Children Demand a Future: Will Blair Listen?


Tony Blair is no stranger to tough political negotiations. However, even he may have found it hard to explain to this bunch why he is unwilling to sign up to year-on-year targets for greenhouse gas reductions. Six school children, between the ages of 8 and 17, met the Prime Minister at Downing Street last week to highlight their concerns about climate change and what it means for their futures. The six who represent the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, 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 group was 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.

Jenny Avery, aged 17, from Northants had no fears about meeting the Prime Minister and telling him exactly what she thought:

"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."

Earlier this week a new survey, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, revealed that nearly two thirds of young people showed 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 (which Treehugger helped plug here), 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 Members of Parliament.

• 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.

[Written by: Sami Grover]