On the 28th of July YES-DC organized its third webinar and the first event of the new board. The theme of the night was the Green Deal and our main question was; why should and how can young people be(come) involved in the Green Deal?
We started with two speakers from the DG Energy from the European Commission; Bluebook trainee Robin Verheij and policy advisor Alessia Clocchiatti. They gave us a helicopter perspective on the Green Deal in general and zoomed in on their work that is related to the Green Deal.
The Green Deal is a very broad policy package that consists of many different programs and funds. Of course, there is a lot of attention to move towards a sustainable energy system, but it includes much more than that and will probably influence our lives on many different aspects other than energy, such as food and transportation.
Next to the broader picture, they also showed us some concrete examples of their work. At the beginning of July, they published the system integration strategy and a hydrogen strategy, which both are worth reading. Alessia explicitly mentioned that system integration will be very important to reach the goal of a sustainable, affordable and reliable energy system. Next to that, the Renovation Wave is an important policy that will be launched in Q3 of 2020, as buildings are one of the most polluting sectors in Europe and renovating them will help both in decarbonization as well as creating jobs.
The Green Deal is now part of the Recovery Package that is being created to help Europe recover from the corona crisis. It is hopeful to see that green recovery is recognized as something important and that energy/environment policy is not something to set on hold during a crisis. In the words of Alessia: “ It is becoming clear that the Green Deal is not a luxury we cannot afford but something vital for our existence, as climate change is a thread that will go on for much longer than corona.”
After the talk of Alessia and Robin, there was enough food for thought during the breakout sessions. The downside of webinars is that we miss having good conversations with a drink after or during the events, but we have also noticed that quite some international people are joining the webinars. This can lead to interesting conversations, for example with someone from the US who was amazed to see how well things seem to be organized in Europe, while he is weary on how this could ever happen in the US. An interesting perspective.
After the breakout rooms, we continued with two other speakers that focused on how youth involvement in the Green Deal could be enforced. Fons Janssen gave us an overview of how youth involvement in climate policy has grown in the Netherlands over the years. Then he continued by telling more about his initiative for a ‘Green Deal for Youth’ that strives to let the opinions of young people be part of the policymaking of the Green Deal. The organization is active in multiple countries and also tries to connect people from different parts of Europe. Finally, Cristiane Marchitelli closed the night by giving us some more information about EYEN, the European Youth Energy Network that tries to connect youth organizations in different European countries.
All in all, it was a fruitful night that left me with the feeling that there are many challenges ahead of us, but also many enthusiastic, energetic, skilled and motivated people to help us get there. As YES-DC we hope to be able to contribute in the best way we can to this. And for that, we, of course, need you! So, see you at our next event on energy transition in developing countries!