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COP27 is taking place in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, but what can we expect from the annual United Nations climate change conference?

07 November 2022

COP27 is taking place in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, but what can we expect from the annual United Nations climate change conference? If last year’s gathering of global leaders in Glasgow is our guide, then very little.

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming - and it is increasingly being played out in front of our own eyes. The planet is warming up from human activity and it is leading to extreme weather, rising sea levels, threats to bio-diversity and the food chain and climate refugees.

2022, along with the previous seven years is on track to be among the eight hottest years on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Yet, the urgency is not reflected in global leadership.

Despite widespread condemnation, the world’s largest and wealthiest economies failed to make commitments to keep planetary warming to a recommended maximum of 1.5°C at COP26 last year. And so, it is little wonder that studies have found there is a rising trend of “eco-anxiety” among young people.

Yet hope is not lost! In recent weeks, I have attended four events that provide grounds for optimism away from political leadership.

The Sports Positive Summit at Wembley, the British Sustainable Sport Awards at Chelsea FC and the Sustainability in Sport Summit hosted by Loughborough University at Lord’s Cricket Ground all gathered the leaders of climate action in sport and the Blue Earth Summit in Bristol and the Ashden Awards at the Royal Geographical Society showcased the best in sustainable innovation.

At each event, there was a strong sense of taking action from the grassroots upwards – that is where change will be driven. In taking climate action, we cannot wait for global leadership to align.

This academic year, Planet Earth Games Trust has once again teamed up with Association of Colleges Sport and Pearson BTEC to empower colleges and learners to enact climate action on campus and in their communities.

Planet Earth Games – Colleges will see each participating college be given their own “Event in a box” with full guidance on how to deliver sustainable activities locally. Each college will appoint a learner as their “Climate Champion” to lead on organising the event, with full support from the award-winning Planet Earth Games team.

It is part of a wider event that will see national and regional winners decided ahead of Earth Day in April 2023.

For your college to take part, please complete the expression of interest form here and join a special information session on Tuesday 15 November to see how your college can champion climate action.