Two of the English climate change champions will today join Environment
Minister Ian Pearson to speak at a major youth summit on climate
Lucy Stansfield, climate change champion for the South West and
Carri Swann, representing the East Midlands, will speak alongside
Mr Pearson at the four-day Summit, being held at the Natural History
Museum. The champions will also meet seven Chinese environment
ambassadors, who are attending the Summit.
Mr Pearson said it was important for the UK to help build an international
consensus to draw up a long-term goal to stabilise emissions that
caused climate change. He added that it was vital that all countries – including
the US, China and India – also agreed to an international
framework of action to move to a global low-carbon economy.
During his speech, Mr Pearson highlighted the future impacts rising
temperatures caused by climate change would have on the world.
- Coastal wetlands threatened by sea level rises
- Coral reefs damaged by rising ocean temperatures
- Large effects on biodiversity, such as polar bears and
- Millions of people at risk from increased coastal flooding
- Pressure on food and water resources
- Changes in distribution of insect-borne diseases, such
- Poorest countries being hit hardest by climate changes
with Africa likely to lose four per cent of GDP for each 1C rise.
Mr Pearson said the UK was determined to meet both its Kyoto and domestic
climate change targets. The UK is currently on track to almost double
its 12.5 per cent Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gas levels by 2008-2012
from 1990 levels.
“This week's Energy Review announcement will help us substantially
in our long-term domestic goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by
some 60 per cent from current levels by 2050.
“But we need everyone to play their part. Our new Climate Change
Communications Initiative is designed to change public attitudes towards
climate change, at grass-roots, local and regional levels and I am delighted
that the Natural History Museum and the British Council have come together
to hold this vital young people's Summit on climate change. Together
this generation will tackle climate change,” he added.
Mr Pearson highlighted the role of the nine English climate change champions,
who later this month, will travel by train to Switzerland to see at first
hand the effects of climate change on Swiss glaciers.
Ms Stansfield, who produced a climate change video as her entry to the
Climate Change Champions competition, said that unless action was taken
now, the world would look a very different place.
She said that too many young people felt that climate change was still
years away or that it was happening elsewhere and would only mean melting
ice caps and hotter summers.
“ I am here to tell you that it does matter. If we don't act now,
this glorious world will not exist as we know it. Instead, low-lying
land will disappear under the rising sea and fertile land will turn into
“Our homes contribute 30 per cent of the UK's carbon emissions – so
we are all responsible. But it is surprisingly easy to make a difference
and often its just a case of common sense.
“My challenge to you is simple - it is to not only talk about
climate change but to do something about it – so that you can prove
that young people of the UK are working together to tackle climate change,” she
Ms Swann, who wrote a newspaper article about why teenagers in the UK
are not interested in climate change for her competition entry, said
young people had a massive opportunity to make a real difference.
“We have the energy, unbiased and fresh perspectives, and the
creativity and a clarity of thinking which challenges, and often exasperates,
older generations. Teenagers are, with these advantages, in a better
position to tackle climate change than many other groups of people.
“Our work will have an effect not only on climate change itself,
but also on others perceptions of it, by making the issue interesting,
less confusing and easier to get involved with. We can help people understand
connections between climate change and their everyday lives. The collective
efforts of millions of young people can and will make an enormous impact.
We just need to get the balling rolling,” she said.
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