Tuesday, October 2, 2007

TN Youth to Attend Climate Conference

Youth Call on World Leaders to Protect Their Future

This December, twenty-two youth leaders from across the country, including a Tennessee-based delegate, Lauren McGrath, will represent the United States at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Indonesia. The negotiations will spark a new framework for the international response to global warming. The SustainUS delegation will demonstrate that youth are taking the lead in their communities in fighting global warming "In the midst of the most profound consensus on climate change the US administration is rolling back energy policy for the United States and the World. Youth have to call for accountability, the UN Climate Negotiations are the beginnings of developing the first binding international climate framework" says Lauren McGrath, a Tennessee-based coalfield community organizer on the SustainUS delegation.

The delegation is a part of the internationally recognized SustainUS program, designed to facilitate youth involvement in international policymaking and advocate for a sustainable future. The students were invited to join this delegation after a highly competitive, national selection process. The delegation draws from outstanding young leaders, including a Rhodes Scholar, a Watson Fellow, a human rights videographer, and an elected official

SustainUS delegate, Lauren McGrath, has been involved in coal and energy issues in Tennessee and throughout Appalachia, working with communities fighting mountaintop removal mining.

"Mountaintop removal is the root of climate change and I work ground zero when it comes to the impacts on mountain communities in Appalachia, big coal has provided economic opportunity for many families in Appalachia- but at the cost of their water, air and mountain homes. But times are changing. America needs to be on the forefront of that innovation. We owe clean, secure jobs to the citizens of this nation. The UN Climate meetings are part of a global turning point on climate change".

According the the delegation, clean energy industries will out pace fossil fuel industries in the future. "As young people we're concerned for our future job opportunities. Our government's inaction on climate change will cost the citizens of this country – both in terms of energy security and job reliablity".

McGrath conluded, stating "according to recent poll 77% of Americans feel it would be better for the Bush Administration to concentrate first on energy conservation before resorting to more mountaintop removal. Its time the young leaders on climate, coal and energy issues in the United States hold our government accountable. Now is when we need the United States Congress takes the lead on climate change".

For more information on the petition, or to help out with the international call for climate action, contact Lauren McGrath at lauren@socm.org


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