It was great to be able to share some of the thing we are planning to do in our new Reading Climate Emergency Strategy last night. Many thanks to Michael Bright, and all at Reading Town Meal, for organising the event and for keeping things going despite the Covid restrictions.
It is of course a challenging time to be launching this consultation. With the concern about the spread of the coronavirus, many people will not be focused on the Climate Emergency. I certainly share those worries, and desperately hope we are lucky, and that the forecasts don’t come close to those ‘reasonable worst case scenarios’. Climate change probably has little to do with COVID-19, however it is interesting to note the similarity between responding to a viral epidemic, and adapting to climate change. When we have brought the virus under control, I hope we will be able to reflect on: our attitude to risk; and the resilience of our communities and infrastructure, that make our complex lives possible.
The risk of coronavirus will fade over the coming months. The Climate Emergency however, is a much bigger problem for us to deal with. Happily, there has been some really good work going on in Reading to get the town prepared for the challenges ahead.
On 13th March I will be at the public consultation launch of our new Reading Climate Emergency Strategy. This is a proud moment for me as Chair of the Reading Climate Change Partnership. Around this time last year, the Partnership was in the process of kick-starting a busy year of work on the Strategy. We had just agreed as well, to promote the creation of a new ‘Reading Climate Action Network’ (ReadingCAN) – something for everyone to be part of, and a growing group of experts, businesses and members of the Reading community to write and deliver the Strategy with us.
I am hugely grateful to everyone who put their time, ideas, passion and commitment into this work. There are six themes at the heart of the Strategy, all of which have detailed Action Plans of what we are going to do over the next 5 years. And the Visions behind each theme are strong and inspiring…driving us towards a town that is zero carbon by 2030, and a Reading that is getting ready to adapt and deal with what we can expect from the changing climate.
I hope you find it inspiring. Please do share with you family, friends and colleagues, and please do join us. There is a lot to do to deliver this Climate Emergency Strategy…and of course the work doesn’t stop there.
Please do give us your thoughts and feedback by taking part in our consultation. We are grateful to our Partners at Reading Borough Council for hosting and promoting the consultation, which is available here www.reading.gov.uk/climateconsultation and will be open until 24th April.
Well I needed a bit of a pick-me-up – joining the Reading Schools Climate Strike today certainly gave me that!
There was a big crowd outside the council offices that just kept growing. And listening to the chants of the schools children really did catch the heart strings. It made me very proud to be part of this town!
I was very pleased to have a chance to say a couple of words (see news update from 14:28)…
Unfortunately the sound dies halfway through the clip (from the GetReading website here). What I was saying though is that right now we are working on the new Climate Change Strategy for Reading. There is a lot to do, and we need your help.
If you have expertise please join us and help make sure we get the strategy right. And help us to get the message out…an social media experts out there, please get in touch!
Everybody though…we need your help to make this happen! Please be part of our developing Climate Action Network “ReadingCAN”. Encourage schoolmates, workmates, friends and family to join us too. And do check our new ReadingCAN.org.uk website. We are going to use it to host the strategy, climate events and everything we learn about how we can cut our carbon emissions and get ready for the climate challenges that the town faces.
Thank you to all of the organisers of today’s Strike. And especially to all of you who stood up to make sure there is a good future for our children, and their children to follow.
It was my great pleasure to be interviewed by Ayo Sokale – one of Caversham’s new Councillors. This is the first in a series of five interviews. In this we talk about our plans for new Reading Climate Change Strategy.
We are writing the new strategy between now and Christmas. Please do get involved – you can find out more here:
This is obviously a huge commitment for the town, with the demand for Zero Carbon by 2030…only 10 years away!
We will need everyone’s help to make this happen: public sector, businesses, national government, and all of us as individuals. We’re starting development of our third Reading Climate Change Strategy (2020-2025) so please do get involved and help us: come along to our Launch Event (13 June). There is a lot to do but together we can make it happen!
Wishing you well.
Chris Beales, RCCP Chair
Original post (8 Feb)
A very exciting news story for Reading: the council are looking to commit us to deliver Zero Carbon Reading by 2030. See the article in the Reading Chronicle (here).
We will update this post with more information over the next few days. There is obviously an enormous amount to do to make this happen…but it has to happen if we want any hope of limiting climate change to 1.5degC!
Over the next few months we will be starting our consultation on the next Reading Climate Change Strategy. This is an opportunity for everybody to get involved and help us get Reading ready for the challenges ahead.
Chris Beales (RCCP Chair) and Ben Burfoot (RBC Sustainability Manager) will present the Reading Climate Change Strategy, and discuss plans to adapt to the changing climate and to reduce our carbon footprint. These are hugely important challenges for our town and will be big factors in shaping the Reading 2050 vision.
The IPCC SR15 was released on 8 October 2018 with the strong messages that we have only 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degC.
“The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.” – IPCC SR15 press release
Particular concerns for us in Reading, from those issues highlighted, include:
Crop yields – with impacts on food availability / cost
Extreme heat – with potential for heat-related deaths
Knock on effects from other parts of the world that are exposed to more of highlighted risks
Notice that global temperatures have already risen by 1 degC, and we are already seeing the extreme weather events associated with this level of warming.
It is sobering to notice that our current trajectory is to hit 1.5 degC by 2040. It doesn’t have to be that way though, and SR15 details how we can reduce emissions to meet the 1.5 degC target.
Reflecting on this graph: there is a massive job that we need to do…not least to fundamentally change the political and economic focus towards tackling this.
Happily we have a start with the Zero Carbon Reading work that Reading Borough Council have done