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#EP2019: Interview with Monika Skadborg, Danish Youth representative to the UNFCCC

Moni­ka is a Youth Del­e­gate from Den­mark and the chair­per­son of the Youth Cli­mate Coun­cil who gives advice to the Dan­ish min­is­ter of cli­mate and ener­gy. She also works for the Euro­pean Stu­dent Union and is pas­sion­ate about how edu­ca­tion and youth empow­er­ment can help solve the cli­mate crisis.

Where does your inter­est in pol­i­cy, pol­i­tics and espe­cial­ly the elec­tions to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment come from? What is your main moti­va­tion to engage yourself? 

Moni­ka: I got involved in “polit­i­cal” work in high school where I was a part of a small NGO col­lect­ing mon­ey for edu­ca­tion projects in devel­op­ing coun­tries, and joined an ini­tia­tive work­ing for more glob­al cit­i­zen­ship in edu­ca­tion. This shaped my inter­na­tion­al out­look and got me inter­est­ed in how edu­ca­tion and inter­na­tion­al col­lab­o­ra­tion can be the answers to many of the main glob­al chal­lenges the World is fac­ing, espe­cial­ly cli­mate change and envi­ron­men­tal destruc­tion. When I learned how few young peo­ple actu­al­ly vote for Euro­pean elec­tions, I was puz­zled, and I still am, why we do not use our pow­er to shape Europe in a direc­tion that bet­ter responds to the needs of young peo­ple and future generations. 

What are your con­crete sug­ges­tions regard­ing cli­mate change pol­i­cy at EU lev­el towards can­di­dates to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment? What would a can­di­date need to promise you to make you vote for her/his par­ty?

Moni­ka: The EU as a rich region with a high car­bon foot­print has a respon­si­bil­i­ty to take more, and faster, action on mit­i­ga­tion. I believe we should set ear­li­er goals for when to become cli­mate-neu­tral, we should cal­cu­late the cli­mate impact of all polit­i­cal deci­sions, and we should tar­get more of the EU bud­get to effec­tive cli­mate action.

What are the “hot” top­ics regard­ing cli­mate change in your coun­try? How do they poten­tial­ly affect the upcom­ing Elections? 

Moni­ka: One of the “hottest” debates is how to improve the cli­mate law to make it stronger, more bind­ing, and more action-ori­ent­ed. This is a top­ic that is high­ly debat­ed in con­nec­tion with our upcom­ing nation­al elec­tion, and some par­ties are tak­ing ele­ments from the pro­posed new cli­mate law and inte­grat­ing them in their EU pol­i­cy. This is for exam­ple the pro­pos­al of start­ing to cal­cu­late the cli­mate impact of all polit­i­cal proposals. 

What should young peo­ple keep in mind while mak­ing their deci­sion in the elec­tion to the Euro­pean Parliament? 

Moni­ka: Keep in mind that cli­mate change makes every oth­er issue you might care about worse. It impacts our secu­ri­ty, it leads to more refugees, it impacts our health, and it wors­ens the sit­u­a­tion for women, peo­ple of col­or, peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty, and oth­er mar­gin­alised groups. Not pri­ori­tis­ing tack­ling cli­mate change leaves a huge bill for the next gen­er­a­tion so please vote for some­one who takes this prob­lem seriously.

In your opin­ion, is giv­ing a vote enough?

Moni­ka: No. Giv­ing a vote is impor­tant but we need more. Take action in your every­day life. Edu­cate your peers. Talk to your grand­par­ents about the urgency of cli­mate change. Join cli­mate strikes or oth­er cam­paigns. Write an angry let­ter to a news­pa­per. Every action counts and if we all do it, we can real­ly change the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion and get this prob­lem solved. 

Thank you for the interview!

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