High-Level Speech

You sit here year after year claiming to work toward solutions while around the world real human beings lose their homes, their livelihoods, and their lives in this emergency. This process benefits a greedy few and ignores the many who know how to live in harmony with this planet.

The united science shows we need deep emissions cuts starting NOW and deepening each year. We must go beyond zero and transition into a new world defined by compassion, cooperation, and equity.

Instead, the polluters propose to keep polluting and plundering in the same way they have for centuries. But now they propose to “offset” these offenses with approaches that harm indigenous communities — the very people who hold many of the solutions. 

Entire communities are being wiped out. Entire countries are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. And you are talking about prolonging our dependency on fossil fuels, instead of supporting those who have done nothing to cause this crisis but who are already suffering. 

People often apologize to me – for my generation having to pick up the pieces as this planet is torn apart. But a few measly, mumbled words are not enough. It is not enough to talk about the climate emergency. Only a profound and equitable transformation is enough. Only then will the apology be accepted. System change not climate change!

Speech delivered by Zoe Ernst from College of the Atlantic and Earth in Brackets

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