Youth Delegate Anjali Appadurai Speaks Truth to Power at Conclusion of COP17 in Durban

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Perhaps the most powerful speech made in all of COP17 at Durban came at the very end, a statement by Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, who addressed the conference on behalf of the youth delegates.

Her scornful depiction of the utter failure of the international community to act on climate change - a failure chiefly owned by the largest polluting nations who have caused most of the damage to the global climate - is spot on.

Watch coverage of Ms. Appadurai's statement, courtesy of Democracy Now!

"Get It Done": Urging Climate Justice, Youth Delegate Anjali Appadurai Mic-Checks UN Summit

My personal reaction: I was especially pleased to see the response from Artur Runge-Metzger, who is sitting in the COP President chair overseeing this session. He's the chair of the European Commission climate team, and responds not only warmly but wisely at the conclusion of Ms. Appandurai's speech and 'mic check' with the rest of the youth in the back of the room:

“I wonder why we let not speak 'half of the world's population' first in this conference, but only last, Runge-Metzger says to applause from the room.

Bravo, sir. I had a rather testy exchange with Runge-Metzger at the Barcelona talks just prior to COP15 in Copenhagen. He cut the mics and ended an EU press conference after failing to answer my question about when a binding deal would be reached. Nice to see him grow a spine since.

Here is what I wrote in 2009, which is sadly still relevant today in the wake of failure in Durban:

Curious to hear the European response to the G-77’s clear call for a legally binding agreement, later today I asked the EU delegation to explain specifically what timeframe would be acceptable to set legally binding targets if Copenhagen fails to produce solid results and instead ends with such a politically binding (i.e. hollow) agreement, or worse still, no agreement.

It was the last question the E.U. delegation took from the press today, and provides all the clarity that Africa and the developing countries can expect from the industrialized world for now. 

Artur Runge-Metzger, the chief negotiator for the European Commission, sitting next to the nodding Swedish delegate (Sweden currently holds the E.U. presidency) responded simply, “It should be as quickly as possible after Copenhagen.” (Full stop, microphones cut, end of press conference.*)

In contrast to the developing world’s clear, specific position, the E.U. seems to act as if these negotiations just started, as if talks haven’t been going on for years since Kyoto. Europe seems to project the image that it is suddenly being asked to answer this fundamental question.

In reality, Europe and the rest of the developed world have had more than ample time over the past decade to develop a clear position. But when pressed on specifics now, just weeks before the world expects a concrete treaty, they are still flailing around like fish out of water.

Much work remains to be done, and 99% of the burden rests on the E.U. and U.S. to show the rest of the world they understand the severe implications of any further delay in responding to the climate crisis. The anger from Africa and the rest of the developing world will continue to grow, as will the carbon emissions responsible for climate change.

Europe and the U.S. must stand up and be counted.

Yeah, we're still waiting for that to happen.  Unfortunately, climate change is not so patient. 

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CFACT held a press release featuring Senator Inhofe and provided a much needed scientific update on the state of global warming.


In other news, Greenpeace said we should be listening to the people & not the polluters.

Wise words.

Ralph, i notice you are the sock puppet assigned to this blog.
Your life must really suck.

More ‘acceptable’ adhom, thx. Where are the unbiased(?) mods when you need them?

“More ‘acceptable’ adhom, thx. Where are the unbiased(?) mods when you need them?”

One ad hom & your up in arms, when Ralph is allowed to post day in day out comments that  breach the comment policy. People pick him up on it daily, but despite this, his comments are not deleted & his account is not banned. I think you can put up with the rare ad hom, if we have to put up with carpet bombing of bullshit & verified lies from Ralph.

“and I’d just like to thank everyone for putting up with Phil. job well done!”

The delusion run deep in this one.

I have never done anything wrong, I just throw out my opinion on each article. From time to time we may disagree but I thought we had a certain mutual admiration for each other. I have learnt a few things from you and I know you have been educated quite a bit by the comments and links I have posted for your perusal.

Ahhh, to be young and idealistic again! Poor girl, she has no idea how much she doesn’t yet now and no idea how the world really works. But I applaud her chutzpa. ;)

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

 I’ve watched Ms. Appadurai’s speech a couple of times now. What an incredibly articulate woman. Fearless & focussed.


 But this?  Priceless.

Here is your footprint

1 passenger, flying round trip from BOSTON, USA (BOS) to ATLANTA, USA (ATL) to JOHANNESBURG, ZAF (JNB) to DURBAN, ZAF (DUR) ( 31,174 Km ), in Premium Class (Economy Premium, Business, or First), generates about 4,851.74 Kg of CO2

Yeah, I’ll take Global Warming fanatics’ phony hysteria over carbon emissions seriously …

… just as soon as they do.


