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Oxford City Council to hold Youth Climate Summit on how city can tackle the climate emergency

Oxford City Council to hold Youth Climate Summit on how city can tackle the climate emergency. Image: Scene from a youth climate change protest.
Scene from a youth climate change protest

Oxford City Council will be holding its first Youth Climate Summit on Saturday 28 November.

The event will support Oxford’s young people to learn more about climate breakdown and its impacts on the Global South, explore the topic of lobbying for change and inform the Council’s plans on climate action.

The summit will bring together young people from the city to discuss the issue of the global climate emergency in Oxford. They will hear perspectives from young people in the Global South, a world-leading Oxford scientist and Scientific Adviser to the Council, and local and national UK politicians.

The summit is an online event for young people (age 19 and under), who live or study in Oxford, to be a part of the discussion about how the city tackles the global climate emergency at a local level. The event will take place from 10:00am - 12:00pm and is to be broadcast on the Council’s YouTube channel.

The summit will partly be co-produced by Oxford’s young participants who will be invited to vote on the topic that they wish to discuss within the summit itself.

In holding the Summit, Oxford City Council is helping to uphold Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which says the opinions of children and young people should be considered when people make decisions about things that involve them. Article 12 also says children and young people should be given the information they need to make good decisions.

The summit will extend the Council’s commitment to hold new types of democratic discussions involving people with the broadest representation of views and backgrounds, following the Citizens Assembly on Climate Change held in 2019. The City Council committed to hosting a summit in its response to Oxford’s Citizens’ Assembly’s Final Report.

Who is involved

The summit will include workshops and Q&A sessions, and is also an opportunity for young people to hear about climate breakdown from some of the world’s leading experts and young climate campaigners from the Global South in a session facilitated by Oxfam. It also provides an opportunity for the Council to understand young people’s ideas and vision on the issues.

Young people will also have the chance to learn what they can do about it from some of the city’s most prominent figures.

The event will feature discussions lead by

  • Linnet Drury, EJ Fawcett, and other climate campaigners with Oxford Youth Strike
  • Anneliese Dodds MP for Oxford East and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Professor Nick Eyre Scientific Advisor to Oxford City Council, and Professor of Energy and Climate Policy at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford
  • Councillor Tom Hayes Oxford City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Zero Carbon Oxford and Green Transport

The council has sought to involve a diverse range of participants and viewpoints from all parts of the city, especially those who so far have not been involved in the climate debate.

The council has worked with its Youth Ambition team to make sure voices that too often go unheard in key debates are included as summit participants.

Watch the Oxford City Youth Climate Summit event live

The event will be streamed live on the City Council’s Youtube channel at 10.00am on Saturday 28 November.

Members of the public will be able to watch the event live, with no sign up required.

Take part in the Youth Climate Summit

The City Council is encouraging young people to get involved in the Youth Climate Summit and ask a question during the summit. Those who are interested in submitting a question can do this on the Council’s Eventbrite site.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford said: “Young people today have contributed the least to climate breakdown. Nationally, they have fewer rights and opportunities to participate in the decision-making that affects them. However, residents’ children and grandchildren will face the worst effects of climate breakdown throughout their lifetimes. The summit is a new type of democratic discussion, one which builds on our Citizens’ Assembly, to directly shape the Council’s new Zero Carbon strategy.

“As someone who used to lead Oxfam’s UK climate campaign, I’m particularly thrilled that Oxford’s international aid agency will unite the youth of Oxford and the youth of the Global South. Climate breakdown is a global problem that deepens poverty and inequality for the world’s poorer countries, and Oxford’s climate action will help the youth of our own city and the wider world.”

EJ Fawcett, UK Student Climate Network Oxford said: “Some of the most disadvantaged places in the world are already feeling the worst effects of the climate crisis and if we fail to act now, it is the youngest generation who will have to live with the consequences. Oxford is an affluent place with some of the world’s leading climate scientists - it is only right that the city take responsibility for action on climate breakdown. It is essential that young people are part of the conversation and learn the skills we need to push for change. The Oxford Youth Climate Summit will be an important part of a just and effective response to the climate emergency.”

Professor Nick Eyre, Scientific Advisor to Oxford City Council and Oxford University Professor of Energy and Climate Policy said: “My generation has failed to act sufficiently quickly or decisively to address the climate crisis. The result is that we need radial action over the next decades to reduce energy use, invest in renewable energy and use our land sustainably. This generation of young people will have to pick up that challenge. They have the right to be heard now about how we do that.”