190 countries will meet in Katowice, Poland in December for the annual UN Climate Conference, COP24 and it must get results on action towards all countries’ Paris Agreement targets.
Teams of students from six local secondary schools will also meet on 5th December to carry out their own debate on progress towards the Paris Agreement and try to negotiate raising ambition for more action.
They will represent 14 different countries from Fiji to the USA. As in the real COP24, the country teams will have a significant challenge as a summary produced by the organisers, InterClimate Network, shows that progress towards Paris targets has been slower than the world needs.
In the second part of the afternoon, local sustainability leaders and active organisations will work with students in mini-workshops linked directly to RCAN’s themes. We want students to be encouraged to generate their own pledges and inspired to take on their own climate action back at school.
Thanks go to the Mayor of Reading and Reading Borough Council for hosting this event and to Reading Climate Change Partnership and RBC’s Sustainability Team for their active support.
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
It was my great pleasure to attend the InterClimate network (ICN) National Summit, on the 27 June. And it is great that the RCCP have been able to contribute towards the work of ICN, and helped to support the event.
The day itself was fantastic…it did help that it was held at Portcullis House, and was attended by MPs, which gave it a real feeling of importance. There were schools in attendance from across the country, sharing ideas and inspiration. There was a brilliant energy in the room.
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you both for giving us the opportunity to attend the conference today. It was very well organised and our students were really inspired by your guest speakers and the students from the other schools, as were we, as teachers. The students already have plenty of ideas to take back to Little Heath and are already planning to meet the head to kick start some campaigns.
As a school we already look at food insecurity and actively support our local food bank, as well as looking at ways in which we can save water. We now have fresh ideas for plastics and energy efficiency in the school and look forward to making more changes and educating our students.”