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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Addresses Philanthropists Forum

Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary18 April 2012: Speaking at the Annual Conference of the Global Philanthropy Forum, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), called on philanthropists to fuel the existing "momentum for both the sustainability and the energy revolutions.”

Figueres stated that, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), elevated temperatures contribute to extreme weather conditions and projections indicate that such extreme events will become even more severe going forward. She warned that climate change is beginning “to undo many of the development gains” made over the past few decades, while emphasizing that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions “continue to rise.” Stressing the need move away from “business-as-usual,” Figueres underscored that “momentum for the sustainability and the energy revolutions is building.”

She welcomed the adoption of policies on climate change and renewable energy at the country level, adding that “they are there to be built upon.” She also noted a growing investment trend in renewable energy, and that international climate policy “is becoming clearer,” thereby contributing to sustainable development and the clean energy revolution.

She provided an overview of the Durban Climate Change Conference and its outcomes, qualifying it as “the most encompassing and furthest reaching conference in the history of the climate change negotiations.” Underlining that although governments have “clearly set the direction” in Durban, she recognized that they “cannot deliver on their own.” Figueres called for philanthropic and private funding and engagement in implementation, adding that this funding should focus on two areas in order to made a significant stride towards a low-carbon and sustainable future, namely: increasing public awareness, creating a demand for decisive government action and increasing government's political space; and accelerating action on the ground.

The Conference took place in Washington, DC, US, from 16-18 April 2012. [Christiana Figueres' Speech] [Global Philanthropy Forum Website]