In November last year, it was a privilege to meet in person with 60 students from nine Solihull schools and colleges in Solihull’s Council Chambers. Our thanks to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for providing matched funding and for their continued support of this event.
Teams of students represented a range of countries at the conference, from those that are highly vulnerable to climate change such as Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands through to oil rich nations of Saudia Arabia and United States of America. Strong and clear resolutions were put forward by different delegations as greater climate ambition was sought to keep world targets on track (see below).
The conference ended as it had started with a chance for students to make their own views known about climate change in Solihull. Some of the students went on to record their questions for the Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Courts. Covid isolation had unfortunately meant Councillor Courts couldn’t attend in person but with the help of technology, he was still able to answer, in the video below.
Young people also wrote their views about action they want to see on climate change, saying ‘one thing’ …
…I would like to happen in school:
- I want my school to encourage pupils and teachers (if possible) to walk or cycle to school so we can cut down on CO2 emissions and help stop climate change
- Put solar panels on the roof of the schools to produce renewable energy; Recycle plastic bottles; Electric bus so that travelling to places will reduce carbon emissions from school [Park Hall Academy]
- School should try and reduce their CO2 emissions.
…we can do ourselves:
- We can help by planting more trees in the environment
- Currently our energy sources are only 20% renewable. We hope that by 2030 we can make it to 80%; Pay more to have a plastic bag [TGAcademy]
…Solihull Council can do:
- Councils should be open to financial help towards least developed countries (LDCs). The poor countries contribute the least but suffer the most. Motions should be passed regarding this [Solihull School]
- Recycling stations as common as the red postbox; Sewage drainers – make them so you can’t throw litter down.
- I think that the council could start to do more clean ups and start to inspire more people.
Solihull Climate Conference and resolutions
Solihull students were warmly welcomed by The Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Meeson and the Solihull Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing, Councillor Mackiewicz and encouraged in their critical thinking about some of the key climate change questions being discussed in the last days of the United Nations (UN COP26) conference itself. (See this press release.)
As was the case in the conclusions to COP26 in Glasgow, impassioned points were made about the impacts of climate change right now:
- The Marshall Islands were concerned that greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased.
- There was concern about the amount of forestry lost to illegal logging, including Indonesia and Brazil.
- A delegate from Ethiopia was passionate in his plea for the world to work together as it is only by joint action that we can hope to keep global targets on track.
- There were calls for high income countries (HIC) to do much more to help achieve the promise of $100 billion to help people around the world adapt to more extreme weather.
Vital resolutions were put forward to tackle some of the major themes of the conference.
|Cities:||We are proposing that 80% of buildings and 100% of new builds will be carbon neutral by 2035|
|Energy:||The transition from non-renewable energy to renewable energy was stressed. China and USA to come to an agreement to reach Net Zero by 2050 shifting forward China’s Net Zero target by 10 years. Bhutan proposed that countries that do have the capacity for renewable energy should be expected to share resources with other countries that require it, such as by exporting it. The countries providing energy should be supplied with a small payment to fund and support LDCs. This acts as an offset compensation for emissions.|
|Forestry:||A solution put forward to this problem is to introduce new stricter laws for illegal logging and stricter punishments. Chile pledged to protect its natural reserves of forests that still remain and with help from HICs that haven’t pledged to help Low Income Countries. With their support, Chile can protect more than 80% of our forest.|
|Oceans:||Our solution is to work with the charity The Ocean Cleanup to help clear our oceans. Also to promote and invest in work to help end pollution in the seas.|
Our thanks go to the students and teachers from the participating schools:
- Arden Academy
- John Henry Newman College
- Langley School
- Park Hall Academy
- Solihull School
- Solihull Sixth Form College
- TGA Kingshurst Academy
- Tudor Grange Academy
- WMG Academy