Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Holyrood hosts climate conference

Bangladesh flood
The event heard from delegates from low-lying countries such as Bangladesh

An ocean explorer has warned that any plans to tackle climate change would not succeed unless the next generation was engaged with the issue.

Dr David Guggenheim, an explorer and submarine pilot, made the claims at a climate change conference hosted by Holyrood's environment committee.

Experts gathered to give their views on Scotland's climate change bill, which is going through parliament.

Delegates also discussed the key climate-change issues around the world.

Among them were representatives from low-lying countries such as Bangladesh and the Maldives, which fear catastrophic flooding.

The event was opened by Dr Guggenheim, who warned about the effect of climate change on the world's oceans - and the importance of a plan to tackle the problem.

'Good news'

However, he told delegates: "If we don't engage the next generation successfully, as we move ahead, this plan in whatever form won't succeed."

But he said that despite the difficulties, he retained "great hope" for the future.

"In engaging that next generation, the good news is that even the ones who have never seen the ocean, they love it, and they really care about the environment," he said.

"It's up to us to make sure that we continue that work ahead with them."

The conference also heard from Ibnu Najib, from Edinburgh University's carbon management programme, whose native Indonesia - an archipelago of 17,000 islands - was losing many of these.

Its forests - the third largest in the world - are also in danger, he told delegates.

'Major worry'

"The impact of climate change is happening now - it's not decades or centuries away," he said.

Fellow student Lilian Rushaigo said many climate change impacts were already apparent in her home country of Tanzania.

Rising sea levels are a major worry, she said, in coastal areas of Tanzania and Kenya.

"Some family homes, fish markets, and beachfront hotels have literally been swept away," she said.

Scotland's own climate change minister, Stewart Stevenson, made a speech about his climate change bill to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, which he claims is the best in the world.



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