Climate Action Festival: Harrogate eyes 'green' future

Harrogate is set to become the centre of the zero carbon revolution this weekend with the launch of the first-ever Harrogate Climate Action Festival.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 2:19 pm
Updated Friday, 1st October 2021, 2:20 pm
The team behind this months Harrogate Climate Action Festival with MP for the town, Andrew Jones

Climate experts, business leaders, senior councillors, green campaigners, community groups, artists, writers, a couple of BBC TV Springwatch presenters and the UK’s first 100% electric coach will all be converging on the town over the next three weeks of the festival.

But, on the eve of a family-friendly free launch event at Harrogate College this Saturday, the town’s MP has warned that “winning hearts and minds” was still the most crucial battle of all.

Andrew Jones MP, who will give a keynote speech on Saturday, said: “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our planet and we need greater understanding of our role in meeting that challenge as individuals, as a community and as businesses - that is why this festival is so important.

“We see extreme weather events much more frequently and whole species are under immediate threat from habitat change.

"Winning hearts and minds to the battle is crucial.

“We know that playing our part will not be without difficulty because reducing our carbon emissions and hitting our net zero aspirations cannot happen without changes to our everyday lives.

“Attending events as part of this important festival is an essential way to learn how to do that.”

In general, the arrival of Harrogate Climate Action Festival has been welcomed by all sides in the town - businesses and campaigners - who have been encouraged by this major new initiative’s focus on practical help for residents and businesses when it comes to cutting carbon emissions.

Councillor Pat Marsh, the leader of Harrogate’s Liberal Democrats, told the Harrogate Advertiser she welcomed the festival.

She said: “The Lib Dems are very pleased to see at last some positive action on Climate Change and look forward to the Climate Action Festival events.

“The events look exciting, especially looking at passive housing, energy supply, new technologies, electric cars and on the ways that we and businesses can start to change our ways and work patterns to protect the planet we all share.”

As well as Saturday’s big launch, the other flagship event will see a Net Zero Business Conference taking place at Harrogate Convention Centre in a fortnight’s time.

With a whole series of fringe events planned from October, a Walk to School Day and a Car Free Day, there is no shortage of ways for people to get involved at Harrogate Climate Action Festival.

A spokesperson for Harrogate and Knaresborough Labour Party praised the festival for being “brilliantly solutions-based” and said it, too, would be taking part in some of the events.

What exactly is COP26?

Harrogate Climate Action Festival has been carefully timed to coincide with the build-up to COP26 in the United Kingdom

Hosted by PM Boris Johnson in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, the COP26 summit will aim to accelerate action towards the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The talks will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners in an attempt to agree coordinated policies to turn carbon reduction targets into reality.

The changes may include :

- Making a faster switch to electric cars;

- Speeding up the phasing out of coal power;

- Cutting down fewer trees;

- Protecting countries from physical impact of global warming

But there have been warnings already that the summit is unlikely to result in meaningful action to restrict global heating to the required 1.5C to avoid the effects of climate change.

It’s not something to be cheered by the huge influx of environmental campaigners expected in Glasgow.