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Achieving the Climate Goals as a bridge towards an equitable world

Environnement | Les pays


Unequivocally, climate change represents a major threat to the survival of civilisation. Seemingly hopeful, the international community has drafted in 2015 the sustainable development goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030(Weiland et al., 2021). In 2024, with wars ravaging both the Europe and the Middle East, flooding destroying Latin American landscapes and politics dividing all peoples, it seems the world is farthest away as possible from achieving these targets, only nine years after consenting to mobilise their resources to meet them. While major policies today are drafted in Northern countries, hurtling to reach NetZero the soonest, the South seems slowly moving with minor adjustments to their existing policies. In light of such discrepancies, the youths remain trapped, hand-tied, facing major dilemmas concerning their future. With almost five years to achieve 2030, what is the current situation of both climate policies in southern countries and youth activism?

Why are developing countries lagging in climate policies?

With growing climate awareness, there remains extensive lack of concrete actions. Aside from difference in governance and economic models, two reasons can resume the answer: lack of global agreement for climate finance, and burden in technological transfers (Lamb & Minx, 2020). A third explanation can be reduced to the nature of the humans as they are unable to perceive the consequences of climate change, which appear not to be immediate (Lamb & Minx, 2020). As a community, we struggle to contextualise the numerous aspects of climate change and the possibility of its mitigation as it is harder to forecast the outcomes of climate change on distant populations and the generations of the future (Lamb & Minx, 2020). An equally plausible cause could be the embedding of fossil fuel and its relevant infrastructure in everyday life routine, thus a possibility for change would be unhinged. On a more political front, an energy transition away from fossil fuels creates conflict of interests among several groups, especially in oil and gas producing countries that tend to mobilise financial assets through lobbying, keeping the relevance of the resources.

As indicated by figure 1, based on the data from the World Population Review, the major producers of gas are central geo-political powers such as Russia, the United States of America (USA) and China. With gas remaining the main energy source for major end-use sectors manufacturing, it seems unlikely that natural gas will be phased-out at the pace required to achieve the goals signalled by the Paris Agreement and reiterated by the UAE Consensus.

Figure 1: Top 10 Countries that Produce the Most Natural Gas (Cubic Meters, 2022)

The role of youths in delivering climate promises.

Youth climate activism has emerged with Canadian writer and activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the founder of the Environmental Children’s Organization who spoke about the dangers of climate change before the Earth Summit (Han et al., 2020). Nearly 26 years later, Greta Thunberg delivered a similar call, resonating with the protests she started in 2015, through her organisation, Fridays for Future. With similar young men and women taking central stage at international events, the youth became agents of change through global mobilisation, galvanising millions across the world. The current narrative of youth climate activism focused on assigning blame to the corporate capitalist entities that threaten the progress of climate policies, with world leaders embodying the villains and the young people protagonists of change (Han & Ahn, 2020). While such activism work has driven the incorporation of young voices into governance, it has not led to more immediate policy alternatives. Additionally, youths formerly described as fragile and helpless are represented today as active agents of change and on the path of becoming future policymakers (Han & Ahn, 2020).


This paper has briefly examined two major themes at the centre of sustainability today: the global south’s quest for efficient climate policies and the mobilisation of youths globally. These two axes of the climate movement are essential to build bridges in a world of conflicts and reach a desired harmony moving into the world of the second half of the 21st century. One question remains unsolved: How can solid bridges be built through sustainability?


Han, H., & Ahn, S. W. (2020). Youth mobilization to stop global climate change: Narratives and impact. Sustainability (Switzerland), 12(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104127

Lamb, W. F., & Minx, J. C. (2020). The political economy of national climate policy: Architectures of constraint and a typology of countries. Energy Research and Social Science, 64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101429

Weiland, S., Hickmann, T., Lederer, M., Marquardt, J., & Schwindenhammer, S. (2021). The 2030 agenda for sustainable development: Transformative change through the sustainable development goals? In Politics and Governance (Vol. 9, Issue 1, pp. 90–95). Cogitatio Press. https://doi.org/10.17645/PAG.V9I1.4191