The fact that international negotiators at the climate change negotiations in Lima have agreed that for the first time all countries should contribute to cutting greenhouse gases is a step forward for the beleaguered United Nations talks. While the ‘Lima call for climate action’ has put off many of the most difficult decisions until the crucial talks in Paris in 2015, the fact that all countries will now be required to contribute regardless of size or wealth removes one of the barriers to a climate deal. But to ‘seal the deal’ in 2015 international NGOs now need to use people power to move governments like they did with the recent climate march in New York.
Predictably most of the NGOs attending were critical of what was achieved but tried to put a brave face on it. “It’s definitely watered down from what we expected,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The countdown clock to Paris is now ticking. Countries had the chance to give themselves a head start on the road to Paris but instead have missed the gun and now need to play catch up,” said Mohammed Adow, Christian Aid’s senior climate change advisor.
My old school Lampton in Hounslow was in the news yesterday after it was visited by the Rugby World Cup Winner Lawrence Dallaglio to mark one year to the countdown of the Rugby World Cup. It reminded me that I had also visited the school but 30 years on to write an article for the Guardian on the changing face of Britain’s schools.
The racist graffiti proclaiming “Pakis Out” and “National Front” has long been airbrushed into history, but as I walk along the lane to my old school, Lampton comprehensive in Hounslow, west London, the memories come flooding back. The year is 1978 and I am a streetwise 12-year-old again, with a mop of bright red hair and dressed in a blazer two sizes too large that my mother insists I will grow into. In my satchel is my most precious possession: a record, Rat Trap, by the Boomtown Rats. By the end of my first week , the record has been shattered into a thousand pieces by a skinhead who hates “ginger nuts”, along with any illusions I had that Lampton was going to be a happy experience. READ MORE
On the 70th anniversary of his death on 19 September, Guy Gibson’s private letters have been put on public display for the first time at the Herbert Museum in Coventry. The collection of his personal items, donated by his nephew Mike Gibson, includes the private letters sent to Mike’s mother and father, a signed drawing he had done specially for Mike while at Scampton where he trained 617 squadron for the Dambusters raid, his cuff links, some photographs and a recording by the BBC’s War Correspondent, Major Richard Dimbleby, who Guy took on a sortie to Berlin.
I met Mike at an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters raid in 2013 and we became friends. I was fascinated when he showed me the letters from Guy and his other possessions as they are like gold dust to a historian. As a result we agreed it would be good to put them on display as they have never been seen in public before. The letters date from 1943 to 1944 and reveal a lot about Guy the private man. They include a wonderful drawing of Guy Gibson by the war artist Sir William Rothenstein. Guy signed the picture as a gift for Mike’s christening. The cufflinks on display were a gift from Guy’s parents when he joined the RAF in 1936. READ MORE
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