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Coming home from COP18

Written by Merna Ghaly – National Youth Climate Ambassador


I come home from COP18 with utter disappointment, nothing achieved, nothing done.

A Doha fail if I might say, a text so ridiculous, might have been better off with no text at all. Islands endangered,millions threatened and lives at stake. USA, European Union, Russia, Canada and New Zealand have failed these negotiations, the Doha fail is on them. They have truly failed millions.

The text lacked ambition, science calls for 1.5° C while the text aims for 2°C, while in reality we’re heading towards 4°C. None of the high emitters put in realistic Carbon emission targets; some even put targets so ridiculous they could have simply not say anything at all (need I mention Australia’s 0.5% emission reduction target?). When it comes to finance, the Green Climate Fund is as empty as the bank account of a college student, filled with promises of money to come sometime in the distant future and
receipts of money already spent. Yet the Doha negotiations are being celebrated as a success by many,which still does not make any sense to me.

I have seen people cry because of the decisions made in Doha, I have seen people unsure if they would have a future, I have seen utter frustration, I have seen friends losing hope and that is not okay. I am not okay with that, in fact I am very angry, climate change has become personal now, I have to admit before COP I had never felt the impacts of climate change, but now I have seen firsthand what climate change can do, I now have to worry whether I will be seeing some of my friends again or not or whether they will be climate refugees or not.

I am comforted by one thought though, that I am not the only one, an entire generation has been angered and I can promise that the fight will be stronger, we will push harder, we will keep on going until we change climate change and we will not give up on our red lines. Political leaders might have lost the will, they might have lost their humanity, but we haven’t. We never will. We will change this world whether they chose to be part of the change or not. In fact, we already have. We have overthrown dictators, we have changed regimes, we have broken the barriers of fear, we have spoken out and we will continue to do so.


You can watch Merna’s passionate defense for the climate cause during the “100 million youth in MENA” side event here and her speech on behalf of the Coalition of Youth NGOs (YOUNGO) here



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