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Wings of change

8 March 2005

In preparation for openDemocracy's forthcoming debate on the politics of climate change, campaigners and others are already wrestling with the question of what actually works. 

Could some of them take a green leaf out of the UK government's book?   The idea may not be as unlikely as it may seem once  you read this report.

BBC online reports that  Britain will announce a scheme to promote clean energy in developing countries by paying into a fund every time a minister or civil servant takes a trip by air. The idea is to offset the climate change impact of the carbon dioxide emissions from flying.

Many international campaigners are addicted to flying about all over the place too.  Should they follow suit?

A report for a coalition of development NGOs published late last year said that  progress in meeting human development goals for the world's poorest people will go   Up in Smoke unless action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas emissions is taken soon.

Does that include doing something about one's own emissions?  Andrew Simms, lead author of the report, tells oD that his organisation, the New Economics Foundation, uses the Climate Care site to offset emissions if anyone has to fly. "It's anti poverty and sustainable energy projects rather than tree planting", he says.  Andrew adds that he has also recommended this to the coalition, "who are pursuing at their own speeds".

The Working Group on Climate Change and Development includes: ActionAid International, Christian Aid, Columban Faith and Justice, IDS (Institute of Development Studies), ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group), IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development), Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, nef (new economics foundation), Operation Noah, Oxfam, People & Planet, RSPB, Tearfund, teri Europe, WWF, WaterAid and World Vision.

Are these coalition members buying into the idea of paying a little bit extra to marginally mitigate the impact of flying staff around ?  Who are the pioneers?  We'd love to hear.

openDemocracy's debate on the politics of climate change will take place from 20 April to 10 June, ahead of the G8 summit.

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Hear from:

Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

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Peter Geoghegan openDemocracy investigations editor and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Josh Rudolph Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy

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