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Neil Kinnock: Cities Crucial In Fight Against Climate Change


Neil Kinnock, Chair of the British Council today said that low-carbon cities were an imperative that must be achieved by the mid twenty-first century. He called for stronger links and combined action across the world to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas and tested solutions. Cities should learn rapidly from one another’s successes and mistakes through networks dedicated to the exchange of information tackling climate change.

Lord Kinnock was speaking at the launch of the British Council’s ZeroCarbonCity campaign, a global initiative exploring the energy challenges facing the world’s greatest cities. The aim of the campaign is to stimulate greater public debate and awareness. ZeroCarbonCity, a £4million science initiative, involving a variety of focused activities in over 100 cities in 60 countries worldwide, will directly reach over 6 million people in a year when the United Kingdom will undertake the presidency of both the G8 and the European Council.

Neil Kinnock said:

‘Cities occupy a pivotal position in terms of climate change both as major energy consumers, and as centres of new thinking and policy innovation. International links of understanding and action can be built between cities, even when States cannot agree. Focusing activities on cities will generate fresh perspectives on the climate issue, building awareness of the challenges and of the potential solutions and fostering debate about possible remedies.

ZeroCarbonCity shifts the emphasis of attention towards mitigation, adaptation and practical measures that can be taken. In doing that, the campaign will raise international awareness of the UK as a country that has commitments to tackling climate change and seeks to promote answers as well as analysis.’

Margaret Beckett, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, welcomed today’s launch:

‘I am delighted that the campaign will be visiting more than 100 cities in 60 countries, many of these visits will take place during the UK’s G8 and EU presidencies.

I believe ZeroCarbonCity will help generate a fresh perspective on Climate Change, building awareness of the challenges and potential solutions, and fostering debate about the action that is needed to combat one of the greatest problems facing not only us, but our children and our grandchildren.’

The campaign comprises a set of actions under the title of ZeroCarbonCity:

NorthSouthEastWest: a photographic exhibition about climate change commissioned in partnership with The Climate Group and Magnum Photographic Agency. The exhibition will open at the Science Museum on the 14th March and will travel to over 60 countries throughout 2005 and 2006. The exhibition examines the effects of climate change and also the solutions which are being implemented and is supported by a book featuring essays by, amongst others, Tony Blair, Kofi Annan, Leonardo di Caprio, Mary Robinson, Professor Sir David King and Yong Wook-Lee.

Cities and Climate Change: a global online debate focusing on the politics of climate change: how science is presented and understood, international governance, action and equity, technology and solutions for people of all nations. The debate will start in April and will run up to the G8 summit in Gleneagles in July. The debate will be supported with articles by public figures such as scientists, technologists, policy-makers and city planners and is run in partnership with openDemocracy.

Climate Change and Cities: A brief look at the issues: This publication demonstrates the reasoning behind the ZeroCarbonCity campaign and illustrates the relationship between climate change and cities. Written for the British Council by UK experts at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, it examines the issues of increasing emissions and growth in urbanisation and the potential effects of climate change. It features global case studies of contrasting cities and suggests responses at city level to tackle the problem through adaptation and mitigation.

City Debates and Café Scientifique: conversations and discussions about the connections between science, technology and society. A programme of city debates around the globe using city venues to provide a platform for expert comment on a variety of topics connected to climate change, and then encouraging audience participation to continue the open discussions. Cafés Scientifique are already established as a successful British Council series of linked debates in an informal setting and have been held at many centres throughout the world.

The ZeroCarbonCity website features an array of ‘climate-themed’ resources: teaching materials; English learner activities; science writers’ book list; key UK research programmes; multi-media downloads; access to environmental organisations in the UK, research council activities and centres; universities working in environmental subject areas and gives further background about the campaign and a calendar of global debates

Clare Sears | alfa
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