Over eighty students from Bristol and South Gloucestershire secondary schools are taking the lead in debating the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement, and also in discussing with local leaders what more can be done in their area to reduce carbon emissions.
Arranged by the organisation InterClimate Network with the support of Bristol City Council, the students met today (Wednesday 22nd November) in Bristol City Hall, taking part in a Model Climate Conference. After a formal opening by Green Cabinet Member Fi Hance, students took part in a debate about how countries can implement and improve on the commitments made at the United Nations Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015. Fifteen teams of students represented different countries like China, the UK, Bangladesh and Fiji, and discussed the same issues that were debated in the UN Climate Conference (COP23) held in Bonn from 6th to 17th November.
The 2015 Paris Conference, signed by 197 countries, secured pledges to reduce emissions that will limit global temperature increases to about 2.5 o Celsius. As in Bonn, the students challenged each other on what their countries are doing to put their pledges into practice, share best practice ideas, and consider how they can urgently increase the ambition of national plans.
After the debate the students heard from Bristol Youth Council, business, and charity leaders on what is being done locally to reduce damaging carbon emissions. They developed suggestions on what more could be done in Bristol, and in their schools and communities, to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.
Opening the event, Green Cabinet Member Fi Hance said:
“What with the madness of the world and the news cycle, it can be easy to forget the importance of climate change. But we know it is the single greatest threat to the future survival and wellbeing of people, animals, and our planet.”
“Climate change can often seem to be a vast, scary and insurmountable challenge. It can almost lead to a sense of helplessness – what can anyone do to put a halt to the enormity of what's happening to our planet? But as local politicians, we can't run away – our job is to take action. You probably know that any politician worth their salt is more than happy to say that they will fight climate change – pledge this, promise that, but working out how to actually achieve that is the tricky bit.”
As Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste and Regulatory Services, Councillor Hance is responsible for Bristol’s progress on carbon emissions targets. Recently it was announced that the council had met its targets of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from council operations three years ahead of schedule. Last week Councillor Hance attended the COP23 Climate Conference in Bonn on behalf of Bristol, where she explained the city’s actions and progress in bringing down emissions.
Speaking after the event, Green Group leader Councillor Eleanor Combley said:
“It was so encouraging to see young people from in and around Bristol coming together to focus on the solutions we need to reduce the impact of climate change. The richest 10% of people in the world are responsible for over half of global carbon emissions. Before you think that just means a few wealthy individuals, it includes over half of the UK population. The change we need has to come from wealthier countries like the UK.
“As a port city, Bristol has to be particularly conscious of the dangers of climate change. Even if we succeed in keeping the average temperature rise to 2o this century (which is ambitious given progress so far) whole areas of the coast near Bristol will be below sea level. Climate change is going to affect us and those around us, and the InterClimate Network is doing great work in helping our young people to learn about both the seriousness of the challenge and their own power in tackling it.”
End Immigration Detention - these walls must fall
Green Councillors have submitted a motion to a coming Full Council meeting (11 December) supporting calls for an end to immigration detention in the UK. The motion, proposed by Green councillor Fi Hance and seconded by Labour councillor Ruth Pickersgill, calls on Bristol’s Mayor to endorse the ‘These Walls Must Fall’ Campaign (1), lobby the UK government, and work with local MPs and other councils to push for changes in immigration law and alternatives to detention.(2)
Cuts still hitting the poorest despite Mayor’s warm words
Green Mayoral Candidate, Sandy Hore-Ruthven, has responded to the news that Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees, has today joined a nationwide warning that ‘councils have reached breaking point’ over funding cuts
Greens demands for the COP24 negotiations
This December government leaders will gather in Katowice, Poland for the COP24 climate summit, where all countries of the world, including EU Member States, must commit to put forward higher 2030 climate targets by 2020. To stay below 1.5°C, as indicated in the landmark IPCC report, the EU needs to commit to significantly increase both its long-term and 2030 targets.
Bristol can "become a beacon to the world on how to tackle climate change"
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has said the South West region can become a beacon to the world on how to tackle climate change as well as showcasing the economic gains to be had from doing so. The region’s MEP has made the claim as negotiators from around the globe meet in Poland to discuss action on climate change and how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement which aims to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Bristol's Green MEP challenges charitable status of right-wing think tanks
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has written to the Charity Commission to challenge the charitable status granted to a series of far-right think tanks. The challenge comes in the wake of the concession by one such organisation, the Taxpayers Alliance, that it had unfairly dismissed and smeared Brexit whistleblower Shahmir Sanni.
Buses are a right – not a privilege, says Sandy Hore-Ruthven
A good bus service means people can get where they need to go, when they need to go. The ability to travel should not be based on your income or where you live.
Lack of affordable housing unacceptable
Lack of affordable housing “completely unacceptable” – Green Councillor calls in Bedminster development plans
"It's time for a People's Vote" Bristol's Green MEP responds to Withdrawal Agreement
People voted neither for no deal or a dodgy deal. It’s time for the real deal – a vote on the reality of Brexit compared with remaining in the EU. It’s time for a People’s Vote
Greens declare a Climate Emergency and bring Bristol’s CO2 emissions target forwards 20 years
A Green party motion calling on the Mayor of Bristol to declare a climate emergency and bring the city’s carbon neutrality target forward by 20 years (to 2030) passed in a Full Council meeting this evening, committing Bristol to the most ambitious climate change target out of all UK Core Cities.
