Climate of concern in Leighton Buzzard at public meeting debating global warming threat

Concerns about climate change prompted 180 people to attend a public meeting at All Saints Church, Leighton Buzzard on Saturday, November 16.

The speakers were Chris Brierley, Associate Professor in Climate Science at University College, London; Paul Brown, former environment correspondent of The Guardian (both residents of Leighton Buzzard); and Councillor Steve Dixon, the Executive Member for Transformation and Climate Change, Central Bedfordshire Council.

Steve Dixon talking in All Saints

Steve Dixon talking in All Saints

They all discussed the opportunities and threats of climate change, as well as what actions are needed from individuals, councils or governments.

Afterwards, the speakers took questions from the audience, and many people stayed behind afterwards to discuss specific issues in small groups – subjects like tree planting, public transport, Extinction Rebellion, a repair café, renewable energy, and technology solutions.

The meeting was organised by Leighton-Linslade Low Carbon Town, which is a partnership between Christian Ecology Leighton Linslade and South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth.

Nick Clarke, Churchwarden, All Saints , said: “We were delighted to welcome so many people, full of so much enthusiasm, to the meeting. The church teaches that we are stewards of creation, and so have a responsibility to look after the world we live in. This meeting helped show us what we need to do, right here in Leighton Buzzard and South Beds. Well done to all involved in it.”

Dr Brierley described how the climate has become warmer over the last 300 years or so, and how it is now getting warmer more and more rapidly.

Two responses to climate change are needed: mitigation and adaptation.

Mitigation means addressing the cause of climate change, by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation means we will have to adapt to the kind of extreme weather events it causes, like floods, droughts and wildfires.

Paul Brown in his talk described the effects of this warming in more detail, effects such as the recent disastrous bush fires in Australia and California, the floods in Venice caused by exceptional high tides and sea level rise, and the so-called ‘once in 100 years’ floods in the UK, that have happened twice in 12 years so far.

The last speaker, Councillor Dixon, explained that the council has already endorsed theLocal Government Association motion declaring a climate emergency.

There is now a real appetite amongst the officers for change; and a three-part plan will be launched formally in April 2020, with targets to be achieved by 2030.

More detailed summaries of Chris Brierley and Paul Brown’s talks are available at www.southbedsfoe.co.uk, under ‘Climate Change’