COP28 Spotlight: Vinay Karthik

COP28 Spotlight: Vinay Karthik

COP28 Spotlight: Vinay Karthik

By: Veda Ganesan


In the realm of climate activism, the voice of the youth resonates loudly, and one individual standing at the forefront of this movement is Vinay Karthik. Hailing from Edison, NJ, Vinay, a junior, has emerged as a dynamic force in climate advocacy, with notable contributions to COP28, the 28th Conference of Parties organized by the UNFCCC.


As a junior from Edison, NJ, Vinay is not just a passive observer but an active participant in climate advocacy. His journey into the world of climate action began with his engagement in YOUNGO, the youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


Vinay Karthik in a beige shirt, red tie, and grey pants standing in front of the COP28 banner. Palm trees and flags of countries around the world are in the background.

Vinay Karthik, standing in front of the COP28 UAE Banner.


COP28, a significant climate change conference, became the stage where Vinay’s passion for climate advocacy took center stage. As the Communications Team Lead on the National Youth Action Team of Citizens Climate Lobby, Vinay played a crucial role in simplifying the complex COP proceedings, making them more accessible to the wider public, particularly the youth.


His role as a Media Logistics Manager during COP28 provided a unique lens into the intricate workings of the conference. Beyond the executive blue zones and official negotiations, he was actively involved in planning, managing, and coordinating youth media events. His contributions extended to writing captions for social media, scriptwriting, and reporting for YOUNGO TV.


The Executive Blue Zone, the nerve center of official negotiations between global leaders and national delegations, became Vinay’s sphere of influence. This is where international agreements were shaped, and plans were devised to combat the pressing issue of climate change. His insights into this zone shed light on the gravity of the decisions made and their far-reaching consequences.


Karthik emphasizes the significant role of youth in COP28, where dedicated conferences and events were led by young activists. Youth Day, a special day during COP28, and the Children and Youth Pavilion, provided platforms for showcasing the work of young climate advocates, which were important in nurturing a sense of responsibility and activism among the youth.


Vinay Karthik with a group of people from COP28

Vinay gathers with members of the YOUNGO Communications Team and other COP28 attendees.


Reflecting on the outcomes of COP28, Vinay acknowledges both successes and challenges. Positive steps, such as the operationalization of a global loss and damage fund and an international agreement on a just transition from fossil fuels, signal progress. However, he notes with concern the increasing presence of fossil fuel lobbyists, indicating the complexities inherent in climate negotiations.


Vinay’s motivation for climate advocacy stems from personal experiences. Having been a victim of the Chennai floods and Hurricane Sandy, he has witnessed the direct impacts of climate change. This firsthand experience propels him towards evidence-based climate research and policy advocacy, with a focus on making a meaningful impact on communities.


Looking ahead, Vinay’s aspirations extend beyond COP28. His interest in pursuing environmental engineering in college aligns with a vision to merge technology and communications with climate advocacy. While his long-term goals remain fluid, Vinay is unwavering in his commitment to making climate advocacy a central part of his future endeavors.


Karthik’s journey unfolds as a compelling narrative of a young climate advocate navigating the complex landscape of COP28. His experiences, insights, and unwavering commitment serve as an inspiration for the youth and underscore the crucial role they play in the ongoing global movement for climate action. As we navigate the challenges posed by climate change, individuals like Vinay emerge as catalysts for change, bridging the gap between awareness and action.


Veda Ganesan is a sophomore at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas. She is a co-leader of the National Communications and Social Media team of the NYAT and piloted the “The CCL Youth Corner” segment in Citizens’ Climate Radio. Veda is also co-founder of a youth climate advocacy group and is producer/host of her green investing podcast, Sustainable Cents.

Vinay Karthik is a junior at the Wardlaw + Hartridge school. He is the Communications Team Lead at CCL National Youth Action Team and helps develop and optimize the youth climate website, blog, and Instagram account. As part of the CCL Edison chapter, he has published op-eds in newspapers, been a part of multiple grassroots advocacy events, and lobbied his local congressmen. Outside of CCL, he is an independent AI & Climate Researcher, a FXB Climate Advocate Ambassador, and a member of the Global Coordination Team at YOUNGO, the United Nations youth constituency of the UNFCCC.