OPINION

Why this teen is running for energy company board

Why this teen is running for energy company board

As a young person in my first year of uni, you probably think I should focus on studying, right? Yeah, me too.

Turns out, I'm preparing to run for directorship at AGL - Australia's largest energy company and Australia's largest climate polluter.

Why, you wonder? The recent UN IPCC report was another slap to the face for my generation and those to come. Its dire warnings, which only worsen with each iteration of the report, are threatening our future.

Climate scientists have warned, for decades, that we face a future dominated by floods, fires and droughts unless we rapidly reduce carbon emissions.

The UN Secretary-General, the International Energy Agency - everyone - is warning us that if we want a chance at a safe future, we must phase out burning coal by 2030.

Burning coal is the biggest contributor to climate change, and it forms the bulk of AGL's energy generation. Despite all this, AGL refuses to budge.

In fact, it plans to keep burning coal even up to 2048. This is unacceptable; we can't let it continue like this.

So, I'm taking matters into my own hands; I'm running as a director for Australia's largest energy company.

If AGL's leaders refuse to address reality and make the switch to renewable energy, it needs new leaders - and as an 18-year-old who cares about the future, I'm fit for the job. Know that what AGL does matters.

It powers millions of homes, the most of any supplier in Australia.

Yet last month, it admitted it isn't in a position to meet the Paris Agreement's emission reduction targets. We need to get our emissions under control, so AGL needs to get it together.

We've seen it: it's costing it and its investors.

AGL lost $2 billion over the past financial year, and it's a sign of times to come. It refuses to switch to renewables, and it is stabbing it in the back.

If only, instead of hiding its coal burning behind ads with cool wind turbines, AGL committed to a genuine transition to renewables, it could be the green energy powerhouse Australia so desperately needs.

That's why I've become an AGL shareholder and nominated myself to join the board of directors.

By becoming a provider of 100 per cent renewable energy, AGL could not only protect Australia's future but its own future, too.

AGL's leaders are ignoring climate science, failing to read the market, costing shareholders and all Australians.

If they won't see sense, it's time for someone - me - to do a better job.

Ashjayeen Sharif, 18, is a university student from Victoria who is running for the board of directors at AGL.

This story Why this teen is running for energy company board first appeared on The Canberra Times.