british deputy hcExcerpts of the speech by Mr Scott Furssedonn-Wood,  British Deputy High Commissioner, Kolkata

Monday 18 January 2016 – Barrackpore

  • Good afternoon everyone.   It is a pleasure to be amongst the students here and I would like to thank you all for inviting me to speak at “Driving Climate Action through journey of Science Express”


  • I would also like to thank the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) for having organised this event today.


  • Before I arrived I had a chance to look at a few posters and paintings made by students– and the level of detailing demonstrated their great understanding of climate change.

  • The climate express train is a great initiative by the Environment Ministry GoI to raise awareness about one of the greatest challenges of our times – Climate Change.

  • It is a reality and the effects can be all over the world.

  • Cities across the world are acutely vulnerable to climate change and face varying degrees of risk of floods, sea level rise, disasters such as cyclones etc.

  • Not limiting rising temperatures to below 2 degrees by 2050 could lead to catastrophic consequences in our environment, with more frequent and extreme weather events, like flooding, droughts, more intense storms etc.

  • We must act now and act together.  Taking climate action has multiple co-benefits. It helps to increase energy security, improve food and water security, generates jobs, and has positive impacts on health conditions.

  • India is doing a lot, and so is Britain.

  • Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal here has taken up pioneering initiatives to tackle climate change.

  • The UK Government in India is working with the governments and communities to share knowledge and technologies to increase the use of renewable energy in India and we’re helping on projects to improve efficient use of energy resources.

  • You students are the future of our planet who will drive climate action forward in the coming years and decades.

  • Education plays a major role in transforming opinions and behaviours and, as young thought leaders, I look to you to take the lead on important issues such as protecting the environment and educating others, so that you and the coming generations will have clean air to breathe, access to clean water, plentiful food and better health – along with a beautiful planet to live on.

  • Therefore I am extremely pleased to see that many of you are well aware of the need to find solutions in our battle against climate change.

  • We all can make a difference by taking the right steps in our daily lives.

  • By switching off lights when not in use, we conserve electricity to help people who live without it, access it.

  • By planting trees which absorb carbon dioxide, we help to moderate temperature levels and maintain the ecological balance of our planet.

  • By recycling and reducing waste, conserving water and not wasting food, and using public transport, we can do our bits to contribute to the prosperity of this country, fight climate change and protect the environment.

  • Children in the UK are also taking steps to conserve the environment. In February this year The Big Tree Plant scheme in Bristol planted its 1 millionth tree in the UK showing that local community action goes a long way in helping us fight climate change and preserve our environment.

  • With Kolkata Municipal Corporation, we have worked on a very special project towards the green growth of Kolkata. This collaboration has resulted in the setting up of Kolkata Climate Change Cell at KMC. Once functional, it will be the first ever integrated and dedicated climate cell at a municipality in India. The cell will act as an interface between KMC and citizens, students and businesses on information about green development of the city.

  • As part of the Cell, a dedicated webportal and a mobile app are being created for the citizens. This first-of-its-kind mobile app in India will give out information to citizens on various eco-friendly measures and alerts during disasters as part of preparedness planning. This initiative is expected to help you take steps at individual and collective level to make a difference to your city. It will help you understand how you can adopt rainwater harvesting, or go for rooftop solar, or practice organic farming at your home, school and beyond.


  • So once again I want to say “well done” and “keep going”. Your involvement and interest showcase India’s youth’s commitment to improving the environment for everyone and I hope you’ll carry on long after you leave school. We can all commit ourselves towards achieving a clean and green environment and, by doing our best; we will be well placed to honour this commitment.

Science Express is a unique science exhibition mounted on a 16-coach AC train. It has been travelling across India successfully for the past seven years. After 7 successful tours across India, ‘’Science Express’’ has been redesigned on the theme ‘Climate Change’ and from 15 October 2015, it is running as ‘Science Express – Climate Action Special (SECAS)’. It is a unique collaborative initiative of Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), and Ministry of Railway, Government of India.

The state-of-the-art exhibition aboard the ‘Science Express – Climate Action Special (SECAS)’ aims to create awareness among various sections of society, especially students, as to how Climate Change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation.  SECAS will travel across the country for about 7 months, halting at 64 locations in 20 States, covering about 19,800 km. The exhibition will convey a strong message about Climate Change and will also be a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion.

The eight coaches developed by Centre for Environment Education (CEE) on behalf of MoEFCC, GoI is exclusively devoted to information, case studies and material related to various aspect of Climate change, the underlying science, impacts, adaptation activities, mitigation solutions and policy approaches in a manner that is easy to understand and interesting for not just school students but also the masses. 

The SECAS train is in West Bengal from 30th December, 2015 till 27 Jan, 2016.  It will have its stoppage at Barrackpore from 18-21 Jan, 2016.  The exhibition is free for all and will be open between 10 am and 5 pm.  Many platform activities at Barrackpore will be organised for students and visitors by Centre for Environment Education, Kolkata, in collaboration with Department of Environment, GoWB and British Deputy High Commission, Kolkata.

The UK Government is supporting this initiative.