Birmingham Schools Climate Conference

Cllr Majid Mahmood, Cabinet Member for Environment, talks about tackling climate change - and the importance of young people having a voice.

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world this century. That is not being overly dramatic – if anything it is an understatement.

So it was really encouraging to see so many young people engage with this issue at the Birmingham Schools Climate Conference 2023, discussing and exploring our collective mission to reach net zero emissions in the city.

They understood that as a city we need to come up with ideas and plans that help us get to the point at which Birmingham is no longer adding to carbon emissions.

You only need to look online, watch the television news or pick up a newspaper to see the impact climate change is having.

Far too often there are reports of flooding or drought in other places, though we may have friends and families in some of the places that have been affected.

But it is impacting us here too. In the summer of 2022, we had temperatures reaching 40 degrees. Lots of activities had to be cancelled for the couple of days we hit those peaks.

The hot, dry summer also saw a serious fire damage Lickey Hills Country Park in the south of the city, damaging our natural environment.

As a council, we’ve seen these risks coming – that’s why we declared a climate emergency in 2019 and set a really challenging goal to become net zero by 2030.

Progress is being made, but there is still much more to be done.

Young people from schools across Birmingham acted as politicians and decision-makers at the climate conference. They represented 16 different states from across the world and experienced first-hand the barriers and challenges to international action and how to deal with some difficult topics.

They also looked at national and local climate action, exploring how students and schools can make a difference in support of Net Zero.

I hope these amazing young people understand how powerful their voices can be.

They will live through the effects of our actions today, we all have a responsibility to act – and they can make a real difference.

This blog was published on 13 December 2023

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