On 31 October ACES organised the symposium “Discussing Climate Change with Future Generations”. Climate change is heating up Earth’s atmosphere as well as disputes about how to best respond to this global challenge. “Future generations” are increasingly making themselves heard in the European debate.
The rise of the young and future generations poses communicative and legal questions about which claims can be brought by and against whom, and on whose behalf. Academics from Law (Laura Burgers) and Communication Sciences (Robin Tschötschel, Sabine Niederer and Anke Wonneberger) and representatives from NGOs (Dennis van Berkel from Urgenda, Sven Jense from Climate Clean Up and Sophie Howe, Commissioner for Future Generations of Wales) discussed societal change and its impact on Climate Change policies. Who self-identify as future generations and who claims to speak for them in political, legal, and public fora in Europe?
Before the start of the first panel journalist Jan van de Venis introduced the topic of future generations to the audience and placed an empty chair at the front of the room - the chair of the future generations. During the day the discussions focussed on two topics: the desirability of a legal status for the future generations and the ways in which the debate on climate change is, or should be, influenced by the young and future generations.
The symposium brought together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, practitioners and students. It was the first try out of a new concept by ACES to connect more academic researchers with practicioners and students.