Student Energy at COP25: On A Mission to Champion Youth Leadership on Energy
By Shakti Ramkumar
December 2nd marks the start of COP 25, led by the Chilean Presidency, but held in Madrid, Spain. Student Energy has 4 team members on the ground this year, and we are closely following the negotiations, while advocating for meaningful youth inclusion and youth-led energy solutions to play a central role in countries’ efforts to tackle the climate crisis. The last-minute change in venue from Chile to Madrid has also left many young people unable to attend, so Student Energy is even more committed to amplify the youth voice at this year’s conference.
Our Mission at COP 25: Set the Stage for Youth-Led Solutions
- Amplify the youth voice, and highlight young people’s leadership in transforming the energy system.
- Put the wheels in motion for an unprecedented level of global youth leadership and intergenerational collaboration at next year’s critical COP26.
- Communicate progress on countries’ and non-state actors’ goals to decarbonize their energy systems, and their efforts to involve youth in that process.
- Advocate for stronger leadership from government and industry decision-makers in the energy sector to implement energy solutions that are just, equitable, in partnership with young people.
CONTEXT FOR COP 25
The world is not on track. But there is a crucial window of opportunity.
Throughout 2019, we’ve seen (and been a part of) the rapidly growing global youth movement calling for stronger climate action. Young people are not only sounding the alarm on the climate crisis, they are ready and driven to implement cross-cutting solutions to address the challenge at the pace it requires.
So it is all the more frustrating that as a global society, we are not yet on track to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to keep global heating to below 1.5C. The latest Emissions Gap report paints a devastating picture of where we are and where we’re going — toward a 3.2 degree warmer world if we don’t accelerate action now. UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierres noted today that we are set to produce more fossil fuels than is consistent with a 1.5 degree pathway.
How can we change course?
“COUNTRIES MUST INCREASE THEIR NDC AMBITIONS THREEFOLD TO ACHIEVE THE WELL BELOW 2°C GOAL AND MORE THAN FIVEFOLD TO ACHIEVE THE 1.5°C GOAL.”
(Emissions Gap Report 2019)
Next year, COP 26, will mark five years since the signing of the Paris Agreement, and parties will be expected to strengthen their NDCs, or Nationally Determined Contributions, which are the tangible efforts put forward by countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. In order to bend the emissions curve downward, countries will need to drastically strengthen their NDCs, particularly in regards to transforming their energy systems. And we know this can’t be done without the active and meaningful engagement of young people around the world.
About Student Energy
Student Energy is on a mission to empower young people around the world to accelerate the sustainable energy transition, by building the important skills young people to take action, while mobilizing resources to support youth-led energy solutions. Our global network of 50,000 young people come from 150 countries, from all academic and professional backgrounds, with a shared goal to create their sustainable energy future.