Hundreds of residents have joined the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly COP26 Regional Roadshow to share ideas on tackling the climate crisis.
The online event Let’s Talk Climate Action this week saw community groups, schools, businesses, local councils and individuals take part in conversations on how to reduce carbon emissions and support nature recovery.
It coincided with world leaders’ discussions on accelerating climate action during the final week of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
The Let’s Talk Climate Action event kickstarts a Cornwall Council engagement programme with residents and business sectors to design a series of Cornwall Climate Commitments to encourage everyone to lower their carbon impacts.
Councillor Martyn Alvey, Cornwall’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “As a region, collectively we are experiencing and seeing the impact of climate change in a number of ways through our coastal erosion, flooding and extreme weather incidents.
“This is absolutely the right time for Cornwall to be looking to our 2030 goal for reaching net zero carbon and making that a reality through action and achieving results.
“Our local COP event and you are part of a great movement that is happening right across the UK. Just as the G7 summit inspired a generation to show how they care for our environment I want our event to inspire more people to get involved and to make a difference for Cornwall and our planet.
“There is so much happening and Cornwall has already got several big successes under our low carbon belt, and now we must carry that momentum forwards to build on those accomplishments to achieve more.”
Councillor Steve Watt, Council of the Isles of Scilly lead member for environment, environmental services and climate change, said: "This was a great opportunity to launch our Climate Change Action Plan and it sought to underline the need for collective progress across many areas of our lives if we are to achieve our ambitions to reduce our carbon footprint for the benefit of generations to come."
BBC documentary-maker and marine biologist Monty Halls gave the keynote address and praised Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for making positive changes to tackle the climate crisis.
The award-winning broadcaster who grew up in Padstow and filmed the BBC2 series ‘Fishermen’s Apprentice’ in Cadgwith, said: “Unequivocally we are at that crunch point, that’s beyond doubt and that has been the very strong message from COP. This is an uncompromising moment in our species.
“I’m keenly aware that Cornwall is at the vanguard of a lot of the change and implementing authentic programmes and engineering genuine change within the county to be ahead of the game in terms of addressing these issues.
“Cornwall is 80 per cent coastline and you are so mired in the environment around you and always have been. I wonder if that has initiated so much of the positive change that you are creating at the moment.
“A lot of the time it’s really hard and you have your head in your hands and you think you’re not making a difference. But you absolutely are. Never underestimate the value of the work you are doing at the moment, the programmes you are creating, the authentic change that you are engineering and the fact you are inspiring this next generation.”
The Let’s Talk Climate Action event focused on Cornwall’s biggest carbon-emitting areas – road transport, powering and heating homes, businesses and agriculture.
There were talks on transport, heat and power, and agriculture, advice for businesses on the journey to net zero and how environmental adaptation is key to mitigating the effects of climate change.
A message was shown from Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, President of COP26, at the engagement event which has been funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Speakers included Stuart Roberts, deputy president of the NFU, Steffen Boehm, professor of organisation and sustainability at University of Exeter Business School, and representatives from RegenSW and Natural England.
They were joined by Cornwall climate action advocates including Amanda Forman, co-founder of Planet A Solutions, Lord Robin Teverson, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership, Dawn Thompson from Upcycle Kernow and Matt Hocking from Leap design.
The event was hosted by Cllr Alvey and Cllr Watt, who were joined by Kate Kennally, Cornwall Council chief executive and Paul Masters, chief executive of the Council of the Isles of Scilly.
Story posted November 11, 2021
Notes to Editors:
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Let’s Talk Climate Action event is supported by the South West Energy Hub. The SW Energy Hub works across the region to increase the number, quality and scale of local energy projects being delivered as we work together towards net zero. Find out more at www.swenergyhub.org.uk