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Youth Declaration 2007 - Rome Congress Youth Programme

Future Energy Leaders Community

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of our fellow Youth delegates, we are delighted and thankful to the World Energy Council for having given us the opportunity to be here. It is an occasion that carries an equal amount of honor and responsibility.

An honor because we are representing more than 200 delegates participating in the Youth Programme of the 20th World Energy Congress who have worked extremely hard on this.

A responsibility, because we must accurately express not only their concerns, but those of all the young people in the world regarding the global challenges of providing secure and affordable supply of energy to all people in the world, in a sustainable manner.

Yes it is true, we live in an interdependent world. A world, where the fluttering of butterfly's wings does awake the wind and where lion's steps do create dunes on the horizon. Where a stone thrown in the water can become high waves on the other end of the globe.

But this interdependence cannot awake only positive connotations.

We perceive that we live in a world of contradictions where the effects of climate change are already being felt worldwide.

But progress needs to be made to tackle this potentially catastrophic process, where the same energy that provides the well-being of billions of people, has been the main reason behind an increasing amount of political confrontations and destructive wars; where energy is being wasted and used inefficiently by some, while others have simply no access to it at all.

Energy is not the enemy, energy is the key to the economic and social development of all people in the world.

Having all that in mind, we will introduce a roadmap of  actions involving all major stakeholders - International organizations, Governments, Energy companies, local communities and us as individuals.

In our opinion, the key of all solutions relies on the development of a new energy culture, based on the responsibility for the future of energy, shared by each of us, and on the understanding that energy is not a weapon, but a tool for global development.

In order to visualize such an energy revolution, we can consider five main drivers.

Firstly, better utilization of fossil fuels, also reducing their environmental impact.

A key responsibility for this falls on energy companies who are asked to invest further in research and development on oil and gas recovery maximisation and carbon emission reduction and to enhance the production of the cleanest available fossil fuel, natural gas, through innovative transport technologies and flaring reduction.

These actions also require active support from governments through selective funding of the best research and development projects, and the introduction of incentives and policies to encourage investment.

The second important driver is development of alternative energy sources on a global scale.

This field also requires research and investment, but significant effort needs to be made by international organisations to set targets for increasing the share of alternative energy sources, tailored for each areas' capabilities.

We would also recommend the expansion of carbon emission trading systems to reward companies and governments taking appropriate actions.

The third driver is raising energy efficiency.

Here the cultural change we are considering really involves individuals and their responsibility in adopting a new lifestyle where waste is minimised and efficiency is king.

There are many options to realize it without reducing quality of life. For example, by using high-efficiency water heaters and compact fluorescent lighting, avoiding standby power consumption as well as the use of electricity during peak times, and driving fuel-efficient cars.

The challenge for governments is to create the right framework for companies and individuals through the introduction of incentives for efficiency measures and promotion of energy savings as a powerful tool against climate change.

The next driver is technology and knowledge transfer and higher investment in developing countries.

Governments of developed countries should support the transfer of modern technologies in order to bring economic and environmental benefits worldwide.

At the same time, governments of developing countries should provide the right regulatory framework and ensure transparency to encourage investment.

As for companies, they have a responsibility to consider long term local benefits and knowledge development in the countries they are investing in.

Lastly, higher political commitment on energy issues.

International organisations and governments are crucial for this to be achieved. The former should promote standardised energy policies, for example on emission reductions and fuel qualities, and must work with governments to ensure participation. Moreover, they should cooperate with each other on raising public awareness on energy issues and ensuring maximum transparency around energy investments worldwide.

A final question remains: "When should we start to carry on all these actions?"

The time is "now."

Our first action, as future leaders in the energy field, is urging WEC to establish an on-going Youth community that will become part of its global network.

This network would reach beyond the Youth Programme, and fortify an ongoing collaboration, unifying young professionals around the world, also giving them an opportunity to participate in special education and internship programs.

We would also like to propose to the World Energy Council to broaden its objectives, currently stated in the 3 A's: Accessibility, Availability and Acceptability.

They focus mostly on defining how the supply of energy should be, but do not ensure the responsibility that consumers and producers have. Thus, an additional A is needed: Accountability.

All parties involved, both in the supply and demand side of energy, should be responsible and held accountable for their actions.

The future we envision is possible. It is in our hands, let us all be the change we want to see in the world.