A household name in the climate movement of a stature comparable only to Greta Thunberg and Mary Robinson, Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010-2016. She led the negotiation of the Paris Accords, the unprecedented climate change agreement of 2015 that brought together corporations and governments, activists and institutions, think tanks and NGOs and set the world on the path to net zero.
Today she continues to fight to keep the world below 2 degrees of warming, cut greenhouse gas emissions in half, and protect and repair ecosystems. Christiana is an advocate for stubborn optimism: an attitude which rejects fatalism in the face of impending catastrophe and instead embraces the very real opportunity we have to forge a future in which humanity can not merely survive, but thrive. For Christiana and her team at Global Optimism, ‘impossible is not a fact, it is an attitude’. And attitudes are fully under our control.
She joins us live in conversation at The Conduit and via livestream to explore this bold and utterly necessary vision of our present and future.
Christiana Figueres is a Founding Partner of Global Optimism, co-presenter of climate podcast, Outrage + Optimism, and co-author of The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis. From 2010 to 2016 she was Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, leading the process that secured the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Paul Polman works to accelerate action by business to tackle climate change and inequality. As CEO of Unilever (2009-2019), he demonstrated that business can profit through purpose, delivering shareholder returns of 290% while the company consistently ranked 1st in the world for sustainability. Today he works across a range of organisations to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which he helped develop.