Justin Rowlatt, BBC Chief Environment Correspondent - 30 September 2019
This week’s speaker, Justin Rowlatt, was the Chief Environment Correspondent of the BBC and his approach to this assembly was an engaging Q&A session on climate change, science, politics and other issues of interest to a young adult audience. One of the hot topics of the Q&A was the recent impact of the popular “climate marches” run by students across the globe, which drove the discussion towards the influential Greta Thunberg. Mr Rowlatt had recently interviewed her with what he described as “tough” and “interrogative” questions. He made note of how her responses were “composed”, he displayed clear admiration of her resolve, as many of us surely do too. He also told us that, notwithstanding the BBC’s impartiality rules, the BBC doesn’t have to allow climate change deniers equal voice as the science has been proved.
The Q&A didn’t go without a surprise or two over other hot contemporary topics, and as all discussions eventually seem to go nowadays, we got onto Brexit. Interestingly Mr Rowlatt made the point of the positive implications that Brexit could have, it could further the independent actions Britain could take in regards to achieving a zero carbon policy, although he wouldn’t be pushed into declaring his own personal view about Brexit. However, perhaps more surprisingly, was his anecdote of the UN environment conference, which Greta Thunberg had attended. After her “How dare you” speech, all world leaders were to state what action they were taking to tackle climate change, but only one mentioned the protests and marches held by students and Greta. To our surprise it was “our” own Boris Johnson. Whatever your opinion of him may be, to this I say kudos to you Boris.
Someone asked ‘Is it possible for the individual to make a difference?’ to which he replied yes, to an extent but that fundamentally it was all about global cooperation and the right government policies.
As a whole this ‘climate assembly’ was one of the most engaging and thought provoking assemblies we’ve had.