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Climate activist Deepa Gupta on ABC TV

UTS:Business student and co-founder of the Indian Youth Climate Network Deepa Gupta made her ABC TV debut on Thursday 15 October on Q&A with Tony Jones.

During a discussion that ranged from Australia’s treatment of Sri Lankan asylum seekers to the government’s emissions trading scheme, Deepa said that, although 80% of the world’s power currently comes from coal, ‘the thinking that caused the problem will not be the thinking the will create the solution. So we can't use coal as our future and we can't use that [statistic] as a justification to keep using coal.’
 
Deepa, appeared on the discussion panel with Federal Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese, Manager of Opposition Business in Parliament Christopher Pyne, British writer / comedian Alexei Sayle and CEO of the NSW Minerals Council Nikki Williams.
 
Of our response to climate change, Deepa said ‘Australia is one of the windiest, one of the sunniest countries in the world. It's surrounded by ocean. It has the best hot rocks and … the CSIRO's study, I think, says that in the next 15 years we can actually generate 1 million clean energy jobs. So in Australia it is definitely possible.’
 
Deepa co-founded the Indian Youth Climate Network in March 2008, partly in response to the lack of representation of young Indians at the 2007 Bali climate talks. With India’s massive population – almost 700,000 of which are under 35 – it was clear that the youth of the country should have a greater awareness and role in the climate change debate.
 
From an initial group of three, the network has become a coalition of 300,000 people uniting Indian youth and Indian youth oriented organisations. The IYCN is sending a delegation to the UN Climate Change Negotiations in Copenhagen in December.
 
‘India has two challenges on its hands,’ she said, ‘that of development and that of climate change. India has 800 million people living on less than $2 a day so that needs to be addressed simultaneously with development … We need developed countries to support India and other developing nations to develop cleanly, so that they can avoid the problems that developed nations have created.’
 
After some political point-scoring between Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese over the ETS, Deepa said, ‘To be honest, it just feels like no one here actually cares about the issue of climate change. This is threatening the survival of … all future generations and you're sitting here debating - you know, one party debating 10 percent for 2020 and another party debating whether we do anything or not, full stop.’
 
‘But to ensure the survival of all nations and people and to stop … countries from going underwater, we need to aim for 350 parts per million as the upper limit of safe carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And for that, Australia needs to be taking targets of 40 percent of more by 2020.’
 
You can watch the episode of Q&A on the ABC website. Read more about the Indian Youth Climate Network on their website.

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