The Citizens’ Dialogue “A Pact for People and Planet: Talking Climate Action” took place on 26 February between Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and more than 60 young people connected via Zoom in Spain. The debate was part of a series of Citizens’ Dialogues that discuss how everyone can participate in building a greener Europe as part of the European Climate Pact.
The Pact, launched by the European Commission last December, aims at encouraging citizens, businesses and other stakeholders to join forces in the fight against climate change. One of its objectives is actually to debate and exchange ideas, and that is exactly what EVP Timmermans and representatives of various youth associations, citizens and Climate Pact Ambassadors across Spain did.
Participants were actively asking questions about the energy mix that will allow Europe to achieve its climate neutrality objectives, the economic impact and opportunities of the Green Deal, its interaction with other sectors such as agriculture, and how the EU can use its ‘green diplomacy’.
Questions touched on the role of alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen or nuclear, in the implementation of the EU climate objectives. On the economy, one participant wanted to know if the new green economy would promote quality jobs for young people. The impact of the Next Generation EU funds on a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, and the support to SMEs to adapt to the circular economy were other questions raised during the debate.
Participants also asked about EU support for the farming communities and a sustainable agriculture that tackles de problems of deruralisation.
Several participants showed interest in how the EU can lead by example on climate policy in the world, and whether it will apply sanctions when trading with countries that do not comply with climate agreements.
The opportunities of the New European Bauhaus project for a sustainable future, the environmental cost of ‘fast fashion’ and the use of micro-plastics in cosmetics were some of the other topics addressed by participants in a very dynamic and lively discussion.