Andy Murray, Hannah Mills: COP26 Summit urged to take climate action by Olympic stars

Double Olympic sailing champion Hannah Mills and British rower Melissa Wilson have organised an appeal for climate action from a number of sports stars

Double Olympic sailing champion Hannah Mills and British rower Melissa Wilson have organised an appeal for climate action from a number of sports stars.

More than 50 athletes from 40 countries have appealed to the delegates at the COP26 Summit, a conference on climate change which is organised by the United Nations.

This year’s conference is taking place in Glasgow in Scotland, and will run until November 12th.

Delegates from around 200 countries will decide how to cut emissions by 2030 and help the planet.

The athletes have made their appeal to the COP26 delegates in a video named ‘Dear Leaders Of The World.’

Alongside Mills and Wilson, the video includes a number of top sportswomen. This includes Britain’s seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft, track and field athlete Ebony Morrison, and New Zealand rower Emma Twigg.

Austrian sailor Tanja Frank, Namibian rower Maike Diekmann, Qatari rower Tala Abujbara, German volleyball player Laura Ludwig, Australian swimmer Emma McKeon, and US rugby player Kris Thomas are among the other female stars involved.

Olympic diving champion Tom Daley, marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, Spain’s six-time NBA All-Star basketballer Pau Gasol and three-time Olympic gymnastics champion Max Whitlock also feature in the video.

In the campaign video, climate change is described as “the race we need to win”. Athletes are hoping the appeal will demonstrate the need for world leaders to take urgent climate action.

“As athletes, we have a huge potential to be powerful advocates for the environment,” Mills, a two-time Olympic and world champion in the women’s 470, told the BBC

“Sport has a cultural and political influence. The platform athletes have and the support they receive from fans means we are in a key position to communicate about what matters.”

Wilson, who has been part of the GB Rowing team since 2014 and competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has often been proactive about taking action against climate change.

She wrote a letter to the UK Government in September 2020 calling for a “green recovery” to the pandemic. It was signed by more than 320 British Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, and Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.

British rower Melissa Wilson has been proactive in taking action against climate change

Wilson also helped Team GB create a one-hour climate education session for athletes heading to Tokyo 2020.

She revealed she had been “overwhelmed” by the response from athletes around the world to her campaign with Mills.

Extreme weather caused by climate change is already having a detrimental impact on sporting events. 

Matches at the 2019 Rugby World Cup were cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis, for example, while the marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was moved because of concerns around extreme heat.

Key figures from sport are expected to attend COP26 to discuss this, including members of the International Olympic Committee, Olympian Paula Radcliffe, and the organisation Sport for Climate Action.

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