Young Chinese play greater role in tackling climate change

16:30, December 11, 2009      

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While negotiators and experts debated at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Li Chuheng was preparing to play a video on climate change to her neighbors.

The 17-year-old was just back from the Children's Climate Forum, held from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 in Copenhagen. She worked with 160 delegates from 44 countries and regions on proposals to tackle climate change from children's perspectives.

"I brought back a lot of materials, and I hope to share them with other people in my school and community as soon as possible," she says.

Li, a student at Beijing No. 8 Middle School, has been working with her schoolmates on a study of China's wind power, as well as raising public awareness of climate change since February.

Xu Bing of Peking University, Li Yi of Tsinghua University and Xiao Jianke of Beijing Foreign Studies University are preparing for a speech to university students next week.

Starting with this year's early snow in Beijing, they will talk about the causes and consequences of climate change, the actions China and international community have made to tackle it, and energy conservation and emissions reduction measures in daily life.

Selected with four other university students by the China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN) as "climate ambassadors" in July, they were required to make three speeches to the public on climate change before the end of the UN Climate Change Conference to raise public awareness.

Zhou Denglin, project manager of CYCAN, says the organization, founded in 2007 by seven university environmental protection organizations, has cooperated with more than 200 universities in its activities. About 100,000 college students have joined in tackling climate change problems.

CYCAN selected 40 students to go to Copenhagen to deliver pamphlets, make speeches and organize activities to tell the world what Chinese youth have done on climate change, Zhou says..

"The international community knew little about the work young Chinese have done as we had few opportunities to participate such activities in the past. We have to let them know," he says.

Chen Ying, deputy director with the Research Center for Sustainable Development of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says climate change is a long-term global issue and young people will be most affected.

Wang Zinan, who also attended the Children's Climate Forum, started studying Beijing park lawn degeneration when he found the grass in the Yuan Dynasty Dadu City Wall Park, near his house, was withering.

"Our school (Beijing No. 22 Middle School) will reconstruct the campus in the next two years and I hope to help plan the replanting of the campus lawn," Wang says.

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