If the world is to achieve its aim of net zero by 2050, children born today will have to emit 10 times less carbon throughout their lifetimes than their grandparents did.
That’s according to new research from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which has delved into what this big target would mean for the average kid.
From a wider perspective, the IEA has stated renewables capacity must quadruple by 2030 and world energy intensity must improve by 4% each year for net zero to be a reality.
But on a more local scale, this means the youngsters of today will have to conduct themselves very differently when compared with those born in the 1950s and before.
The study reveals that the average person born in the 1950s will emit 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide on average during the course of their lifetime but this number can only reach 34 tonnes for babies born in the 2020s to keep the net zero dream alive.
Regions that have historically had higher emissions, such as North America and Europe, will need to exhibit larger generational reductions than countries such as India – where per capita emissions have been much lower.
The researchers claim that the lifetime carbon footprints of Americans and Europeans born in the 1950s will be as much as 15 times higher than their descendants born in the 2020s in a scenario where net zero is achieve by 2050.
The report concludes that it’s the younger generation that climate change will impact the most and this has led to the most action coming from them.
It states: “Younger generations have the most at stake and they also have the most to gain from successful energy transitions.
“Including the voices of young people in decision-making processes is essential to ensure that today’s policies adequately address their needs.
“To achieve meaningful intergenerational dialogue, countries and companies need to scale up financial and administrative support for youth participation in climate planning, decision-making and action at all levels.”