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Zamzam Ibrahim, the President of SOS_UK and the NUS has written to the Prime Minister reminding him that, thirty years ago, Margaret Thatcher called for urgent action on the greenhouse effect at the UN General Assembly.  The letter asks for his personal help in ensuring that the education system is a central pillar of the Government’s strategy on climate change.  This is obviously something that NAEE supports.  The full text of the letter can be found on our blog pages.  ∫∫∫

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Mrs Thatcher was featured in the BBC’s Green originals series.  This showcased 15 people who have made a difference to our understanding of how humans are affecting the balances within natural systems.  You can watch Mrs Thatcher’s original 30 minute UN talk here, and read a full transcript here.  ∫∫∫

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Earthbuddies has a feature article on the plans that Italy has announced for having climate change as a strong feature in the curriculum.  “I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school,” Italian Education Minister, Lorenzo Fioramonti, told Reuters in an interview.  Doubt has now been cast on whether this will happen as the minister has since resigned.  ∫∫∫

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The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics is collaborating with the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to survey adaption to climate change.  The main objective is to inform the Third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment and the UK Government’s climate change adaptation planning under the Climate Change Act.

The survey focuses on the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on businesses (this includes schools and HE) in the UK.  For example, the implications of floods or droughts.  These are commonly described as the physical risks of climate change.  The questionnaire asks about the risks and opportunities we face as well as any adaptation action taken in response.  Activities to reduce emissions (climate change mitigation) are not considered.  You can take part here and there’s more information about the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment here.  ∫∫∫

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More than 600,000 tonnes of coal was imported to the UK in 2019 from Australia, with a similar amount being anticipated this year.  The emissions from the coal’s 9,000 mile journey, plus the 2.8 tonnes of CO2 emitted per tonne of coal burnt, give it a huge carbon footprint.  British Steel and Tata Steel  are the main importers.  

To set this in a wider context: Australia is one of the world’s top coal producers.  It exports 203 million tonnes of thermal coal (burnt in power stations) and 179 million tonnes (for steel-making).   Global coal use has risen from 4.5 billion tonnes a year in 1990 to almost 8 billion tonnes now.

Australia’s attempts to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions have stalled since 2013 and its 2030 targets (that are modest by international standards) will not be met.  The recent fires produced 400 megatons of CO2 which are estimated to be ~75% of its usual annual emissions.  The Australian government will not be counting CO2 from the fires in its annual accounting. ∫∫∫

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The LEEF National Urban Environmental Education Conference is on 10 February.  You can book a place here.  The final programme of workshops and panelists has been released, and you can access it here.  The following workshops are being held:

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There is a free Prize Giving event at Regent’s College, London to celebrate winners of the Green Stories Writing competitions so far, provide details of upcoming competitions and provide opportunities to network with industry professionals.

Green Stories Writing Competitions are a free set of competitions with prizes, open to all.  Writers are asked to write stories that present positive visions of what a sustainable society might look like, or integrate green characters, policies, solutions etc. in the backdrop of an otherwise mainstream story.  Upcoming deadlines include Interactive Fiction (3/2/2020), Flash Fiction (21/3/2020), Screenplay (18/4/2020), QuiBi – 8 min episodes (23/5/2020), adult novel (2/6/2020) and Children’s stories (14/9/2020).

A writer’s workshop on 1st and 2nd February 2020 is being hosted at the University of Southampton by two of the judges of the series of green stories writing competitions to generate ideas.  ∫∫∫

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Ashden holding is a fundraising dinner in London on 12 March, and is aiming to raise £150,000 to begin its Zero Heroes LESS CO2 School Fair to help all UK schools reach zero carbon by 2030.   Tickets cost £150 and you can book here.  ∫∫∫

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London’s natural history museum has declared a planetary emergency and a new strategy to address this.  You find out more here.  ∫∫∫

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The UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) and Scottish Youth Climate Strikes (SYCS) are holding a 3 night residential conference in February to plan their long term strategy, focus on its values and principles, and develop appropriate structures.  ∫∫∫