Reading schools’ Climate Conference
Reading schools take over climate negotiations in a mock COP26 conference.
The Reading Schools’ Model Climate Conference event on Wednesday November 10 2021 will see pupils from six local secondary schools seek to generate what has so far eluded world leaders: international scale-up of global ambition to limit dangerous global warming.
School children from six local schools will take on the role of negotiating teams during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in the Civic Offices’ Council Chambers. They are Bulmershe School; Highdown School; Kendrick School; Maiden Erlegh School in Reading; King’s Academy Prospect and Reading School.
They will form teams representing a diverse mix of 15 developed and developing countries attending COP26 - including Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Kenya, the Marshall Islands, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, UK and USA. Putting forward policy positions using carefully chosen arguments in a conference debate model that mirrors the real life UN negotiations, the students will agree on a set of resolutions on key themes.
The conference will also feature a ‘Climate Question Time’, where young people will be invited to put forward their questions and contributions to a panel made up of local decision makers, a local business and an environmental organisation. The session will end with pledges for actions, including ways to make the most difference in school.
The Mayor of Reading, Councillor David Stevens – will open the Conference, welcoming the students to the centre of local decision making. Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport and Reading Borough Council’s Head of Climate Strategy Peter Moore will join the Climate Question Time panel, along with speakers from the Youth Parliament, Thames Water and Nature Nurture.
The Reading Schools’ Model Climate Conference is organised by charity InterClimate Network, sponsored by Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP) and hosted by Reading Borough Council.
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport said “This annual event is always truly inspiring where young people from across Reading show their passion for the environment and tackling climate change.”
“Climate change is of course one of the most significant challenges we face and the schools’ Climate Conference will help to inform, inspire, and empower young people to make a positive difference for their futures – and importantly influence and inspire their networks.”
“Young people are pressing for change to every aspect of our lives in response to the climate crisis. The schools’ Climate Conference provides an invaluable opportunity to listen to them and help them develop plans to make change happen.”
Tracey Rawling Church, co-chair of the Reading Climate Change Partnership said “The Reading Schools’ Model Climate Conference provides a valuable opportunity for young people to understand the issues around climate change by participating in negotiations, bringing to life the complex relationships between the challenges faced by different nations at different stages of industrialisation and with different needs and priorities.”
“It has become a fixture in Reading’s academic calendar and we are delighted to support it – especially so this year when Reading Climate Action Network will be participating at COP26 in Glasgow, where the Model Climate Conference will be one of the activities we will showcase.”
Professor Tim Dixon, co-chair of the Reading Climate Change Partnership said “The COP Glasgow talks provide a real opportunity to do things differently, but global leaders must still be made aware of the actions that need to be taken right now.”
“As the University of Reading’s recent Climate Education Summit has shown, our schools and our school students have a crucial role to play in helping inform the debate and real action on climate change. This exciting debate gives young people across Reading the opportunity to help drive climate change action and highlights the continued importance of acting locally but thinking globally.”
Michila Critchley Programme Manager, InterClimate Network said “MockCOPs are a vital way for young people to learn about how world leaders coordinate to take international action on climate change. At this event, young people from across Reading will show that global consensus on addressing the climate crisis is both possible and essential to protect all of our futures. We sincerely hope that talks in the last week of COP26 follow their lead and commit to real action.”
The Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP) is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder group including representatives from business, community groups and statutory authorities, originally established in 2008 as part of the Reading Local Strategic Partnership. The Council is an active partner in RCCP.
InterClimate Network’s Climate Voices programme, funded primarily through grants provided by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, has a track-record of inspiring youth voices and advocacy on climate change through its long-running model climate conferences in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Reading, Solihull, Liverpool and West London, alongside other work inspiring youth climate voices and action in schools through workshops, resources and action surveys. Find out more at https://interclimate.org/climate-voices/
Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) has a strong record of encouraging environmental education in Reading and will be promoting the Schools Climate Conference in November. BFfC employs a climate change lead practitioner to work closely with schools to support environmental education in the classroom. Working in partnership with the Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCPP) to produce the termly Reading School Eco Newsletter which offers free teaching resources and ways of making green learning fun.
BFfC ran the first Reading-wide climate change conference for headteachers in November 2019 to encourage schools to train up UN-accredited climate change teachers. BFfC also supported a national Youth Climate Summit involving Reading schools in November last year.
The Council Chamber will be monitored throughout the event in order to ensure adequate ventilation.