Young delegates at COP26’s youth conference have disrupted a speech by the UN summit’s president calling out the UK Government for supporting the expansion of drilling at an oilfield west of Shetland.
On Saturday, at the closing ceremony of COY16, youth representatives said it was hypocritical of Alok Sharma and the government to support the development of the Cambo field in the North Sea.
Sharma was speaking at the ceremony at the University of Strathclyde when youth delegates stood up and began chanting: “What do we want? Climate justice.”
One activist said: “Alok Sharma and the UK Government are hypocrites.
“They are opening the new Cambo oil field, they subsidise billions into fossil fuels yet won’t look after the workers who need a just transition.
“Where is the support for countries in crisis as a result of our colonial history?”
COY, the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth, takes place right before the annual COP and trains young people ahead of their participation in the main summit.
At the TED Countdown conference in Edinburgh earlier this month, climate activists took over the stage during a panel discussion with the boss of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell.
During his speech, Sharma said: “This is an issue that matters for all of us, and my job is to build consensus… and not just to make the commitments but to follow through with actions.
“This is a team effort, that’s how we bring about change. We work together, we hold leaders to account, but we do that in a consensus driven way. I know that this matters; it matters to your generation and it matters to mine.
“In Paris we said that we would hold World Leaders accountable, and now we must deliver on that.
“I know that you are relying on me, and I promise to you that I will do everything in my power to deliver that to you at COP.”
On working with young people, Sharma said: “Young climate leaders are vital to securing the global action we need to keep 1.5 degree alive.
“This is why we have engaged extensively with young people including through the Milan Youth4Climate Summit, YOUNGO and COY16 and we look forward to welcoming the involvement of young climate leaders throughout the UK Presidency programme and in particular, the youth and public empowerment day next Friday.”