We’re planning for the future of transport in Reading and we want to know what you think.
Transport matters to all of us. It connects us with our workplaces, schools, friends and families. It affects our health, the air we breathe, and the streets where we live. It helps our economy to grow and our town to thrive, and it can make the environment around us clean and friendly or dirty and dangerous.
Future travel in Reading is about more than moving people from A to B. It must be affordable and accessible, improve people’s health and wellbeing, support a growing and inclusive economy, enable a carbon neutral future for Reading and harness the latest technology.
The strategy we develop now will shape our town’s transport network to 2036 and beyond, informing the decisions we take, the funding we secure and the changes we make.
Please click here for the survey which is open until 20th September.
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.
Dr Rayner Mayer (from Sciotech Projects and University of Reading) hosted a lively discussion on the ethics related to climate change. He introduced the following 3 topics, after which the audience debated the issues.
In the first section, Rayner introduced the concept of Climate Justice. He reminded the audience of the increase in extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, associated with increasing climate change. These threaten lives and livelihoods across the world. He concluded that some regions are more affected than others; and that developing countries are disproportionately responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, whereas poorer peoples are more vulnerable to the consequences.
In the next section, Rayner discussed Sustainable Development. In simple terms: it is an obligation for the present generation to leave the world (biosphere) in a fit state for future generations. He noted that we have had successes so far, with millions of lives being saved as a result of the 8 ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (2000-2015). In the next 15 years we have the international ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ including: to end poverty, to end hunger, to reduce inequality and to ensure sustainable use of eco-systems. These include tackling climate change – if we don’t tackle the UN estimates that there could be up to 100 million climate refugees by the end of the next decade.
COP21 – the Paris Accord:
Finally Rayner talked about December 2015’s Paris Accord. In this, 195 individual nations have submitted ‘Declared National Contributions’, which are emissions reduction promises. These will be reviewed every 5 years. All countries signed-up to trying to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Centigrade, however the current declared contributions could result in a 2.7 degrees temperature rise which is higher than that agreed in Paris. Religious leaders, including the Pope, are making strong calls for us to act on this global threat to life on earth. It is important that there are ‘top-down’ agreements like the Paris Accord, however it is equally important that we look at our own lifestyles and what are we going to do about it.
On Wednesday 30th March the second in a series of ‘Reading climate forums’ discussed ‘carbon pricing’ – under which the cost of damage expected from global warming would be reflected in the price of fossil fuels.
Speaker Clive Elsworth from the UK branch of the Citizens Climate Lobby www.facebook.com/CitizensClimateLobbyUK explained the ‘Carbon Fee and Dividend’ approach under which a fee would be paid when fossil fuels were imported or extracted by mining or drilling … and the money raised would be shared equally between all households.
Clive argued that fossil fuels must be priced out of the market – subsidies to renewables or energy efficient travel only reduce cost of activities so lead to more consumption. He said he had been inspired by climate scientist James Hansen’s book “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity”.
Campaigner Justin Bowles then presented the views of three economists and a sociologist – saying that 90% of economists favour some form of carbon tax or carbon pricing to address climate change. He discussed the difficulties of setting a price today to reflect the risk of damage in the future.
Clive finished by hosting a role play exercise, where the audience were invited to try out some useful influencing techniques to try and sell the ‘Carbon Fee and Dividend’ concept to their local MP.