politics

Carbon Neutral Futures

Anne Miller Chair of Carbon Neutral Cambridge, Tommy, Stephen Kelly, Director of Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service.

In May Carbon Neutral Cambridge ran an expert symposium in partnership with South Cambs District Council, Cambridge City council and the Shared Planning service, on how we could accelerate the transition to net zero carbon.

We invited Tommy H, a 16 yr old student at The Leys to open the event. This is what he said:

I’m concerned about climate change. It is arguably the defining issue of our times, one that could lead to many deaths and increase poverty here and around the world.

This much should be clear, as humanity is experiencing such consequences now as climate refugees are having to relocate, extreme weather is far more common. In the states, 1 in 500 year weather events now happen every 2 or 3 years – that’s madness! We are in a situation where our individual actions and choices greatly affect the future, far more so than before. The Cambridgeshire councils can have a large impact by not only creating a green county but by also setting an example which will encourage other councils to follow suit. In turn, this would lead to England setting a good example which other countries could then follow. I urge you to remain open-minded and to employ your greatest efforts to follow the advice from the experts calling for the changes that the science demands. I fear that we are moving towards a future of suffering, suffering that can be reduced to some extent by decision you are making here today. The solutions are available now, a miracle energy source is not required. People must realise that the world is being hit by climate breakdown. It is detrimental to the habitants of this county and the world if changes are not made.

But we cannot be a little bit sustainable, for it is not sustainable! As Greta Thunberg has said, this is binary: we are either not doing enough or we are sustainable. Local councils have declared a climate emergency, and that sounds brilliant. However what actions and changes have followed from this decision? Make these essential changes and communicate with local people about what you are doing and why you are doing it. By educating people on the reasons for the choices that you are making, you will gain backing for the choices. The people of Cambridgeshire need you to make the right choices, the hard decisions, but they also need to be told what choices you make. I have hope, but it lives and dies with the decisions made over the next few years. Change is needed now. So please act now. Thank you.

We are sharing the findings of the symposium at a public meeting on 2 July, 18:15 at St Barnabus Church, Mill Road. Do join us.