16/12/2015 News / Laureates Hail Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Laureates Hail Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Environment, Sustainable Development, 16/12/2015

Right Livelihood Award Laureates have joined world leaders in welcoming the historic Paris Agreement reached at the United Nations climate change conference, known as COP21, last Saturday. Several among them have played a key role in sealing the climate deal in Paris.

Photo by IISD/Kiara Worth

This year’s Honorary Laureate Tony De Brum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, pulled together a “high ambition coalition” of rich and poor countries that successfully pushed for the 1.5C limit on temperatures. As The Observer notes, “…it had a galvanising effect, allowing more than 90 countries to claim the moral high ground and suggesting that anyone who was not with them was “unambitious”.”

With the agreement firmly in place, it is time to turn attention to implementation. 2014 Laureate Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, which staged public protests around the globe urging governments to act on climate change, has warned against complacency after the Paris talks. “Left to its own devices, the world is still planning to spend the next decade or two mostly limbering up, engaging in the kind of impressive-looking stretching that runners enjoy at the start line,” he writes in his op-ed for The Guardian.

The Guardian’s and 350.org’s joint Keep It In The Ground campaign, inspired by their meeting as fellow 2014 Right Livelihood Award Laureates, has garnered support from over 150 leaders in the environmental and justice communities since its launch in early 2015.

Several other Laureates, including Sheila Watt-CloutierBianca Jagger and Chico Whitaker, attended COP21 in Paris, highlighting the impacts of climate change on indigenous communities from the Arctic to the Amazon.