Friday, 16 July 2010

New Beginnings

DECC Youth Advisory Panel has kicked off and is ready to make a storm!

Luke and I, through our attendance of UNICEF Children's Climate Forum in Copenhagen last December and our subsequent role as Climate Ambassadors, have been given the amazing opportunity to join the Department of Energy and Climate Change Youth Advisory Panel. The panel is made up of a group of young people, all representing their respective organisations - including Oxfam, People and Planet and the UK Youth Parliament. The role of the Youth Panel is to advise and play an active role in DECC, based on the thoughts and proposals of the youth community, whilst also relaying information from DECC out to the wider youth communities.

First set up by Ed Miliband and his team, the Youth Advisory Panel has now received the support of the new Government, in particular, Charles Hendry, a Minister of State for Energy who we met at this week's meeting. Excluding the fact that we were stuck in a stuffy dungeon of Whitehall, the meeting was really exciting and I cannot wait to get stuck into the work that we have planned for the next few months.

DECC have been busy developing a '2050 Pathways Calculator', which is a tool for calculating what needs to be done on both the demand and supply side of energy in order to reach the 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2050. The idea of the calculator is to develop 'energy pathways' that the UK economy could take; highlighting the choices we will have to make in the next few years.

Hopefully, the calculator will make all the statistics and targets surrounding climate change more understandable and give people a picture of what a low carbon economy will look like - both the benefits and sacrifices that we will have to make. The Youth Panel will be the first group to use the calculator and we are to compile an 'energy pathway to 2050' report, which will be published just before COP16 in Cancun, Mexico this December.

In the next few months we will be taking a number of site visits to relevant and important energy suppliers and energy plants where we can interview the workers and members of the local community. We will be trying to find out how viable each 'pathway' is, and also how it will affect our lives and the values that people hold. By posting regular video and written blogs, we hope young people (and not just the eco-warriors!) will follow our progress and participate in this massive public debate which will shape our future.

In my opinion, the DECC Youth Advisory Panel marks a huge step in decision-making history. For the first time, young people will have a recognised platform to voice their ideas, opinions and concerns. And it's about time too! It is our generation who will have to face the consequences of climate change and enforce the decisions that are made today, so we should shout out, be loud and get heard!

Follow our progress at

Katie x