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The race against climate change

Published 15:22 on 9 Nov 2021

Hannah Mills MBE, the most successful female sailor in Olympic history, and British rower Melissa Wilson have joined forces with fifty Olympic and Paralympic athletes from forty different countries to send a powerful video to the attendees of COP26.

Their ' Dear Leaders Of The World' video begs global governments and corporate leaders to take urgent action now to ensure that we and future generations can all enjoy "a safe and healthy planet". Athletes such as Team GB's Tom Daley, Andy Murray and Hannah Cockroft describe how they did their utmost at the Tokyo Olympics, continually striving to meet "goals that others believed impossible". Now, they plead to the world's leaders, "it's your chance to deliver".

Delegates from around 200 countries, meeting in Glasgow in November '21, will discuss solutions to climate change, and update their commitments to cutting emissions, phasing out reliance on fossil fuels, and halting deforestation. Key figures from the world of sport are also expected to attend COP26, including members of the International Olympic Committee, Olympian Paula Radcliffe, and the organisation Sport for Climate Action to discuss the effect global warming is having on sporting events (such as Tokyo 2020's marathon, which had to be moved due to concerns about extreme heat).

How successful COP26 - the Olympics of climate summits, as German volleyball champion Laura Ludwig puts it - has been remains to be seen. Will our leaders take those brave, ambitious, bold decisions that desperately need to be made to halt global warming and tackle climate changes that are already wreaking havoc across the planet? It's too soon to say, but Taekwondo athlete Farzad Mansouri from Afghanistan points out that "anything less won't win this race".

Hannah sums up the video by saying, "Over the next fortnight we will be looking to you and supporting you". Let us hope the leaders of the world are listening, and genuinely striving to win this race that we can't afford to lose.

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