Cassian Garbett, 45, the last permanent resident of one of the five coastguard cottages near Seaford, spoke at a conference organised by WWF about the changing weather patterns on the South coast and the need for a strong phase two Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to cut carbon dioxide emissions1.
While in Brussels he met and gave a presentation to a number of journalists and politicians including EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and South East MEP Sharon Bowles.
Furniture maker Cassian has witnessed rising sea levels and greater frequency of storms and extreme weather has destroyed sea defences built up by the army during the war.
Cassian said: I gave a talk on my local experiences of climate change in Sussex to high level politicians and lobbied MEPs from this region including Lib Dem Sharon Bowles and their responses were very positive.
"In my speech I outlined how the frequency of storms where I live has increased over the past few years and the damage this has caused. I witnessed the wholesale destruction of the sea defences in 1999 and this has since happened three times.
"I wanted the politicians to sit up and listen and be spurred into action to address these dangerous signs of climate change in Europe by drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A strong second phase of the ETS will help to achieve this"
Other witnesses told of their experiences of snow disappearing in Scotland, fewer bees in Italy, crop losses in Spain and forests on the decline in Germany.
The meeting took place one week before the beginning of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention and the first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP).
Matthew Davis Director of the WWF Climate Change campaign said: "Hearing Cassian and the other witnesses speak from personal experience made a real impact because it told the story of how climate change is affecting the lives of ordinary people from across Europe.
"The EU ETS is the first carbon trading market in the world and as such, can and must set an example for countries and regions across the globe to follow. The UK government, which has historically taken the lead on championing climate change issues, must set the standard for phase two by placing strict limits on emissions which will benefit both the environment and the economy."
WWF is now known simply by its initials and the panda logo.
1. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the world's most important international policy to drive fundamental reform in the power sector. It covers 46 per cent of Europe's CO2 emissions - 15.5 per cent of global emissions from the combustion of carbon. Having entered into force on 1st January 2005, the ETS is now about to enter its second phase. Negotiations for national caps for the period 2008-2012 are starting now. WWF wants the ETS to be strengthened in its second phase through stricter CO2 caps in all national allocation plans. Also, no more than 90 per cent of allowances should be freely allocated by governments, and the remaining 10 per cent should be purchased by companies through an auctioning system.
WWF has set up the Climate Witness programme to give a voice to people and communities affected by climate change. Other than Europe, WWF's Climate Witnesses are in Fiji, Australia, India, Nepal and Argentina.
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