Imperial hosted 620 delegates from 100 countries at this year’s International Student Energy Summit.
The Summit, which empowers young people to change the way we use energy to improve our relationship with the climate, meets every second year at a different host university.
The Summit demonstrates the extent to which Imperial students are engaged members of the local, national, and international community. Professor Simone Buitendijk Vice-Provost for Education
It was held this year at Imperial College London, with 30 students from Imperial and other universities making up the committee board. Topics discussed included changing the worldwide energy system to reduce carbon emissions, and the roles young people have in making this happen.
The three-day conference came soon after UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced historic plans to end UK carbon emissions by 2050 at Imperial’s Carbon Capture Plant.
It also immediately followed the London Climate Action Week.
This year’s Summit co-chairs, Jochen Cremer and Geraldine Buisson, are both Imperial PhD students at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, respectively.
Imperial’s Vice-Provost for Education, Professor Simone Buitendijk, who spoke at the Summit, said: “I commend Jochen and Geraldine for organising such an inspiring event. It demonstrates the extent to which Imperial students are engaged members of the local, national, and international community.
“Grappling with one of the key global challenges we all face, our students provide a level of expertise and insight that climate policymakers must take notice of.”
Reaching record levels
Few countries in the world are on track to limit emissions enough to meet the United Nations' 2015 Paris Agreement. However, recent events have piqued public interest, and young people are increasingly leading anti-climate change initiatives.
Public concern about climate change reached record levels this year, following activist Greta Thunberg’s visit to the UK Parliament, worldwide school strikes, and the Extinction Rebellion protests in April.
In addition, thirty people aged 15-24 are set to advise ministers this month on how to meet the 2050 net-zero emissions goal.
Other Imperial departments involved included the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Materials, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as the Grantham Institute, Imperial College Business School, Energy Futures Lab, and Enterprise Lab.
Young people are destroying the barriers that prevent action on climate change. Thus, our theme for this year, Breaking Barriers, was instrumental. Geraldine Buisson Summit co-chair
They were supported by non-profit organisation Student Energy – a global charity based in Canada which arranges initiatives such as the Student Energy Summit specifically for young people to design and implement.
Jochen said: “Changing the energy system at a scale and pace to match climate change will take unprecedented levels of collaboration. The 2019 International Student Energy Summit came at the perfect time – just when the world is starting to take climate concerns more seriously.”
Geraldine said: “Young people are destroying the barriers that prevent action on climate change. Thus, our theme for this year, Breaking Barriers, was instrumental in amplifying young voices and giving them the resources and skills needed to tackle barriers to their activism.”
To find out what you can do to help combat the climate crisis, see 9 things you can do about climate change
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