In 2040, we will travel in Europe by train, eat plant-based food locally and our cities will be green. These are just a few points from the Young Climate Agenda 3.0. On Thursday evening, Young Climate Movement presented it to Minister Rob Jetten (Climate). How feasible are the plans?
Seventy youth organizations contributed to the Young Climate Agenda 3.0. These include Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg, JOB MBO, Green Muslims Foundation, JongNS and political youth parties. Together, they say they represent a million young people.
“This agenda is intended as a dot on the horizon,” says Aniek Moonen of the Young Climate Movement. “We need a plan to work towards. The government isn’t getting it, so we’re doing it.”
“This document is nice and important to have,” says Heleen de Coninck. She is professor of innovations and climate change at Eindhoven University of Technology. “It gives direction to where the young people want to go. They are an important voice that is not heard much.”
Travel only by train
One of the plans is that by 2040 we will only travel by train within Europe. “It is no longer allowed to fly on short trips,” says Moonen. “This means we have to invest more in the European train network. The trains have to be better connected and new technologies are needed. Think of a kind of Skyscanner for trains.”
According to De Coninck, it is possible. “But it requires European cooperation. Electric flight can also become something, especially for the short flights.”
More plant-based and local food
Young people also want us to eat more plant-based and local. “By 2040, at least 60 percent of our food must be plant-based,” says Moonen. Dutch farmers must grow more for the Netherlands and less for abroad. According to Moonen, it is also good for the farmers if they get a fair price.
According to De Coninck, this plan can be implemented in this way. “Vegetable food takes up much less space than meat. The only question is whether we can achieve that behavioral change. The entire food market is now about reducing costs, because the consumer would like that. You have to break through that, but you can do it.” including government regulations.”
A different energy system in 2040
In 2040, energy must be produced sustainably, the young people believe. Only if that fails can we fall back on nuclear energy. According to Moonen, experiments are already underway with small nuclear power plants, which generate less waste and utilize the raw materials more efficiently. They can also be built faster than the old power plants, she says.
De Coninck expects that we can do without nuclear energy. “The disadvantage of solar energy and wind energy is that it is not always there. Nuclear energy can absorb that. But a lot is also expected from energy storage, for example in batteries.”
A green city without cars
In addition, the young people hope that the cities will be green and car-free in 2040. “A large part of the city is used for parking lots. That space can also be used for solar panels and more greenery,” says Moonen.
Electric cars remain on the outskirts of the city and are shared. De Coninck: “You could even use the batteries in stationary cars as storage for electricity by connecting them to the electrical system.”
Ambitious, but possible
Young Climate Agenda 3.0 is ambitious, says Moonen. “But all these technologies already exist. We didn’t invent anything ourselves. Within twenty years, much more is possible than we think.” De Coninck also believes that the plans are feasible: “The fact that they have been made makes them feasible. It makes it clear to the young people how great the support is. It is one of the things that is needed for such a large a change. “
She misses one thing in the young climate agenda: “It says a little about how we want to live together in 2040. How do we build bridges between people with different backgrounds, education and income? It is inextricably linked to the cooperation that is necessary to fight climate change.”