Today marks the beginning of a regular blog column on climate change on the Intergenerational Foundation platform – in response to a request that has been frequently voiced by our younger supporters. IF Junior Researcher Melissa Bui presents the aims of the column and a call for contributions
Since our inception, the Intergenerational Foundation has been working to promote greater intergenerational fairness in the policy-making process. If you were to ask young people what first comes to mind when they hear the term intergenerational injustice today, the most common response you will probably hear is “climate change”.
From our experience, pushing the priorities of the youngest and those yet to be born onto the political agenda is not an easy task in the UK. We therefore welcome the ongoing passionate debates on climate change (including its multifaceted impacts), how it should be addressed and the roles that different actors can serve.
Global warming at highest rate in 2,000 years
As many environmental scientists and campaigners stress, these conversations are long overdue – according to research, the rate of global warming over the past decades is higher than it has ever been over the past 2,000 years.
There is also an almost unanimous agreement in the scientific community that climate change is being driven by human activity. For example, in 2016, a group of scientists estimated the proportion of climate-change scientists in support of this position to be somewhere between 90 and 100%. Although this range is still being challenged today, the consensus is supposedly growing as new research is dispelling alternative theories.
At present, the current discourse in the UK and across Europe more generally is concentrated on what the long-term solutions should look like and how they can be financed sustainably. Widespread, co-ordinated action is required to be able to meet the target which the government has committed to, which is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Here at IF, we are interested in whether the proposed steps are fair from an intergenerational point of view. To offer a few examples: is the burden of climate change and the responsibility to solve it falling disproportionately on younger generations? Are there better ways to redistribute our resources to mitigate this? How should major polluters be held accountable? We hope our platform can offer different perspectives on the answers to such questions.
Spotlight on young people
We are also pleased to witness in the current debate the rising acknowledgment of young people’s voices, which have often been dismissed and compartmentalised in the past.
As studies have shown, younger generations engage in politics in less conventional ways – typically outside institutionalised processes – than older generations have throughout their lifetime. Therefore, another key purpose of this column is to provide a better understanding of young people’s stances on climate change, and the different forms of political participation being adopted – and how they are being received.
But this is not only about the youth – there are also methods through which older generations can be part of the solution, be it through supporting or participating alongside climate activists, reducing their individual carbon footprint, investing sustainably, or other means.
A call for contributions
IF warmly invites contributions from writers who are interested in these aspects of the international discourse on climate change. Although we are open to hearing from people of all ages, we particularly welcome submissions from young writers.
The issues we have raised above illustrate the direction that we envisage for the blog column, but this is by no means intended to be a prescriptive summary. Whatever the topic, if you would like to contribute to our column, please get in touch by contacting [email protected].
Help us to be able to do more
Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, we want to thank you for being interested in IF’s work standing up for younger and future generations. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved so far. And with your help we can do much more, so please consider helping to make IF more sustainable. You can do so by following this link: Donate