Climate change a hot topic at town summit

One hundred people from the north of the county were chosen to represent the UK in a global climate change summit on Saturday.

Residents from Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire joined people from 38 countries to gather public opinion on global warming in preparation for the UN's Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December.

The day-long event at Kettering Conference Centre saw the Northamptonshire volunteers discuss four themes of climate change – the urgency of the climate change crisis, levels for cutting carbon emissions, funding of emission cuts and ideas for alternative methods for reducing carbon – and vote on each.

In the first vote, 58 out of the 100 said they knew something about climate change, 46 said they were very concerned and 40 said they were fairly concerned.

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Simon Burall, director of Involve, which ran the UK leg of the World Wide Views on Global Warming event, said: "We were looking for people who aren't professionally involved in the environment and haven't had a way of getting their voices heard.

"In December world leaders are going to be making decisions on what we are going to do about climate change. These decisions are going to affect all of us.

"The voice that is missing at the Copenhagen conference is citizens and it is us who are going to have to take action.

"We chose Kettering because it goes some way to representing the voices of Britain. I was very impressed with how deeply people were engaging at the event. It went really well."

Groups of 100 residents from nations including Malawi, Cameroon, Indonesia, Bolivia, Sweden, Australia and America gathered simultaneously to register their views.

As part of the process, Kettering spoke live via video link to the other summits in Australia, Sweden and America.

With the time difference, the Australian event was coming to an end as the British one was starting. Stuart White, from the Institute for Sustainable Futures, addressed the Northamptonshire residents live from Sydney to tell them how the event went on the other side of the world.

He said: "Everyone's been extremely pleased with the way it's gone and we wish the UK all the best on what it's about to embark on."

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The UN's Copenhagen Climate Change Conference takes in December 7 to 18.