The British Council announced the launch yesterday (1 March) of a global campaign to raise public awareness of climate change. The campaign will focus on cities — their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and practical ways they can reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The nearly US$8 million campaign, called ZeroCarbonCity, will involve activities in more than 100 cities in 60 countries, from Cuba to China. Its organisers expect it will reach six to eight million people.
"Cities occupy a pivotal position in terms of climate change, both as major energy consumers and as centres of new thinking and policy innovation," said Neil Kinnock, chair of the British Council at the launch of the campaign.
"International links of understanding and action can be built between cities, even when states cannot agree."
ZeroCarbonCity will organise public debates on the effects and science of climate change, a travelling photographic exhibition, and an online debate on the politics of climate change, including how the science is presented and understood.
The exhibition, called NorthSouthEastWest, will launch on 14 March and will travel to 60 countries between 2005 and 2006.
The online debate will start in April and will run until the G8 summit of most industrialised countries, in July this year.
"We want to get people thinking about the choices they make and their consequences, both at a local level and at a global level," says Lloyd Anderson, director of science for the British Council.
Anderson says policymakers must also play a role in preparing cities for climate change. To this end, panel discussions with policymakers will be organised and the campaign will seek to create networks of city planners around the world to share their solutions.
According to Kinnock, the strength of the campaign is that it "offers answers being implemented now as well as analysis" of the science of climate change and the current situation.
Electric cars that emit only water are an example of existing urban solutions to climate change, says the British Council. One example called 'Chao Yue I', developed in 2003 by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation and the Tongju University, is expected to reach the streets of Shanghai, China, later this year.
Read more about climate change in SciDev.Net's Climate change dossier.