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Interview with Franny Armstrong

brussels bureau

Interview with Franny Armstrong


Independent film maker and climate activist Franny Armstrong, whose most recent documentary is called The Age of Stupid, about climate change, is also at the head of a campaign she launched called ’10:10’, to get individuals and companies in the UK to cut their carbon emissions by ten percent this year.

Euronews asks her about the recent (May 31-June 11) UN climate summit in Germany.

Euronews: How do you think it went in Bonn?

Franny Armstrong: Well, I mean there were some very small steps forward, but there were also some very large steps backwards, and I think, in summary, it is going desperately slowly. These people are charged with nothing less than saving us from ourselves, keeping our planet habitable, and at the moment it definitely doesn’t look like they are going to do it. We feel that is where the ordinary people come in. I was there at Copenhagen, the big meeting before Bonn, and we spoke to some of the world’s biggest politicians, and they do want to make the right deal, they do want to get the new climate deal passed, but at the moment they can’t because the public support is just not there.

Euronews: How is the 10:10 campaign going?

Armstrong: We only started it in January this year, the first of January, and it has just exploded beyond our wildest dreams. We have got — this sounds boring but it is not — we have got 45% of all the local councils signed up, which means that they are providing all the local services to nearly half the British population — that is the lighting and the rubbish collection and all that — with ten percent less emissions than last year. We have got some of the biggest companies in the country, we have got Microsoft, Adidas, Sony, Pret-a-Manger, we have got Spurs football team, and just two weeks ago, the London underground (that’s the tube trains) signed up, so they are going to be running with 10% less energy. And then two weeks ago, within 24 hours of getting into power, Cameron’s new government, the whole government signed up.

Euronews: You’ve also gone global; 10:10 has now sprung up in other countries.

Armstrong: Literally from the very first day we launched 10:10 in the UK, we started getting emails from other countries saying they wanted to start 10:10 in their country. France set off with a bang two weeks ago when the Tennis Open signed up. In other words, they are going to run their tennis tournament with 10% less emissions.
Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France — all sorts of countries are coming on very fast, and in fact we just heard this morning that Russia is signing up in a big way.

Euronews: Many non-governmental organisations are planning awareness events for the tenth of October. How can that influence the UN climate summit in December?

Armstrong: Well, it is not so much awareness events. It is emissions-cutting programmes. You know, like your local beach-cleaning day when the whole community gets together to clean up a beach. It is going to be like that, but all across the world. There are more than a 1,000 work parties already registered. People are just going to be insulating schools and growing vegetable gardens and pumping up every car tyre on the street — the point being to prove that ordinary people are ready now to start cutting our emissions, so that, when the politicians meet again in December this year, they can actually make a deal as strong as the science demands, and give us all the best chance of keeping our planet habitable for human life.

[Euronews: A brief look at our addiction to oil (we can still afford it but for how long?), in relation to climate matters, is given on this website under the heading ‘Carbon future: ‘peak oil?’]

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