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More government action needed on climate change
It was truly awe-inspiring to see the millions and millions of people, from nearly 200 different countries around the world, coming together on 20th September to join protests demanding meaningful action to combat climate change.
Having grown out of the international movement known as Youth Strike 4 Climate, created by the redoubtable sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, it is heartening to see so many children and young people actually leading the demonstrations.

It was therefore particularly disappointing that the Government’s Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, felt he had to criticise the young people for “bunking off” and also condemn the organisers of the various events for being “irresponsible” in this regard.

Such comments are pretty laughable coming from an MP who. at the time, was himself bunking off because his Conservative Prime Minister had suspended Parliament. I totally disagree with the sentiments of Gavin Williamson. It is my view that this fledgling “climate strike” movement represents a refreshing alternative to the chaos surrounding the Westminster political bubble at the present time.

It gives me great hope for the future and everyone associated with the protests – both in Cornwall and much further afield – should be congratulated for their wonderful efforts.

It is a reality that the danger of climate change is the defining issue of the 21st century and the evidence of the threats facing the planet and humanity is stark – rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, deforestation in the Amazon, rising sea levels, worsening air pollution, plastic pollution and more.

The protests took place in advance of an important United Nations summit in New York, where global leaders were due to consider more extremely worrying evidence pulled together by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO’s climate statement details “unprecedented levels of warming seen in recent years“ and states that the “five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record” and “sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs.” Unsurprisingly, it calls for “carbon-cutting efforts” to be “intensified immediately.”

This all shows that climate campaigners – both young and old – are right to put pressure on governments to take a lead and what the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, had to say in advance of the summit was spot-on. "I told leaders not to come with fancy speeches, but with concrete commitments. People want solutions, commitments and action.”

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By Dick Cole. Published on 26th October 2019.

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