21 Nov 2009

Students seek leaders' action on climate change

1:28 pm on 21 November 2009

New Zealand secondary school students will travel to the International Youth Climate Forum in Copenhagen next week where they will ask world leaders to address the problem of climate change now.

The forum precedes the United Nations conference on climate change to be held in the Danish capital from 7-18 December.

Leaders from 190 nations will try to work out a global agreement to fight climate change after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

Phoebe Hunt, a year 13 student at Rotorua's Western Heights High School, is one of five New Zealand students heading to Denmark.

She says if world leaders do not want their children to inherit the problem, they must confront climate change now.

"We're not living within our environmental means at the moment and this can't go on forever, so it's really (about) being proactive and looking at solutions now before it's too late."

Miss Hunt says although the forum may not force leaders to address climate change, she hopes it will at least make them aware how strongly young people feel about the issue.

The students will meet with Environment Minister Nick Smith when they return to discuss the Government's plan to combat climate change.