Prince William gives backing to Cambridgeshire’s own climate fight
The Duke of Cambridge has backed a year-long campaign launched in Cambridgeshire that aims to put the county at the forefront of the UK’s efforts to fight climate change.
Cambridgeshire COP was launched on Monday (February 28) with representatives of more than 70 organisations across the county.
The campaign is being led by Cambridgeshire County Council leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, who was inspired by the COP 26 summit held in Glasgow last November.
She hopes that in bringing Cambridgeshire organisations together they can find solutions to the problems facing the world that could be piloted in the county.
Cllr Nethsingha said: “Our Cambridgeshire COP launch event was a great success, with people from a variety of organisations and a range of backgrounds coming together to pledge support for the campaign and share ideas.
“As HRH The Duke of Cambridge said in his letter of support, finding the solutions that we need to will require us all to come together and share learning, experience and insight, and this event was just the very start.”
More than 70 organisations including local authorities, businesses, pressure groups, faith groups and the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Julie Spence attended Monday’s 90-minute webinar launch.
The mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson and South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cllr Pippa Heylings, who also sits on the Local Government Association Climate Board, were among the speakers.
Four interactive sessions took place looking at specific areas: increasing biodiversity, developing sustainable transport, changing heating and housing options and dealing with waste.
Prince William wrote in a letter to Ms Spence which she read out: “We face devastating planetary and humanitarian crises if we do not act now.
“But I am optimistic. Humanity has the ingenuity and determination to increase biodiversity, decarbonise transport, reduce waste and tackle global warming. It requires business, research, entrepreneurs, governments and the public to come together. It is why I launched The Earthshot Prize and why I applaud Cambridge’s initiative.”
An interactive session was held as part of the webinar that looked at specific areas of work which are going on now in the county around increasing biodiversity, developing sustainable transport, changing heating and housing options and dealing with waste.
This week a UN report painted a bleak picture of climate danger “already upon us” adding that climate change is causing widespread loss and damage to lives, livelihoods, homes and natural habitats, with more severe effects to come.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said already some of the impacts of global warming are irreversible, as nature and humans are pushed to the limits of their ability to adapt to rising temperatures.
Any further delays to curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to already inevitable climate change will see humanity miss a “brief and rapidly closing window” to secure a liveable and sustainable future, the report warned.
UN secretary-general António Guterres described the report as “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership”, warning that nearly half of humanity is in the climate danger zone and many ecosystems are at the point of no return.
The assessment is the second in a series of three reports from the IPCC in the latest review of climate science, which take place every seven years or so for governments.
Dr Johnson said: “There is lots of potential for Cambridgeshire to be world-leading on climate and this first meeting was the first opportunity to think collectively about sustainable transport, waste management, home heating and biodiversity. I look forward to working closely with the group to fast-track opportunities for green ideas.”
The launch signals the start of events and activities led by a range of different organisations from the public and private sector.
These will culminate with events across the county throughout November at the same time world leaders meet at COP27 in Egypt.
Cllr Heylings added: “Following the latest report on irreversible climate impacts released by the IPCC, it is more important than ever that central government recognises and empowers all levels of local government to help meet the UK’s net zero targets.Cambridgeshire can provide a national and global example of developing locally determined contributions to help meet national net zero goals.”