Greens challenge Mayor on support for Tall Buildings
Green councillors have raised concerns about the Labour Mayor’s support for high rise buildings
Greens call on Mayor: declare a Climate Emergency
Green councillors in Bristol are calling on the city’s Mayor to declare a Climate Emergency and bring forward Bristol’s carbon neutrality target, in a motion submitted to Full Council next week.
Time to kick plastic addiction as Green petition to be debated by Council
Thousands of people across Bristol have signed a petition to get rid of unnecessary disposable plastics started by Green Councillor Martin Fodor. The petition has received so much support that it will be debated by all councillors at Full Council. It will also receive a response from the Mayor. The petition calls on the Mayor to take all practical steps to eliminating wasteful plastic across Bristol and has been supported by plastics campaigners across the city. Greens have been campaigning for Bristol to become single-use plastic free for many years, tabling a motion on this in both 2015 and 2016.
Green response to 2018 budget
Responding to the 2018 budget, Bristol's Green MEP and party finance spokesperson, Molly Scott Cato MEP, said: “Greens said that this must be an emergency budget for the climate and that it would fail if a single pound was spent on climate wrecking projects .
Response to Mayor's 'State of the City' speech
Bristol's Green Mayoral Candidate responds to the Labour Mayor's unambitious 'State of the City' annual speech.
Green Councillors support Vision for future of Bristol’s parks
Green Councillors have endorsed the Parks Forum’s vision for the future of Bristol's Parks, and suggested some additional points.
Greens call for Review of Bristol’s House-Building Plans
Sandy Hore-Ruthven, Green Party candidate for Mayor of Bristol is calling for the Mayor to announce a review of Bristol’s Housing strategy at his State of the City Speech  on Wednesday following the government’s announced intention to lift the borrowing cap for local authorities . The cap currently dramatically limits councils from borrowing against their own existing housing stock to build new properties.
Green Councillors support calls to end immigration detention
In 2017, 27,000 people entered indefinite immigration detention in the UK, many of them from Bristol.
Green Councillors oppose government plans to fast track fracking
Green and independent Councillors from across the West of England signed a response to the government’s twin consultations on fracking and fracking exploration at a demo in Bristol on Tuesday 9 October, urging the government to back down from its plan to make controversial fracking developments harder to challenge under planning law.
Greens call for caution on tall buildings - response to Urban Living consultation
Green Councillors support high quality, denser developments to accommodate people and create communities but are concerned Bristol Council could lose sight of the downsides in its enthusiasm for tall buildings
Setting the record straight – the Lord Mayor’s car
Green councillors have expressed their disappointment with the tactics of Bristol’s Labour group after an ‘anonymous Labour source’ falsely claimed to the Bristol Post that Green Lord Mayor Cleo Lake had “demanded the purchase of one of the most expensive cars in the world”.
Bristol shoppers join worldwide campaign returning unnecessary plastic to supermarkets
This weekend Bristol shoppers and Greens joined campaigners from around the world in ‘plastic attacks’ to hand back their unneeded single use plastics to supermarkets across Bristol.
Letter: Bristol Cllrs must vote against the proposed airport expansion
We can all do our bit to help reduce the impact of climate change by choosing to walk and cycle more or fly less, but only politicians can make the big decisions that will decide whether our planet blossoms or burns. It is time they start treating climate change as the global emergency that it is.
Arena decision: Why are we letting austerity dictate how our city should grow?
You can’t shrink to greatness! But with the arena decision at cabinet last week that is what it feels like Bristol has done.
Bristol Greens to attend #RiseForClimate rally in Bristol – 8th September
Alongside organisations in Bristol and in cities around the world, Bristol Green Party members and elected representatives will be demanding urgent action on climate change by taking part in the #RiseForClimate rally in Bristol on 8th September.
Green Group Leader: Mayor's arena decision shows contempt for democracy
The day after he voted for a council motion supporting a Temple Meads location for Bristol's Arena, the city's Labour Mayor has scrapped the project altogether in a Cabinet meeting.
Opinion: Bristol wants the arena on Arena Island
Bristol Green Party's Deputy Coordinator writes for 24/7 about why the Mayor should listen and build the Arena on Arena Island.
Mayor should ‘abide by’ council vote for Arena location
A majority of cross-party councillors have taken the unusual step of calling an extraordinary Council meeting to vote on the location of Bristol’s Arena, and demanding that the Mayor ‘abides by’ the decision made. The Arena’s future was due to be decided by the Mayor on Sept 4th. However, amid growing accusations that the Mayor’s decision may be biased (1), councillors have called for a free vote. The letter to the Mayor includes signatures from a majority of councillors, including signatures from all four political parties.
Listen Again to Molly Scott Cato's speech at Bristol's People's Vote rally
Why Arena island is still the best location for Bristol's Arena
The Mayor’s own Value for Money study showed that the arena will pay for itself, will add no burden to the public purse, will not impact on council services and will leave the city with a significant asset. The Mayor has acknowledged on a number of occasions, and most recently on BBC Points West last Thursday, that an arena at Temple Island would be affordable for the city.
£5m cuts to special needs budget 'hidden' from Council
Bristol’s cabinet member for education and skills has been accused of misleading the council by hiding concerns around £5m of cuts to a special needs budget. A High Court judge has ruled that Bristol City Council did not properly consult over the cuts to the high needs block. Clive Stevens, Green councillor for Clifton Down, said: “It’s important that lessons are learned. The 2016 Bundred Review highlighted the need for councillors to be given clear information, but here in 2018 we had a £5m cut which was simply not shown in the budget papers." For the full article please see here>>