News / Toronto

U of T engineer headed to Morocco for UN climate summit

Student one of a group of Canadian youth heading to Morocco to make their voices heard on climate change matters

University of Toronto third-year engineering student Sam Harrison is headed to Morocco for this year's UN global climate summit, where he and others are looking to bring young voices to the forefront.

Courtesy Marit Mitchell/ UofT

University of Toronto third-year engineering student Sam Harrison is headed to Morocco for this year's UN global climate summit, where he and others are looking to bring young voices to the forefront.

When delegates at the UN global climate summit convene next week in Marrakech, Morocco, a young Toronto voice will be there to challenge them.

University of Toronto engineering student Sam Harrison is among a select group of Canadian youth heading to the COP22 on behalf of the Canadian Youth on Climate Coalition.

Their mission: To hold politicians to task for promises Harrison says are often made but rarely followed through.

“We’re the ones who are going to bear the most dire impacts of their decisions,” he said, adding future generations and the majority of people in the developing world don’t have a formal say in political systems. “They need to listen to us.”

The Marrakech conference follows last year’s forum in Paris, where world leaders committed to significantly reducing CO2 emissions and limiting the effects of global warming.

As one of the top 10 carbon emitters, Canada joined the chorus by pledging to set a target of reducing emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.

“They’ll say that and at the same time plan to build transnational pipelines that will last 60 years. We can’t do both,” Harrison said, stressing his point about what he considers false promises.

He and other youth want Canada to commit to building stronger framework for mitigating climate change and to work with indigenous communities – who’ve been taking care of the land for thousands of years – and other environmental activists in the process.

A native of British Columbia, Harrison picked up an interest in climate change at an early age, working with Kids for Climate Action to organize protests and bike rides in a bid to reach politicians.

“As I learned more about it in science, it becomes terrifying,” he said. “The current situation is not reflective of a future we want to live in.”

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