COP 23 Day 12: Young European Leadership: Millennials, Accepting the Challenge. Braver, Further, Faster.

By Shrina Kurani

These past two weeks have been the ultimate convening of experts and the people in a position of power to put that expert knowledge to work. But today, the Young European Leadership had its first Press Conference at COP23! After two weeks at COP23, we gave an update on what we learned, and rallied our generation to accept the challenge and have the courage to stand up to how things have always been done – and accept failure.

It’s this risky propensity for failure that allows a new generation of climate entrepreneurs to test the limits of every assumption. Climate change at its core is about tipping points – limits to our current condition and the assumptions that come with it. While climate science continues to quantify and assess these limits, solutions continue to operate in the current paradigm of “this is how it’s always been done”. In battling a progressive issue, scientists are conservative in how they problem-solve, and how they communicate. And this is how climate entrepreneurship can take up the mantle – the world around us is not made up of changemakers that were the first to solve a problem for society. They didn’t open the doors to those solutions, but they did close the door behind them. In the world we live in now, accelerating towards injustice, the doors are all open. We’ve been trying so many different solutions, from negative emissions to nature-based, and we need to keep trying – and not be afraid to fail, to change how things have always been done. Because how it’s always been done has gotten us to where we are now – and where we are now is not where we want to be.

YEL delegates to COP23 speak at a Young European Leadership press conference

As YEL has attended COPs since COP21, we aim to increase the impact of YEL going forward. We’re eager to join forces with other organizations from all sectors to work together to discuss solutions that not only Europe, but the entire world faces. As we look towards COP24 and beyond, we ask ourselves and other groups with similar missions, what can we do to be better and make this strong impact?

Climate sociologists and historians wrote a book from the perspective of year 2400, about how we failed. What we need is a perspective from year 2050 that narrates how we succeeded – and the scary future we narrowly avoided. There is a major disconnect in how we communicate climate science, and the juxtaposition is apparent at COP23. It is a convening of the greatest minds with the intention to save the world. They do great work and research, and they’re the world’s climate idols. But they’ve been negotiating for 23 years since the first COP. And in the past 23 years, their work hasn’t quite cut it. Because what it takes, at this point, is to be courageous. Courage to stand up to how things have always been done, courage to take action despite uncertainty. And what we, as Millennials, bring is that courage. This year, the theme of COP23 is “Further, Faster, Together”. Our theme is “Braver, Further, Faster”. Because when you’re all dead, we’re going to have to deal with this.

Shrina Kurani is an impact investor based in San Francisco, supporting entrepreneurs tackling big problems.