Global Youth

Energy Outlook


Student Energy

We need to transform the global energy system this decade to address the climate crisis.

Young people are ready to make this transition happen.


The majority of youth respondents want their country to reach net zero emissions by 2030.

While more and more countries set net zero targets for 2050 or 2100, it is clear their youth want their countries to decarbonize faster with immediate action to bend the curve on emissions.

Young people believe governments are most responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that they play the most important role in the energy transition in the lead up to 2030.

5 (Least Responsible)
1 (Most Responsible)
5 (Least Important)
1 (Most Important)

As a global average, young people identified government willpower, policies, and regulations as the biggest barrier in achieving the sustainable energy transition in their country.

Government willpower, policies, and regulations
Economic conditions
Current energy industry
Public or community support
Lack of research, data, or evidence to justify the transition
Available technology
Grid inflexibility (inability to change the current electrical grid)

Do youth believe their country or territory's government is investing enough in fighting climate change?

As a global average, 50% of youth believe their country has not invested enough.

We need to invest more
I am satisfied with the investment
We have not invested at all
We have already invested too much
I do not want my country or territory to invest in fighting climate change

How do youth want to fund the transition to net zero carbon emissions in their own countries?

Implementing a tax on the production of emissions, with companies that produce emissions paying this tax, was the top chosen response across all 10 regions.

Tax the production of emissions (companies that produce emissions pay this tax)
Tax the production of energy (energy companies pay this tax)
Tax the consumption of energy (any individual, business, or organization who uses energy pays this tax)
I do not support funding a transition to net zero carbon emissions

There were some regions where this response was more strongly endorsed than others. For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, this was the top choice for over 55% of respondents.

What do youth think are the most meaningful ways that business can effectively take action on the sustainable energy transition?

Globally, young people identified that business and industry should demonstrate leadership in decarbonization by:

  • 1. Lobbying governments on decarbonization
  • 2. Create policies to reduce company emissions
  • 3. Commit to becoming carbon neutral or carbon negative
  • 4. Invest in research and development for new technologies
  • 5. Use renewable electricity to power operations
  • 6. Increase energy efficiency through building renovations, construction of sustainable infrastructure, and vehicle updates
  • 7. Sustainable procurement (sourcing) of physical goods
  • 8. Create company policies for energy conservation

Student Energy partnered with LeadIT to better understand the role and priorities of young people working with industry, governments, and the private sector, in a special report on “Youth Recommendations for the Heavy Industry Transition”. This is critical to our ability to limit carbon emissions by 2050 and leverage public support and innovation to decarbonize industry. Student Energy and LeadIT are advancing youth engagement through a variety of research and communication activities, such as regional dialogues focused on industry-transition and intergenerational podcasts.

Report Highlights

Investing in upskilling and transition skills programmes should be prioritized to sustain strong and broad support from public groups, including youth

There is a need to develop targeted financial programmes that prioritize youth initiatives

Public-private partnerships must improve international cooperation that facilitates research and data collection that demonstrates and legitimizes young people’s effectiveness in the industry transition

Governments must develop robust programmes that create employment options for marginalized youth and other vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and high emissions

Read the Full Report Here

Survey Question

Are youth concerned about the pollution and emissions caused by the current global energy system?

Very Concerned
Moderately Concerned
Somewhat Unconcerned

At a regional level, young people from developing and emerging economies expressed higher levels of concern than those in higher income, developed regions, though there is likely to be some variability when the data is analyzed country by country.

Regions where more youth chose 'very concerned' include Latin America (89%), Southeast Asia and the Pacific (89%), Sub-saharan Africa (83%), and the Indian Subcontinent (76%), and regions where fewer youth chose 'very concerned' include Europe (65%) and North America (67%).

What Are Youth
Willing to Do?

Young people intend for their future cars to be electric. 80% of youth who will buy a car, want it to be electric.

Most youth encourage governments to take drastic actions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.


Said Yes

In local and national elections around the world, recent years have shown that climate change has become a critical issue for young voters.


Would vote for a political candidate or party based on their position on creating a sustainable energy system in their country.

Young people see a path forward - over a third of youth agreed that there are meaningful opportunities to work with policy makers and/or business leaders to participate in the transition. There is a clear need for decision-makers in both government and business to engage with youth and create more meaningful opportunities for youth participation, as fewer youth felt their perspectives were valued by policy makers and business.

There are meaningful opportunities for youth to work on sustainable energy issues directly with businesses in my country or territory
There are meaningful opportunities for youth to work on sustainable energy issues directly with policymakers in my country or territory
Youth perspectives and opinions on sustainable energy are valued by businesses in my country or territory
Youth perspectives and opinions on sustainable energy are valued by policymakers in my country or territory
None of the above
Governments should take advantage of young people's commitment to, and innovation for, climate action by introducing local and national entities of youth representation that will formally include young people in the decision making process for climate and energy policy.
~(Global Covenant of Mayors Policy Innovation Team at Innovate4Cities presentation)

Youth were asked if any of the following groups had ever asked them to provide their thoughts and opinions on energy.

A government in your country or territory
A company in your country or territory's energy industry
A non-governmental or charity organization in your country or territory
None of the above

Over 6000 youth opted in to complete a longer version of the survey with an additional 32 questions. Of those who did, less than half indicated that they are currently engaged in an education program or job related to the energy sector – but over 1000 of those who are currently not in a relevant path want to work or volunteer in the energy sector.

Survey Question

Are you currently in an educational program or job related to the energy sector?


Survey Question

Do you plan to pursue a job or volunteer within the energy sector?