This is an argument that is typically ignored by the climate worry folks. That is a mistake.They really have to take another look at this. Optics matter.  

There is no need to travel. They can set up an online conference next time. Or they can choose to continue to send a confused mixed message by burning through as much carbon as possible while telling the world it burns through too much carbon.

I’d bet on the latter. The message I get out of this is people like being on stage - especially young people -  and they like being part of something that feels important but it’s really about the event and hearing their own voices- they aren’t really taking carbon seriously.

The only people who might get confused about the message from Durban are denier crackpots.

Do you really beleive that if all the delegates had not flown to Durban that all those planes they were on would have been grounded, thus saving them each 4,851.74 Kg  C02 emissions?

What is the carbon footprint of a teleconference, including the servers and data farms?

Too hard to figure out.

But let’s face it, had the delegates held a teleconference climate summitt instead, you and Chris would be bitching about their computing carbon footprint, right? And if they used telephones, or cell phones, it would be the carbon footprint of all those plasticy devices. And if they wrote letters to each other using quill and ink, it would be the carbon footprint of all that paper, ink, feathers and postal transport. Smoke signals? Why that would be burning wood.

All this talk about carbon footprints, hypocrisy and optics is just a flimsy excuse for dismissing both the people and the ideas that deniers disagree with. 


Yes it’s the “negative spiral of expectations/setting of imposible objectives/set up to fail syndrome”.

A well used tool of the denial industry. We are totally encapsulated within a fossil fuel based energy system & it is virtually impossible to do much within that system that hasn’t been touched by fossil fuels. As Peter points out, once the request for not using any carbon what so ever is not achieved, deniers use this to discredit climate realists.

The point is, like the transition from using whale oils to fossil fuel oils. The transition is slow. And in that transition period, the incumbent fuel source is king. Meaning, it’s easy for backers of that incumbent to take pot shots. E.g. Circa 1860 . If fossil fuels are so much better….why can’t you replace all the whale oil tomorrow? Try surviving on your precious fossil fuels without whale oil at all…..cmon, I dare you. See you can’t , your system is a failure.


hit a nerve with that one

oh well lets just burn up whatever we want and let government fix this problem in 2020.

I’ve been thinking of getting me a big gas guzzling truck -  so may as well go ahead with it, what with all the shale oil they’ll be pumping out over the next 50 years.

Don’t worry - I’ll save the climate by keeping my tires pumped up.

Your statement:

‘I’ve been thinking of getting me a big gas guzzling truck -  so may as well go ahead with it, what with all the shale oil they’ll be pumping out over the next 50 years.’

is crass at so many levels but then you are only trying to annoy.

Shame that you failed at that by only managing to portray yourself as sinking ever lower in any estimation we may have of you.

Compared to the subject of this article, Anjali, you are as of nothing, I am applaud her still.

I’m at least twice as old as her and she has burned more in flight carbon in the last month than I have in my life.

Talk is just talk. I have a miniscule carbon footprint compared with self righteous young people like her - And most likely far smaller than yours too. The world is full of fake greens.

I have a miniscule [sic] carbon footprint compared with self righteous young people like her - And most likely far smaller than yours too.’

I wouldn’t bank on that RJ. I dont drive or fly anywhere, wear more clothes rather than up the thermostat in my cavity filled bricks-mortar&breeze block walled property with efficient condensing boiler, loft insulation and double glazing. I am careful about the food we consume - airmiles and all - as are my children and theirs. Sure I have not invested in solar as yet, but on invalidity pension from HM forces it is tough to get by let alone fork out thousands but the aim is still there. Technology improvement might help. As could our Scrouge of a chancellor who has culled solar subsidies and much else that assists the low incomes to live.

To be sure in my early working life I probably burned up many gallons of aviation fuel ground test running jet engines in various heavy metal aircraft, whilst travelling around on a platform burning tons of FFO per mile. Should see the fuel gauges move when those Phantom engines were put into ‘burner (aka re-heat). But then I and most others, except Spencer Weart and Roger Revelle, were ignorant in our bliss back then.

You do yourself no favours by criticizing a young lady with spirit, and conscience

Maybe not - but it doesn’t change the fact that a star is born and she’s likely to spend the next several years jet setting around and telling other people about the horrors of CO2.

She won’t change the world but she will enjoy the spotlight I’m sure.

Nice that you don’t fly anymore. Neither do I - probably for different reasons but I haven’t been on a plane since the mid 90s and will probably never fly again.

If this movement wanted to be taken seriously it could start with a general boycott of air travel and then add private car travel. That would get some attention.

They wouldn’t do that in a million years because they aren’t serious and so I don’t take them seriously