Todd Davies

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An open letter to the Prime Minister; let the UK lead from the front on climate change

01.03.2020This is an open letter to Boris Johnson, highlighting the importance of the UK's presidency of the United Nations' conference on climate change in 2020.

Dear Prime Minister,

I have a vision for the future; where foreign conflicts are solved without losing soldiers, disease is overcome before it becomes a pandemic and climate change is avoided while our economy simultaneously thrives. Where countries work together to overcome the many challenges we face across a global landscape; , addressing problems of a size and scale way beyond the capabilities of an individual nation state. All above require determined and concerted action from everybody, everywhere.

As the UK becomes more independent, and bravely ventures into the globalised world as a reinvigorated sovereign entity, these global challenges are more important than ever. Meanwhile as a country, the UK stands in a moment of both transition and renewal; release from the EU provides an opportunity for deep change, in both the UK's image of itself but also the image it projects abroad.

Thankfully, as the UK re-crafts its image, a golden opportunity is approaching; the UK's presidency of the "26th Conference of Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" in Glasgow later this year. It provides the perfect arena for the UK to showcase its solidarity, its diplomatic clout, and its international leadership in the pursuit of a better world.

At his keynote speech at the Munich Security Conference, Ex-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed optimism about the potential of the UK's COP to be as successful as the Paris conference was. Mr Ki-moon based his optimism around the UK's history as a force for good; citing the fact that the UK used its position in the UN security council to push climate change onto the agenda, and that the UK's development aid has had massive impact improving people's lives all around the world. He saw no reason for the UK's success to falter now.

Mr Ki-moon was however, less optimistic about the appetite for multilateral action around the world, and lamented its loss at length. He observed that with its COP presidency, the UK has the chance to double down on its assertions that it wants to be independent not isolated in the post-Brexit world, and lead from the front in embracing multilateralism to pull countries together, showing the world how to overcome the greatest problem of collective-action it has has ever seen.

Of course, concomitant with the responsibility of the COP presidency, comes the power to highlight issues important to the UK, and push for preferred solutions. As climate change becomes ever more important , the scope of agenda setting power conferred by the COP presidency increases too. From investment risk to national security, the effects of a changing climate are no-longer sequestered away to issues that concern only environmental politics, and will surely shape global development enormously over the next half-century.

So, Prime Minister, I'm asking you personally, be ambitious, and invest our Government's resources into making this COP a true success. Use the opportunity to bind the country together around a sustainable transition, to forge an outcome the UK can be truly proud of. Take back control, and extrapolate the values behind one-nation conservatism into a shared vision of one-world conservation. Social obligation over individualism and equity for all. Leaving a legacy for your government, and most importantly, a viable planet for future generations to thrive on.

Yours respectfully, Todd Davies