Joining together online to tackle climate change

Boris Palmer, Mayor of Tübingen in Germany, centre, collects a European Energy Award in 2018 Credit: Martin Stollberg, Umweltministerium Baden-Württemberg
Boris Palmer, Mayor of Tübingen in Germany, centre, collects a European Energy Award in 2018 Credit: Martin Stollberg, Umweltministerium Baden-Württemberg

Climate change and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on travel and work will be the focus of a virtual meeting spanning three countries next week.

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, Boris Palmer, Mayor of Tübingen in Germany and Christopher Taylor, Mayor of Ann Arbor in Michigan in the US will share plans and discuss their joint desire to tackle change and reduce carbon emissions.

They will also explore how the global coronavirus pandemic has forced reconsideration of some ways of working and travel, and what this means for the environment.

Members of the public can follow the discussion by logging onto the webinar on Zoom at 7pm on Wednesday 24 June. Each civic leader will present for 15 minutes, followed by 25 minutes of questions from the chairperson. The meeting will then be opened for public questions, which can by posed using the chat function on Zoom.

Durham was recently voted Britain’s greenest city by solar technology specialists, The Solar Centre, which researched Government data to rank cities based on ten credentials, including waste management, air quality, carbon emissions and green spaces.

In February 2019, the council declared a climate emergency, adopting a new target of being 60 per cent carbon neutral by 2030, as well as pledging to explore ways to become 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2050.

Tübingen has been twinned with County Durham since 1969 and shares the same passion for protecting the environment. Mayor Palmer has ambitious plans to make Tübingen Germany’s first carbon neutral city and is a strong supporter of the city’s environmental campaign, Tübingen Macht Blau.

Like Durham and Tübingen, Ann Arbor is also a university city with impressive carbon reduction credentials. Mayor Taylor declared a climate emergency in November 2019 and launched a plan to make the city carbon neutral by 2030 under the title A2Zero.

Cllr Henig said: “Climate change is a global issue and we all have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce carbon emissions.

“I am really looking forward to sharing our plans for County Durham with our friends in Tübingen and Ann Arbor and finding out the steps they are taking in their communities.

“The virtual meeting will be an opportunity for us to meet without increasing our carbon footprint and to share ideas and experiences.

“It will also provide a chance for residents to find out more about our environmental commitments and to ask questions, so I would encourage anyone who is interested to log on.”

The virtual event is free to join following online registration with the National League of Cities. This is a US organisation similar to the UK’s Local Government Association. Please note the start time on the website is given as 2pm Eastern Standard Time, which is 7pm in the UK.

Guests will be able to view the discussion and presentations and post comments or questions via a moderated chat facility. The presentations and signpost of further information will be available after the event.

To register, visit https://www.nlc.org/event/a-carbon-neutral-future-for-cities

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