It is crucial that world leaders take decisive action to protect our planet

Kate Osborne MPs latest column for the Shields Gazette

THIS Sunday the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow as the city hosts the hugely important United Nations’ Climate Change conference also known as COP26. 

COP26 – which runs until November 12th, will be an incredibly important moment, not just for the UK, but for the whole world.

These talks are a real opportunity for global leaders to reach agreements that reduce emissions, provide climate assistance to countries in need, phase out non-renewable energy and improve rainforest protection.

In 2015, representatives from 196 nations and territories gathered in Paris to create a landmark plan to mitigate climate change.  That ambition is in real danger of being missed, and it’s crucial that when world leaders meet in Glasgow, they take decisive action to protect the planet.

The truth is COP26 will have a massive impact on us and on generations to come. The science is clear, if we don’t tackle the climate crisis, the planet will face devastating consequences.

Here in the North East, as part of COP26, next week South Tyneside Council will be hosting a week of climate change activities for the community, businesses and schools across the borough.  The Climate Summit Week will run from Monday 1st November to Friday 5th  November.

In addition, South Tyneside Labour Councillors put forward a Motion to Full Council recently to mark COP26 and call on the UK Government to make available support to local councils as they take on climate change.

Multi-million-pound schemes such as the Hebburn Minewater Project are proving the Council’s commitment to combating climate change by investing in green energy solutions.

South Tyneside Council has also set a target to be carbon neutral by 2030. In June, the Council ran a Climate Change Week of Action, which saw a range of activities happening in classrooms across the Borough to highlight the challenges around climate change.

If we want a greener and more sustainable future across our local communities then we need to work closely with the next generation as this is an issue that will also heavily affect them too.

I have been in contact with schools across the Jarrow Constituency to gather ideas from pupils and find out what changes they plan to make in their own lives to combat climate change, and what they expect the Government to be doing to combat climate change.  In the next few weeks, I will be expanding the campaign and reaching out to community groups and organisations. All of the ideas and thoughts gathered throughout the campaign will then be raised with the Prime Minister.

I hope that my Crusade Against Climate Change campaign will help involve our communities as we aim to move forward to a greener, more sustainable way.

While big businesses are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, we can all take steps as individuals to affect change. If we take these individual steps collectively, we can, as a community reduce our impact on the environment.

So, I will be watching the events unfold at COP26 closely, hoping the world leaders assembled there to recognise the gravity of the situation. I’m proud of what we are doing locally to try and make a positive difference, but these efforts must now be matched on a global scale.

Now is the time for real action.