Distinguished environmentalists from 46 countries are calling on foundations and philanthropists to use endowments worth billions of dollars to turn the tide on global warming.
The group, all winners of major environmental awards, issued their call to action in an ‘Environmental Laureates’ Declaration on Climate Change’, published in the International New York Times, on Monday 15th September 2014, one week before world leaders arrive in New York for a UN Climate Summit.
“We, 160 winners of the world’s environmental prizes, call on foundations and philanthropists everywhere to deploy their endowments immediately in the effort to save civilization,” say the laureates. “The world’s philanthropic foundations, given the scale of their endowments, hold the power to trigger a survival reflex in society, so greatly helping those negotiating the climate treaty.”
Call to action for foundations and philanthropists
The European Environment Foundation (EEF), which circulated the declaration to prize-winning environmentalists for signature, will now write to foundations individually asking them to use their financial power to create a tipping point in climate action:
1. By investing directly in clean energy companies and low-carbon projects;
2. By withdrawing investments from fossil fuel companies or campaigning as shareholders for them not to develop new reserves;
3. By making grants to support clean energy start-ups and stimulate the development of low-carbon markets.
Dr Jeremy Leggett, the EEF Trustee who coordinated the declaration, said: “The world’s philanthropic foundations fund work which improves the lives of millions of people around the world, but if they want that work to last they can’t afford to ignore climate change. Investing in a clean energy future is the best way to safeguard their work and their finances. “
“We hope this appeal will stimulate vital investment in a clean energy future, demonstrate support for an ambitious climate change treaty, and create space for a tipping point in climate action,” said Dr Leggett, who is a Hillary Laureate for Exceptional Leadership in Climate Change Solutions.
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The Environmental Laureates warn that the Climate Summit in Paris in November 2015 may be the last chance to agree a treaty capable of saving civilization. However, they say that foundations and philanthropists have the financial resources to respond on a scale that would materially increase negotiators’ chances of success in at the Summit.
Read the Press Release: Env Laureates Press Release 09.2014
Read the Declaration: Declaration_Environmental Laureates_Monday 15 Sept 2014