Paris Climate Agreement architect Christiana Figueres to speak at U-M

March 5, 2019
Written By:
Jim Erickson


DATE: 5 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2019

EVENT: Christiana Figueres, the driving force behind the historic Paris Climate Agreement when she served as executive secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change, will present the 2019 Wege Lecture on Sustainability, entitled “No Victory Without Optimism: Advancing Climate Action in 2019 and Beyond.” The lecture will be followed by an audience Q&A.

When Figueres became the chief climate change negotiator for the United Nations in 2010, a global climate accord seemed impossible. Five years later, the Paris Climate Agreement was unstoppable: 195 governments unanimously signed on to keep global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius. But according to Figueres, this was just a staging post in what remains a long, hard process.

So, what are the next steps in advancing climate solutions, mitigation efforts and accelerating a clean energy future? Time is running out, and we must act now to raise collective ambition and leadership to protect the most vulnerable. How can we seize this moment to create jobs, ensure energy access, safeguard food and water, improve health, and protect economic and social stability for the future?

Join Figueres as she shares the inside story behind the Paris Climate Agreement and discusses strategies for accelerating climate action. Figueres, who has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy, will discuss how “radical collaboration” between businesses, NGOs, universities, local and state governments, and communities can help advance a carbon-neutral future and address the most pressing issue of our time.

Additional guests of honor include: José Figueres, former president of Costa Rica, who has joined his sister Christiana in the fight for a global clean energy revolution; former First Lady of Costa Rica Karen Olsen Beck Figueres, whose legacy includes the creation the national park system of Costa Rica in partnership with the late Alvaro Ugalde, a U-M School of Natural Resources alum; and Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The event, which comes just one day before the March 15 Global Climate Strike, is free and open to the public, but registration is required:

PLACE: Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Avenue, Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability, Center for Sustainable Systems and Erb Institute.