Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann at the Opening Ceremony of the Sino-American Youth Dialogue on Climate Change

October 11, 2021

Hello everyone,

Good evening, good afternoon, and good morning! I am delighted to speak to you at the opening of the Sino-American Youth Dialogue on Climate Change.

Given you are here at today’s event, you are all very aware of what is at stake and what we must overcome to lower emissions across the world, keep global warming within 1.5 degrees and meet global climate targets.

So I would like to leave two points with you going into your discussions today.

First, I want to re-emphasize your crucial role in realizing a greener, more sustainable future, that includes everyone.

You are quite literally our best hope for tomorrow. You are better educated than any generation before you – more connected and more tech savvy. And because of that, you are the best-equipped to develop the kind of creative, innovative ways forward that we need now. Your ability to think differently, approach problems from new perspectives, improve existing solutions, or design whole new ones, are key to overcoming the challenges humanity faces.

So I encourage all of you to think big, be bold, and challenge the status quo. Because we can do better. And by pushing the envelope and reimagining what is possible, any of you could come up with the next game-changing idea to help get us there.

At the same time, no action is ever too small to matter. In the fight against climate change, even little things we can do on a daily basis, within our families and communities, make a huge difference when we act together. Things like eating less meat, buying local produce and recycling our waste are all important steps to lower our carbon footprint.

UNDP stands firmly by your side. Empowering young people to take part in sustainable development has always been one of our top priorities. Our global campaign, Mission 1.5, provided a platform for people around the world to make their voices heard on climate change…. and the majority of participants were young people like yourselves, including over half a million under the age of 18.

Engagements such as this, along with the global climate action youth movements including the Youth4Climate Summit held in Milan last week and today’s dialogue – give reason for optimism.

The second point I want to make is that climate change is not an issue that can be solved by any one country alone. As with COVID-19, this crisis transcends national borders. So international cooperation is everything. The world is best served by countries working together, sharing experiences and technologies, that shift us towards greener pathways.

That’s why today’s Sino-American Youth Dialogue is so important. The discussions, collaboration and mutual learning taking place today among young people from China and the US is precisely the type of cooperation needed to ensure global climate goals are met. Given the critical role that these two countries must play in keeping global temperatures within safe limits, it is especially heartening to see you all setting a positive example of cooperation that can be looked to for inspiration.

Thank you to the Dialogue’s organizing committee for inviting me, and to Tsinghua University and MIT for hosting today’s event, supported by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and other institutions. I hope that you can build on what you learn from each other and guest speakers today and I’m excited to see your ideas progress in the future. Your ingenuity, passion and ideas, truly have the power to change our world.

Thank you!