The recently released special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that under certain conditions, it should still be possible to limit global warming to a maximum of +1.5°C. This would help keep the impacts of climate change at a tolerable level.
Children and young people have a key role to play if this goal is to be achieved, both as generations that will suffer from the consequences of climate change for a long time and as a force for concrete action. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is therefore keen to encourage their involvement in the global fight against climate change.
At over 3,400m altitude, the Aletsch glacier was chosen as the location for the Guinness world record because it is a powerful image of the strong impact of climate change on high mountain regions. Many of the world’s glaciers are shrinking rapidly and will disappear completely in the near future. Disappearing glaciers are a sight that can be observed all over the world and Switzerland, with its many glaciers, is particularly affected.
At the centre of the Jungfraujoch record operation are promises and messages about climate change written by young people which all together will form the biggest postcard of all time. On a surface measuring 2,500m2, two messages will be displayed: ‘STOP GLOBAL WARMING # 1.5 °C’ and ‘WE ARE THE FUTURE GIVE US A CHANCE’. Over 80% of the postcards are from SDC partner countries, where the activity has received an overwhelming response from schools and educators. In many of the countries in which Swiss development cooperation is active, climate change is already having an impact and urgent measures are needed to help people adapt.
The changing global climate is creating new challenges for development actors. Climate change impairs development and compromises what has already been achieved. Developing countries and poor communities bear the greater burden, but developing countries are also emitters of a growing share of the global greenhouse gases. Climate change mitigation and management are therefore increasingly crucial to development cooperation.
To commemorate the Guinness world record, a postcard will be designed and printed to dispatch the young people’s words to the four corners of the globe. Some of the postcards will be sent from the highest postbox in the world on the Jungfraujoch to the participants of the next global climate conference in Poland in December 2018.
The world record attempt planned in collaboration with WAVE (World Advanced Vehicle Expedition) and other partners will be climate neutral; the organisers will offset twice the CO2 emissions generated.
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