Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

Scotland’s Young Leaders invited to UN Climate Summit in Paris

COP21 - make it work

A group of ‘Young Leaders’ from Scotland have been invited by the United Nations to contribute to the United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Paris in December this year.

The 2050 Climate Group, Scotland’s youth climate group, is a collection of young professionals across Scotland who all share a commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation and accelerating Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy.  The 2050 Climate Group aims to lead a social movement by engaging, educating and empowering Scotland’s future leaders to take action on climate change.

Representatives from the group will run a session on ‘Educating, Engaging & Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders on Climate Action’ at the UN conference in December. The group will discuss their recently launched Young Leaders Development Programme at the UN conference, emphasizing the key role that young people play in mainstreaming action on climate change, and demonstrating how other countries can allow young people to be the architecture of the future.

Chris McGinnis, Chair of the 2050 Climate Group, said: “We are delighted to be invited by the UN to present our vision, our work and our model for future action on climate change and leadership to the international community in Paris.  This is an incredible opportunity for 2050, but also gives our group a platform to highlight the ambition, vision, and ability of young people.”

The conference in December is crucial because it seeks to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The 2050 Climate Group will launch their Young Leaders Development Programme at the end of October.  This programme is the first step towards achieving their mission of educating, engaging and empowering young people to lead the transition to a low carbon Scotland.  The programme is supported by key partners Scottish Water, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, ScottishPower and the Scottish Government.

Young Scot acts as a host for the 2050 Climate Group and, along with the 2020 Climate Group, has been instrumental in the founding of the group by recruiting and supporting a group of young people to be leaders in climate change.  The young people are now developing a business plan on their own initiative and are in the process of applying for further funding to action their next steps towards challenging climate change.

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot and Vice Chair of the 2020 Climate Group,  said: “As one of the founding supporters of the 2050 Group, everyone here at Young Scot is incredibly proud they will be part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. This is solely down to the group’s hard work, determination and passion for making sure that climate change is right at the top of the agenda.

“Despite only being together for just over a year, the 2050 Group are already making their mark in Scotland with environmental issues right at the core of their thinking. These future leaders are leading the charge for real climate change action, positively influencing Scotland towards a low carbon country.”

Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: “‎Engaging and empowering the next generation of leaders will be fundamental to Scotland making the transition to a low carbon future. The 2050 Climate Group’s Young Leaders Development Programme will provide the opportunity for 100 Young Leaders to develop their awareness of climate change and leadership skills; providing a platform for them to play a key role designing Scotland’s future. The 2050 Climate Group’s leadership over the past 12 months has earned them recognition at the highest level, being invited to tell their story and vision to an international audience at the Convention of Parties in Paris. We are delighted to announce that we will be a core supporter of the Young Leaders Development Programme and hope to join them in Paris in December.”

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA, said: “Tackling climate change needs visionary leaders with the drive to make things happen. In Scotland’s 2050 Climate Group, we have such a group of young leaders. We knew it. And now the UN knows it. As the world looks to Paris for true leadership, we can be confident that this group of young Scots will lead their event with real vision and drive.”

Douglas Millican, CEO of Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water is delighted that the 2050 Climate Group has been invited by the United Nations to present on their work thus far.  It is a testament to their vision and determination.  We are very pleased to be supporting their Young Leaders Development Programme and look forward to future collaborations, working towards a low carbon Scotland with young leaders at the heart of this transition.”

For more information about the 2050 Climate Group visit

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