An unprecedented coalition of scientists, companies, celebrities and organisations spanning the cultural and political spectrum will today commit to slashing their carbon emissions as part of an ambitious campaign to tackle global warming.
The 10:10 campaign, which will be launched at London's Tate Modern this afternoon, aims to bolster grassroots support for tough action against global warming ahead of the key global summit in Copenhagen in December.
Those signing up for the campaign, which is supported by the Guardian, pledge to make efforts to reduce their carbon footprints by 10% during the year 2010.
Groups committed to the 10:10 cause range from Tottenham Hotspur football club, online grocer Ocado, the Tate galleries and the Women's Institute to dozens of schools, universities and NHS trusts. Four of the major energy companies, British Gas owner Centrica, E.ON, EDF and Scottish and Southern, have promised to help customers hit their 10:10 targets by providing information on how their energy use compares with past consumption.
The campaign is backed by public figures ranging from the climate change expert Lord Stern to Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox, chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Delia Smith, screenwriter Richard Curtis, directors Richard Eyre and Mike Figgis, designers Nicole Farhi and Vivienne Westwood, TV presenter Kevin McCloud and actors including Samantha Morton, Jason Isaacs, Pete Postlethwaite, Colin Firth and Tamsin Greig.
A clutch of Britain's most eminent artists including Anish Kapoor, who has produced a special cover for today's G2, Anthony Gormley and Gillian Wearing, have pledged to cut their emissions as have several literary heavyweights including Ian McEwan, Sarah Waters, Irvine Welsh, Anthony Horowitz, Antony Beevor, Ali Smith, Carol Ann Duffy and Andrew Motion.
The campaign organisers, led by Franny Armstrong, the film-maker behind The Age of Stupid, hope 10:10 could replicate the way the 2005 Make Poverty History (MPH) movement captured the public imagination and helped to drive political change on debt relief. The 10:10 campaigners will distribute signature metal tags made from melted-down aircraft.
Armstrong said: "After every screening of The Age of Stupid people came up to me and asked what they could do. I was saying very generic stuff and I thought we needed a better 'here's what you can do'. Hence 10:10."
She said the campaign aimed to convince Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, to take the significant step of committing Britain to slash its emissions by as close to 10% as possible by the end of next year. The campaign will be officially launched with a massive sign-up event and free concert at the Tate Modern gallery in London.
Armstrong said: "Once we've got a critical mass of support we will go to the government and say the people of Britain are ready to cut by 10%, now we need you to move. If Ed Miliband could go to Copenhagen and say Britain is going to step forward and start cutting as quickly as the science demands, that could potentially break the deadlock in the international negotiations."
The December talks in Copenhagen aim to agree a successor to the Kyoto protocol and are widely viewed as the last chance for humanity to get to grips with soaring greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists warn that temperatures could soar across the globe by a catastrophic 6C or more by the end of the century.
Kevin Anderson, the head of the Tyndall Centre on Climate Change Research, one of the leading scientists backing the campaign said: "A widespread acknowledgment of the scale of the challenge coupled with meaningful actions will provide a political mandate for effective low-carbon polices that it is difficult for decision-makers to ignore."
Chris Rapley, the head of the Science Museum in London, said: "What's unprecedented about this is that it's an attempt at an harmonious coalition between people, politicians and organisations. We know Copenhagen is going to be really, really tough and we can't leave this all to the politicians."
Some experts warned it was not realistic for Britain to aim for a 10% emissions cut by 2010.
Brian Hoskins, the head of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, who sits on the government's climate change committee, said: "This is a good idea for individuals, but 10% cuts by next year would be very difficult for Britain and could be problematic. It could encourage short-term measures rather than proper long-term planning."
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017