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Young people lobby Tony Blair over Climate Change

Pictures available.

Six school children, between the ages of 8 and 17, met Tony Blair at Downing Street today (8 November) to highlight their concerns about climate change and urge him to take action, including introducing a new law to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions. The six who represent the Stop Climate Chaos coalition [1], also handed in petitions from nearly 150,000 people calling for a climate change law that would commit the UK to reducing its emissions by at least three per cent year on year.

The six told the Prime Minister that it was their generation who would have to live with climate change and said they were worried that not enough is being done to tackle it.  The group were also involved in a lively discussion with Tony Blair on the need for the UK to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and set an example to the rest of the world. 

Hannah Smith, aged 17, from London said:

“I think Tony Blair was impressed we were so passionate about climate change.  The Prime Minister said it was important we take action internationally but we reminded him that the UK has to set an example by doing something about our own carbon dioxide emissions.”

Jenny Avery, aged 17, from Northants said:

“I wasn’t nervous about meeting Tony Blair as climate change is a very important issue and we wanted to let him know that young people care. We are the ones who will have to live with it when we are older.”

Rebecca Verlander, aged 11, from North London, said:

“It has been great to tell the Prime Minister what I think about climate change. I told him if he acted now he would be remembered as a hero who helped save the whole world.”

Amina Seylani, aged 12, from London said:

“I was very excited to meet the Prime Minister.  He listened to us and told us he was concerned about climate change too. It’s up to young people to speak out and make a difference as we are going to be living with climate change”

Daniel Causebrook, aged 8, said:

“It was fantastic because I met the Prime Minister and I told him why I am concerned about climate change. It’s because poor farmers won’t be able to grow crops so they can’t feed their families or sell crops to make money. ”

Ben Brunwin, aged 16 from Guildford, said:

“I told the Prime Minister that it was our future that would be affected and that I didn’t think enough was being done about climate change.”

Earlier this week a new survey [2], commissioned by Friends of the Earth, revealed that nearly two thirds of young people believe that we are not doing enough to tackle climate change. The poll of one thousand 8 - 14 year olds also found that young people are becoming increasingly concerned about the dangers of climate change, with 75 per cent saying they were worried about the impacts of climate change compared to just 60 per cent of respondents in a similar poll conducted last year.

Stop Climate Chaos - which organised Saturday’s massive ‘I Count ‘ event in Trafalgar Square, attended by more than 25,000 - is calling on the Government to:

• Introduce a new climate change bill requiring annual cuts in UK carbon dioxide emissions of at least 3 per cent a year in this month’s Queen’s Speech. The proposed bill already has the backing of around two thirds of Westminster MPs [3].

• Help negotiate an international agreement that ensures that the worlds’ carbon dioxide emissions are falling irreversibly by 2015. This will ensure global warming is kept below two degree centigrade danger threshold.  International negotiations are currently taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, on what steps the world community should take to tackle global warming when phase one of the Kyoto climate treaty ends in 2012.

• Deliver assistance to developing countries to adapt to climate change and give access to clean energy to meet their developmental needs.

Notes to editors

For more information, interviews or pictures contact
Anna Mitchell, Friends of the Earth on 0207 566 1664 or 07764364187
Alison Blower, Stop Climate Chaos on 020 7729 8732 and 07967 698928

1. Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) is an unprecedented and growing coalition on climate change, bringing together environment and development organisations, unions, faith, community and women's groups. Members include Friends of the Earth, RSPB, The Woodland Trust, Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, Tearfund, Christian Aid, the Women's Institute and UNISON.

SCC organized Saturday’s massive ‘I Count’ climate event in Trafalgar Square, attended by more than 25,000 people.  The 'I Count' campaign was launched on Wednesday 11th October with the unveiling of a 4ft ice sculpture of Prime Minister Tony Blair's head encased around a first edition of Penguin book, 'I Count: A Step by Step Guide to Climate Bliss'.  The campaign gained rapid support from many leading figures and high profile supporters from David Attenborough to Annie Lennox. 
For more information go to www.icount.org.uk

2. The poll was conducted by Friends of the Earth as part of a Shout about climate solutions week which is happening this week. This nationwide week of activity will see some 1800 schools and youth groups exploring the solutions to climate change - working on projects ranging from making mini wind turbines to carrying out their own school energy audit.

See:http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/young_people_say_not_enoug_03112006.html

3. 410 MPs (62 per cent) have now signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 1780 - a kind of Parliamentary petition - calling on the Government to introduce a climate change Bill in the Queen's Speech on 15 November. This is the fourth most heavily signed Early Day Motion in history. The EDM calls on the Government to introduce a new bill "so that annual cuts in carbon dioxide emissions of 3 per cent can be delivered".

4. People & Planet calculated their 1, 537 pledges in terms of carbon savings and they will have saved 1,363, 650kg, roughly equivalent to removing 717 cars from the road or about 10% of a 3% national annual target.