Interview with Climate Lead Matthew Bird

, 01 October 2021
Interview with Climate Lead Matthew Bird
Matthew Bird © Miles Davies

Tell us a bit about you and your role at Sussex Wildlife Trust

I was brought in to help coordinate the trust's Net Zero carbon approach and to develop our climate change strategy. It follows on from the work that was carried our by the Living Lightly team within the Trust. Funding for my post came through The Wildlife Trusts from the People's Postcode Lottery, to support carbon reduction work.    

Can you briefly explain what COP 26 is?

It's a global climate change conference happening from 1 - 12 November in Glasgow, attended by the world's leaders. It's especially important because the UK are hosting this year.

It follows on from the Paris climate talks in 2015. COP 26 is almost certainly the last chance we have to get all world leaders to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. If we continue with existing policies, we are facing a 2-4 degree temperature rise by the end of the century. It really is that important.

Is there one outcome you’d like to see?

Yes, to get a binding agreement from all world leaders from China, US, UK, Europe and Asia, to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. Anything above this will mean significant changes to our biodiversity and landscapes as we face increasing frequencies of extreme weather in a warming world.

Explain Net Zero

Sussex Wildlife Trust has committed to reducing carbon emissions as an organisation to net zero carbon by 2030. Our approach is to reduce carbon production as much as possible before we consider actions such as offsetting.

The Government has a Net Zero strategy, as do local authorities and other organisations, but we are all working to a different time frames, for example the Government are saying Net Zero by 2050.

Tell us about the series of webinars you're putting on

The webinars are looking at the big challenge for COP 26 through a nature and wildlife lens. In the summer, the Committee of Climate Change did a national risk assessment looking at how prepared the UK is for climate change. Out of eight key areas, four are about wildlife, nature and biodiversity. So we need to look at these in detail.  

There will be four, free, hour-ong webinars - these two are already bookable: 

What do we need COP 26 to be?

07 October 2021 7,30pm

Carbon and Nature

14 October 2021 7.30pm

Plus there will be one on Climate Resilience and the final one will be after COP 26 on 18th November, where we will examine where we've got to in the light of what was agreed. All Sussex Wildlife Trust webinars are posted here 

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