The Wheeler Centre
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How on Earth: Christiana Figueres and Ross Garnaut on Climate Solutions Now
Christiana Figueres, the architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement, sees the 2020s as a critical moment of opportunity – the ‘golden decade’ – in the future of our species and our planet.
Earlier this year, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change said: ‘If we do the right thing this decade, we can continue to design the future but if we don’t, we are really condemned to a world of increasing destruction, conflict and pain ... It is a golden ten years in the history of humankind.’
In this episode, Figueres is joined by distinguished Australian climate economist Ross Garnaut. With his new book, Superpower, about energy economics in Australia, Garnaut brings a message of optimism, opportunity and urgency, too. ‘We have unparalleled renewable energy resources,’ he has written. ‘We also have the necessary scientific skills.’
After the chaos and failure of the Copenhagen talks in 2009, Figueres spearheaded a historic agreement of 196 nations at Paris – an achievement few believed was possible. Garnaut has been a household name in Australia since his prescient report on the economics of climate change to the Commonwealth Parliament in 2008.
Hear these two peerless heavyweights in conversation as they discuss reasons for hope and roadmaps for change, with host Andrew Wear.
Looking for an Auslan-interpreted version? Check out the video.
A full transcript of the event is also available.
Christiana Figueres is a Costa Rican citizen and was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2010–16.
During her tenure at the UNFCCC, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and NGOs to jointly deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, in which 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to well below 2°C, and strive for 1.5°C in order to protect the most vulnerable. For this achievement Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy, for which she has received multiple awards.
Ross Garnaut is a Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne. In 2008, he produced the Garnaut Climate Change Review for the Australian government. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Dog Days (2013).