news & Things

Wales Has An Additional Duty To Climate Change Due To Its Coal Mining Past – Conservationist Claims

17th Jan 2022

Leading Welsh NonProfit conservationist claims Wales has a ‘particular responsibility’ to help fight climate change due to its coal mining history.


Ru Hartwell, director of NonProfit Carbon Link, has recently been quoted as saying Wales ‘invented’ a model for industrial development based almost exclusively on exploiting fossil fuels.


Carbon Link runs a tree-planting programme in Africa that is funded by the Welsh Government and has, to date, planted around four million trees in the Boré community of Kenya.

The programme has expanded a lot since they started back in 2012, from an initial planting of 1,000 cashew trees to a target of over a million trees planted in 2022, designed to provide food and sustainable lumber to the community, as well as creating vital wildlife habitats and improving biodiversity.


All of Carbon Links funding comes from either the Welsh Government, NonProfit charity Size of Wales or takings from their climate change charity shops.


It’s all about helping the local people protect their existing forest and plant new trees to suck down carbon from the atmosphere and improve the climate for everyone. One of the tragic ironies of climate change was poorer nations that had contributed least to the carbon emissions problem were being worst hit by the impacts of rising temperatures and extreme weather.

Wales has a very long history of releasing carbon.

We’ve got one of the longest legacy footprints of any country in the world because of the industrialisation that came with the south Wales coalfield. The model of industrial development based on the exploitation of fossil fuels was invented in south Wales and every other country in the world has gone on to kind of emulate that.

So, because we were the first industrialised nation, we have a particular responsibility to draw back some of that ancient, historical carbon

Ru Hartwell – Director, Carbon Link


Since its inception, the tree planting project has led to the establishment of the largest tree nursery in Coast Province, Kenya, and now involves over 3,000 farmers as well as 200 local schools.


The people here have got very small carbon footprints, they don’t drive or fly around all the time like we do in the West but for them climate change is happening right now with crop failures driven by changing weather patterns.

Anna Douglas – Ecologist, Volunteer at Carbon Link and Ru Hartwells daughter


The available Welsh funding has also led to the planting of a further fifteen million trees in Uganda over the past decade by other NonProfit’s, with a the Welsh Government aiming for twenty-five million trees planted by 2025.

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