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Global Youth Climate Inquiry findings launched at COP26

Posted on 9 November 2021

In partnership with One Young World and the Democracy and Culture Foundation, Mishcon de Reya launched the findings of the Global Youth Climate Inquiry at the Extreme Youth Hangout at COP26.

The Inquiry focused on the impact that climate change is having on young people and their communities globally, the extent to which young people are able to make their views heard to local, national and international decision-makers, and to hold these decision makers accountable, and how to craft local, national and global initiatives that successfully engage young people in efforts to tackle climate change.

The Inquiry ran a call for evidence in September 2021, collecting written submissions on the impact of climate change on contributors personally, as well as their peers and community. It also invited young people to reflect on the extent to which they were able to influence decision-makers and on the sustainable initiatives they deemed to be the most successful in engaging their generation in tackling climate change.

The Inquiry also held two roundtable panel events in October 2021. Fourteen contributors gave evidence, with expert panellists challenging the contributors on their testimony. The panellists were interested in establishing how representative the contributors’ evidence truly was, what viable options for climate mitigation and adaptation look like and the key features of successful climate change initiatives.

The Inquiry found that:

  • An increasing number of young people are suffering from climate anxiety. Contributors described the paralytic effect that this can have and how a sense of hopelessness breeds inertia.
  • Young people from all geographies are being impacted by serious physical and social impacts from climate change.
  • Climate change is experienced unequally, depending on socio-economic background, gender and physical location. Contributors spoke of the differing experiences of the Global North and the Global South, together with the frustration that the Global South has been excluded from the dialogue about climate change. This was mirrored by concern that an English-language dominated dialogue exacerbates disenfranchisement.
  • Contributors highlighted a disparity in education, and the way in which those most affected by climate change are often the least educated about climate change and opportunities for climate mitigation and adaptation. The lack of access to education and to information appears to be a particularly significant barrier to youth enfranchisement in the climate change debate.

The report summarises findings from the Inquiry, including possible models for future local, national and global youth enfranchisement initiatives. It is hoped this forms the starting point for a broader project promoting youth enfranchisement in climate related decision-making.

Visit the Global Youth Climate Inquiry to explore the findings and the full report.

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