Paul Rodgers's Letter

To my granddaughter, Orla (17 months now),

Hi Orla
I really hope the world is a good place to live in when you grow up and are in your 60s as I am now.
It has been clear since around 1990 that pollution was affecting the climate on our planet, leading to potentially catastrophic changes that would make it impossible for people to live in many parts of the world. We knew that we needed to stop using energy sources such as petrol, oil and gas that are major contributors to climate change. Already we had the technology for alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, that could replace petrol, oil and gas and so help combat climate change.
We also knew that removing trees and hedges and the use of chemicals in agriculture were harmful to the environment with numbers of birds, insects and other wildlife declining rapidly. We used plastic for everything and large quantities ended up polluting the oceans leading to a significant decline in marine life. By 1922 it was obvious we had reached a tipping point and urgent action was needed to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.
For over 30 years our governments had taken only small steps towards the changes that were needed and by 2020 we were already experiencing extreme weather events, flooding, droughts, fires - all threatening lives and our future across the planet.
For nearly three decades the United Nations has been bringing together almost every country on earth for annual global climate summits – called COPs – which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. At the time this letter was written COP27 was being held in Egypt. I hope that finally in world leaders took serious and extensive action to halt and reverse climate change. Setting targets is not enough. We need action, and that action has to be taken between 2022-2030 if you have a chance of living comfortably in your older years.
I am sorry and very sad that we didn’t start tackling this seriously 30 years ago. We didn’t and now the action has to be drastic. We can do it - but it may mean that you are unable to do some of the things your parents and grandparents could. We all have to travel less. We need to live simpler more sustainable lives in order to ensure that our children and grandchildren have a lovely world to enjoy for many years to come.
If when you read this letter in 2030 the world has not taken significant action to stop climate change then all I can say is …I’m sorry. I tried and many others tried too. I wrote to my MP regularly, I protested, I talked to people constantly about the way things needed to change. I’ve made changes to my lifestyle like switching to an electric car, using electricity produced from renewable sources, avoiding plastic use as much as possible. But in the end it wasn’t enough. And I am so very sorry. Life will be very difficult for you by the time you are my age. The world will be much hotter. You mayl be short of food and water. Mass migration will be constant as people are forced to leave parts of the world that become too difficult to live in. Sadly by 2030 it may already be too late to reverse climate change and although you are only 10 you could have a difficult life ahead.
You didn’t deserve this. Our governments should have acted responsibly between 1990 and 2030. I still hope they will.
Granddad Paul

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