The Climate Justice Project: A Student-Led campaign for Contraction and Convergence
The world has a carbon budget that it must stick to in order to avoid climate chaos. When distributed on an equitable basis these emissions, increasingly visualised as purple balloons in the UK thanks to the Carbon Coach represent the rights we have to the atmosphere.
One person, one balloon.
That is the simple message that a newly formed British group has been formed to promote.
We don't currently know the size that these 'balloons' should be but best guesses range from 1-2 tonnes of co2 per person, this will decrease as the global population increases.
This simple idea, everyone has an equal right to the atmosphere, has been developed into a framework known as Contraction and Convergence.
This new campaign, started at Oxford University has initially been rolled out to 60 universities across the country who are all putting forward motions at there student unions in support of the framework.
Oxford Students Launch National Campaign to Tackle Climate Change
8th February 2007
Today, Oxford students put aside their books to concentrate on what they believe is the only real solution to global warming. The national “Climate Justice Project” went online today at www.climatejustice.org.uk, representing the first step of a groundbreaking new student campaign. It is rallying student support for “Contraction and Convergence”, the world-famous model for international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions which has already received the support of 5 of Britain’s 7 political parties not to mention the European Parliament, India, China and the African Group of Nations.1
Quite simply, “C&C” rests on the principles that every person on the planet has an equal right to emit carbon dioxide, but a safe limit needs to be set. Thus, an equal CO2 allocation is assigned to each person, with allowance for trading, and over time this allocation reduces so CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is kept to a safe level. The “Climate Justice Project” will unite pan-university support with the aim of gaining NUS endorsement and pressure on students’ MPs to pass C&C legislation. “It seems that Contraction and Convergence is the best possible response to climate change, in a way that is equitable and practical for all parties involved. We’re uniting student voices into a clear message to which the government will have to listen,” said Vrinda Manglik, a campaign co-ordinator.
Oxford University is already a world pioneer of climate change research and runs off green electricity, whilst Oxford city leads the way in climate change activism, so the students hope that their campaign will be a pace-setter in the same way, And it’s already happening. Councillor Matt Sellwood, who is Deputy Leader of the Oxford City Council Green Group, and a former student, commented: “It is great to see students standing up for the rights of those most affected by climate change.... Contraction and Convergence is the best way forward, and this campaign is another example of grassroots action making a difference.” It was a group of Cardiff students that created the impressive website (www.climatejustice.org.uk) and on 2nd February the LSE student union passed a motion supporting C&C; meanwhile, groups are springing up in Edinburgh and Durham. The UK itself has set the global agenda on climate change and sustainable development, and the example of students in the UK will surely ripple outwards as the world searches for a ‘post-Kyoto’ solution.
Given that the worst effects of climate change will fall on the next generation, the student voice is fundamental to finding the solution. These students say they’ve already found it: now they’ve going to make it a reality.
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