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Youths Join for Grassroots Effort

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About one and a half months ago, 22 year-old Kevin Osborne, a recent graduate from Seattle University, was in a race against the clock - he was trying to set up an ambitious project called the China-US Climate Exchange for the Cancun climate change summit.

The grassroots initiative brings together more than 30 college-level students and recent graduates from both sides to exchange ideas and enhance cultural understanding - something Osborne believes is lacking in the two countries climate change negotiations.

China and the US - the fastest-developing country and the most-developed nation, respectively - are the two biggest emitters in the world. Many experts say the two play important roles in the climate change negotiations, and should lead the way and push forward the talks in Cancun.

Osborne majored in environmental studies and Chinese and has visited China four times in the past few years. After participating in the COP 15 (UN Climate Change summit in Copenhagen) last year on his own dime and meeting the Chinese delegation then, he thinks that a youth forum particularly between China and US should be set up for young people to learn more about each other's cultures.

He then reached out seven climate change nongovernmental organizations - including China Youth Climate Action Network, China Dialogue, SustainUS and Cascade Climate Network - to pull together this initiative.

And his goal was achieved.

"We want to show the negotiators that the young people from both countries can try to listen and understand our cultural differences, and we want the politicians to do the same," he said.

"We need to continue to build trust (between China and US) - something I don't hear enough from the negotiators."

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