Two Christian Aid campaigners took their Cut the Carbon message to the highest level of government this week when they told the prime minister that he must act to stop climate change because the poor are suffering the most.
Mohammed Adow, 28, from Kenya and Rosalia Soley, 22, from El Salvador met Gordon Brown at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth.
They were taking time out from the charity’s 1,000 mile Climate Change protest march across Britain that began on 14 July and ends on October 2.
When he shook hands, Mohammed Adow told the British premier: "You, as prime minister of the first country to introduce a climate change bill have the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the world to follow."
Rosalia Soley told him that climate change was a global justice issue, saying it was the poorest countries that are experiencing the real impact of climate change and that it was perpetuating and increasing poverty: "Climate change is affecting the poor the most," she said.
The prime minister welcomed the marchers to Bournemouth 900 miles into their epic 1000 mile journey across Britain from Northern Ireland to London.
He said he was ‘delighted’ that so many people were campaigning on climate change and that just as the UK had taken a lead before on international issues such as debt cancellation, so it could lead on climate change.
Mr Brown, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, played a major role in gaining agreement for debt cancellation during the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005, following the Make Poverty History campaign.
The meeting followed Mr Brown’s speech earlier in the day when he acknowledged that the government target of 60% cuts in UK carbon emissions by 2050 needed to be strengthened to ensure the UK does its bit to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The two met Mr Brown before start of a conference fringe event on Global Poverty and Climate Change at which they were speaking. This was held as part of the Climate Clinic – an umbrella grouping of organisations putting on events about global warming during the conference.
Both are among a team of 18 Christian Aid marchers who began the Cut the Carbon march more than 70 days ago. The march will finish next week when in London, when the marchers pass the London Stock Exchange before attending a rally and then service at St Paul’s Cathedral.