Demands from young people at COP27: Fossil-free EU by 2030

Several Nordic and global youth representatives who followed the negotiations closely are relieved that the controversial issue of “loss and damage” was prioritised during the climate summit in Egypt. 

The issue relates to the creation of a mechanism that addresses climate damage which cannot be prevented through climate adaptation. A number of poor countries claim that rich countries are liable for these damages. Although the issue has not been resolved, it received a lot of attention during COP27.
 

The energy crisis could have been an opportunity

“Finally, the issue of ‘loss and damage’ was pushed up the agenda. The climate summit has also acknowledged the gap between emission trends and what’s required to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, and that’s a good development. However, it’s unclear how the gap will be closed,” says Finnur Ricart, a youth delegate from Iceland.

 

Matilde Angeltveit, a youth delegate from Norway, is also relieved that the war of aggression against Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis did not paralyse the negotiations. 

Nevertheless, it was not translated into an opportunity to move forwards with the phasing out of fossil fuels, either. 

Joint demands from European youth organisations

Matilde noted with disappointment that fossil fuels won’t be mentioned in the final document from COP27 this year. 

During last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, while coal was mentioned in the overall agreement, no other fossil fuels were. 

During the final day of the summit, a large number of youth organisations from the Nordic Region and Europe agreed on a demand directed at the EU for a rapid and complete phasing out of fossil fuels in all EU Member States in order to achieve the 1.5-degree target stated in the Paris Agreement. 

They demand that all European leaders to commit to ending the use of fossil fuels completely by 2030. 

Young people have slept on the floor

For a number of years, youth movements around the world have been pushing for political leaders to take the climate crisis seriously.

Serena Bashal from the UK Youth Climate Coalition said that the climate summit has become much more receptive to young people’s demands now than a few years ago. 

However, it’s still difficult in practical terms for young people to participate in the climate negotiations. 

“It’s unbelievably expensive to participate in the summits. While many young people have travelled here, they’ve slept on the floor and been unable afford lunch,” says Serena.

Establish national youth climate councils

Matilde Angeltveit and Finnur Ricart realise that, as youth delegates, they’re privileged and are in a position to exert their influence. 

“It varies hugely from country to country. It’s also vital that young people participate as observers with the opportunity to exert pressure as activists during the negotiations,” says Matilde. 

According to Finnur, now’s the time for young people to be empowered on equal terms in relation to national-level climate policy.   

“Lower the voting age to 16 and establish youth climate councils which governments will have to consult with on climate issues,” says Finnur.