded with the full theatre to observe and understand the current impacts of climate change and to appreciate how much worse they will soon become. Each example he presented - in high definition imagery or video footage - highlighted the environmental and anthropogenic suffering currently occurring around the globe. The urgency in his voice was tangible as he described example after example of current climate impacts, including increasing death tolls from extreme weather events throughout the USA and mass migration by climate refugees seeking safer lifestyles. Gore also described the increasing loss of arable land around the world that will eventually lead to global food shortages.

Gore is a leader and public figurehead of the climate change movement around the world and his speech was especially inspiring to my own personal development. Gore was able to communicate in a way that everyone understood and could relate to, by using specific examples that impact our personal context. He did this with a passion that emphasised how severe the situation truly is.

Gore finished by saying “If anyone doubts that we as human beings are incapable of rising to this moment, think back to all of the struggles we’ve had in previous history, and how often the odds were against those who chose to do the right thing and ultimately prevailed. If anyone doubts that we as human beings have the political will to make the right choice, please remember that political will itself is a renewable resource.”

By: Joel Wynhorst, Curtin University Scholar

Australia's recommitment to fossil fuels sounds a shaky start to COP24

Australia's recommitment to fossil fuels sounds a shaky start to COP24

Our first day of COP, as part of the Global Voices Scholarship Program, comes after a contentious week of negotiations. Perhaps most notable in last week’s negotiations was the IPCC 1.5 degrees report with the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait blocking other countries from ‘welcoming’ the report, only accepting to ‘note’ the findings. The EU, and many African, American and Pacific island nations all pushed for the report to be ‘welcomed’, while Australia notably stayed silent on the issue. This will likely delay negotiations in the middle of next year.

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