Young activists hailed for pushing climate to the top of global agenda
Share article:
Share article:

Young activists hailed for pushing climate to the top of global agenda

The young activists who have staged student strikes and mass demonstrations in Belgium and elsewhere have enabled climate change to climb to the top of the agenda in many countries, says climatologist Jean-Pascal van Ypersele.

“When a young person calls a political decision-maker to account on his or her future, it’s much harder to take their views and lock them away in a drawer,” the former vice president of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, said at the UN climate conference, COP25, which ended on Friday in Madrid.

“I therefore thank the young people who made it possible to put the issue back at the top of the agenda, and place political decision-makers and economic actors before their responsibilities,” added the University of Leuven professor. “I think that has contributed to moving things in the right direction.”

Climatologist Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

There has been no shortage of annual UN climate conferences and many external observers have the impression that nothing, or almost nothing, has been moving. Van Ypersele noted that this was still a “preparatory phase before the Paris Agreement really takes effect”, so “it’s normal for us to be still discussing rules and final details before starting the implementation phase.”

“The timeline for stepping up the ambition level is next year,” he stressed, “but climate does not see these negotiating difficulties. It expects emissions to go down, whereas they are forever increasing and that is evidently a concern.”

Van Ypersele said he was still interested in returning to the IPCC, where he made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2015.

His candidature for the IPCC presidency “still has to be made official by the Belgian Government,” he said, “but I am ready to be a candidate. The election is supposed to be held in about two years. I don’t know who the other candidates will be, but I think I could do useful work right now in the IPCC management team.”


The Brussels Times

Latest news

€220 million: Largest ever lottery prize in Europe won in France
A record-breaking €220 million Euromillions jackpot was won on Friday by a player in France, the French gaming authority (FDJ) has announced. The ...
Antwerp exhibition shows first photos after city bombed in 1944
An open-air exhibition in Antwerp will show off never before seen photos as part of a commemoration of the first V-bomb to hit the city, 77 years ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Asylum centre in Brussels goes on strike on Monday
A 24-hour strike will take place on Monday at the Petit Château center for asylum seekers in Brussels, De Tijd newspaper reported on Saturday. The ...
European Parliament wants to sue the Commission for delaying rule of law conditionality
In a rare move on Thursday, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted for the Parliament to take the European Commission to court ...
Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...
Hospital food is making you sick, Belgian study shows
Eating hospital meals results in a measurable decline in health, according to a report from the Flemish television network VTM, which paints a ...
Belgium in Brief: Supply Issues
There are few things more jarring than walking into a store and finding that the shelves are empty, be that partially or otherwise. One thing ...