Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

PM pushes for young climate change advisors

by Aakash, 15, and Annie, 15
for BBC News School Report

Young reporters Aakash and Annie with Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband and audience member Rose at a young person's event in central London
Reporters Aakash and Annie flank Ed Miliband and interrogator Rose

Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled plans for young people to be at the heart of Government climate change policy.

Mr Brown, who was speaking at a young person's question and answer event in central London, announced that the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) would have youth advisors for the first time.

Top DECC Minister Ed Miliband, who sat alongside the PM, had earlier promised to look into youth advisors in his department but admitted plans were still on the drawing board.

When questioned by audience member Rose, 16, on this idea, Mr Miliband said DECC had been "looking into this," at which point Mr Brown cut in and said: "You should just do it!"

Mr Miliband added: "We will have to get going on it but it won't be before Copenhagen, afterwards we'll get on with it."

Pressure

Rose met the Secretary of State last September and asked if DECC would listen to the views of young people.

She said: "I wanted to know why other Government departments and other organisations have youth boards but his didn't - climate change will determine our future.

"He said to me 'Yeah, yeah that's a great idea' but it seemed that progress was a little slow. So I asked him again today and the outcome was the best response to a question I have ever had.

"It's great news that young people will get a chance to be heard on climate change and I am definitely going to chair that board - I hope!"

Youth participation was one of many topics debated at the event for young people in the run-up to Copenhagen.

Activists

Young people also raised their concerns on issues such as Carbon Capture and Storage, flooding in Bangladesh and how to support poorer countries as they face the devastating effects of climate change.

The Prime Minister praised young people for campaigning on climate change and said their efforts were "essential" to save the planet.

He said: "I get more letters and emails about climate change than any other issue. There is a real pressure from young people to do something about it.

"Young people are not just the audience - you are the activists. When millions of people come together, we can make a real difference."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband will both be attending the conference in Copenhagen which begins on 7 December.


Read a profile of the authors Aakash and Annie, who will be reporting for BBC News School Report from Copenhagen. They are attending the second week of the summit with development charity Plan UK, when Ed Miliband has already agreed to give a second interview. To see what else he said, watch him being quizzed by Aakash and Annie via the link on the right hand side of this page.

The climate change reporters are also keen to hear from other young people, so they can put their comments and questions to the leaders at the conference.

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