Today’s BBC Breakfast was hosted by Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty and one topic being discussed was the demonstrations taking place across 60 British towns and cities over, what the young generation see as the government’s inaction over global warning.
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Joining them in the studio was 13-year-old George, an environmental campaigner to discuss the movement, as well as the Energy Minister Claire Perry who was on a live video link from Cambridge.
Stayt and Munchetty allowed their guest to ask Perry his questions directly, but the MP got a little too carried away with answering and the hosts stepped in to take control and steer the interview.
“George, you’ve done a lot of research on this stuff haven’t you?” Stayt asked and then continued: “So what I’m going to say is, would you like to ask the Energy Minister a question.”
Viewers then saw the young campaigner step up and say: “What action will you be taking to reassure our generation about climate change? Because in the end it’s going to be us that are going to have to live with your decision.”
“The UK was the first country to wake up to this,” Perry began and added: “ten years ago we passed a piece of legislation in Parliament, The Climate Change Act, we were the first country to do that.”
The Energy Minister then continued for a few minutes, but failed to answer Perry’s initial question and that’s when Stayt stepped in.
“Minister, if I may, I’m going to chip in because George is very polite,” he said before turning to George and saying: “Ministers sometimes talk for a long time and don’t let people ask questions.”
“Well really I wanted to [ask] what sort of numbers are we aspiring to be in the future?” He said.
After apologising for rambling off topic, Perry replied: “Our current plans are to cut our carbon emissions by 80 percent.
“We know we’ve got to cut those carbon emissions but we also need to take carbon out of the systems, best way to do that is to plant trees and change the way we farm the landscape.”
It was then Munchetty’s turn to hold the Minister accountable regarding the figures she gave and she gently interrupted her remarking: “Minister. Sorry, sorry for interrupting it’s Munchetty here.
“It’s great to have targets, all like to hear targets and as George said we want to hear some numbers. Problem is we hear all these targets and hear all these numbers and we don’t get there, were not given guarantees when they’re going to be achieved.
“That’s why George and hundreds of other kids are going out today, taking a day off school and saying ‘we don’t think you’re doing enough for us, because we just hear lots of numbers and words, we don’t actually see it making a difference to our lives’.”
Finally explaining the answer to George’s original question, Perry commented: “Again to chuck a couple of things we can do is move our energy system away from coal and towards renewable energy, we’ve done that in the UK we’re up to over 30% from renewables.
“The world’s biggest wind farm is opening off the shores of Yorkshire, these turbines are bigger than the Gherkin and there will be almost 200 hundred of them. Enough power for million homes, we are delivering.
“But look, I completely accept what George feels, and I feel very strong, we’ve got to do more and the world has got to do more. One country is not going to solve this problem on its own.”
The demonstrations taking place today have been inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who has been missing school every Friday to protest outside the Swedish parliament.
The UK strikes have been organised by a coalition of YouthStrike4Climate, the UK Student Climate Network and the UK Youth Climate Coalition to demand action from the British Government.