YOUNG climate activists put councillors, scientific advisors, and even a top Oxfam worker on the spot at Oxford's first youth climate summit.

On Saturday, climate activists EJ Fawcett, Linnet Drury and Dexter Twycross were joined by Labour MP for Oxford East Anneliese Dodds and academics on a video call to discuss how Oxford could help to tackle global climate change.

Ms Dodds answered the young activists’ questions about how they could get their message across to politicians in Parliament, saying: “I think they have a moral obligation to listen.”


Education and youth advisor from Oxfam John McLaverty turned the focus away from Oxfordshire and the UK and moved to discuss the climate injustices in the 'Global South' – the world's poorest countries.

He said: “Climate change is starting to impact us in the UK, but right now humankind is not in this crisis together and that is a really big problem. People around the world who have done the very least to cause the crisis are the ones who are literally taking the heat, the droughts, the storms.”

Oxford’s young climate activists also heard from young people in the developing world campaigning for climate justice in a video made by Oxfam.

Ugandan university student Hilda Flavia Nakabaye urged Oxford youth to think about the decisions they made, warning that other countries suffer injustice because of 'selfish decisions'.


Myles Allen, a professor at Oxford University, debated transport solutions and problems with the young people, focusing on adjusting behaviour.

He looked at the backlashes that can arise from banning combustion engine cars for electric and hybrid cars, however, he did support low emission zones.

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He also highlighted the environmental impact of academic conferences and said that the combined distance each person attending the conference travels can be equal to the distance of a round trip to the sun.


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The summit was partly co-produced by the young participants who were invited to vote on the topic that they wanted to discuss within the summit itself, which was buildings and renewable energy.


At the end of the conference, Professor Nick Eyre – newly-appointed scientific advisor to Oxford City Council – discussed cutting individual energy needs and behavioural changes as well as infrastructure problems with energy efficiency in Oxford’s old buildings.

Linnet Drury responded by suggesting schools should have a lower carbon footprint and raised concern over loss of energy and heat due to Covid restrictions such as leaving windows open.

Closing the session, councillor Tom Hayes said the council wanted to work with young people to make 'human decisions' about the climate.