'Don't be daunted' - Suffolk councillor says we can all do our bit as COP26 starts
- Credit: PA
Politicians in Suffolk have urged people not to be daunted by the challenge of combatting climate change as COP26 gets under way in Glasgow.
The gathering of most of the world's major leaders will look at ways to tackle climate change over the next decade.
Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for environment, Richard Rout, is calling for people to focus on the small changes that can be done at home to help make an impact.
"My first piece of advice would be to not be daunted by the scale of the challenge. It is immense and the implications of us not addressing climate change and reducing our emissions are quite pronounced, to quote the prime minister, 'pretty much apocalyptic'," said Mr Rout, deputy leader of the council.
"It's very easy to think I can't do anything on that sort of global scale, but I think it's incumbent on all of us to act.
"It's thinking about the choices we make in our day to day lives, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the food we eat, the amount of energy we consume.
"We can make really easy decisions in our own home like moving over to LED lightbulbs or a more efficient form of heating."
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COP26 wants countries to commit to accelerating the phase-out of coal, curtailing deforestation, speeding up the switch to electric vehicles and encouraging investment in renewables.
The impact of trying to become carbon neutral by 2050 can be seen in Suffolk, as East Anglia is set to be home to production of upwards of 30% of the nation's power and renewable energy generation like wind farms have already been heavily invested in.
Other programs and initiatives across the county line up with the goals such as: Business Energy Efficiency Anglia, Warm Homes Healthy People, Suffolk Solar Together, expanding the number of rural EV charging points and committing to planting 200,000 trees between this November and March 2022.
Green Party councillor Andrew Stringer acknowledges events like COP26 are a "mixture of theatre and business" and that we need less theatre and more business because the "room for error is tiny".
With regards to Suffolk, Mr Stringer believes the county needs a clearer picture on what role it will have nationally, questioning whether the county is "just a site for a lot of landing of renewables for the country".
He, along with The Green Party, also believe clean energy can be provided without the use of nuclear.
Mr Stringer called climate change "a slow burning pandemic that is turning into a fire," but believes positive outcomes can be achieved from the conference.
He thinks the Government's plan to incentivise use of heat pumps without insulating buildings is a mistake.
He added: "The unintended consequences of trying to deal with climate change are actually going to make our lives easier.
"Our homes being better insulated and warmer is not a bad thing, our homes being cooler in the summer is not a bad thing, having our air cleaner is not a bad thing."