That’s Ed Miliband, by the way.
The UKYD managed to get a date with the Climate and Energy Minister at 10:30pm tonight in his hotel. It meant we had to leave an international youth meeting early, and when we explained this to the group, they applauded. This is probably because Ed did his ministerial address today in the plenary session and said some good stuff. The UK is far from perfect, yet at a global level it is a champion for the climate change cause, and this brings hope to youth delegates struggling with tiresome governments.
So he bought us all beers (he drank orange juice) and spent more than an hour with us, chatting. We had been at a real low point, really finding this conference emotionally difficult (for me, to a level I haven’t experienced before in my life) and the discussion we had with Ed helped to buck our spirits a bit. He didn’t have straight answers for all our questions and I definitely think we gave him food for thought. Isabel had even prepared a Christmas stocking containing the Climate Safety report, Zero Carbon Britain report (two pieces of work that we’ve found very useful in working out our stance on climate policy)… and a satsuma.
For me, it was uplifting to see a government minister being honest and thoughtful about climate change. This guy really wants to do all he can about climate change – I don’t think I’m being naive here – he spoke very genuinely. Granted, I didn’t agree with everything he said, but he’s thinking about the problem in a constructive way.
And he wants to meet us again during the next year, in the run-up to Copenhagen!