Fight to take climate change message to global elite goes on


13 March 2019 08:00
From left: Suzanne DiBianca, Jeremy Wilkinson, Christiana Figueres, Ellie Goulding, Gail Whiteman, Halla Tómasdóttir, Julienne Stroeve at the 2019 Arctic Basecamp in Davos
From left: Suzanne DiBianca, Jeremy Wilkinson, Christiana Figueres, Ellie Goulding, Gail Whiteman, Halla Tómasdóttir, Julienne Stroeve at the 2019 Arctic Basecamp in Davos

Scientists, led by Lancaster University’s Professor Gail Whiteman, will continue to take their urgent climate change message to some of the world’s most powerful political and business leaders.

For the past three years, Professor Whiteman and the Arctic Basecamp team, including Dr Jeremy Wilkinson, from the British Antarctic Survey, have camped out at the World Economic Forum Annual Summit, in Davos, Switzerland.

While there, they have demanded urgent action on climate change, highlighting the global dangers associated with the changing Arctic.

Each year, the event has focused on the scientific evidence behind climate warming, driven by rising carbon emissions, and the effect that has on the Arctic and the rest of the world; as well as the solutions that government, businesses and civil society are pursuing for sustainable alternatives and a low-carbon economy.

Professor Whiteman, Arctic Basecamp founder and Director of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability at Lancaster University, wants that drive to continue, and said: “Our presence at Davos is critical. For the past three years, we have brought the issue of climate change in the Arctic to some of those people best placed to help prevent disaster.

“One of the greatest risks facing our planet is the change that is happening in the Arctic – it is going to affect us all, the way we live our lives, and the global economy.

“We need to limit these risks, and we will continue to highlight the urgent need to address climate change, and the potentially dire consequences if we do not.”

Prominent climate voices, including environmental dignitary Christiana Figueres (one of the main architects of the Paris Agreement), were involved this year, joined by important business leaders such as Suzanne DiBianca, Executive Vice-President and Chief Philanthropy Officer of Salesforce; Halla Tómasdótti, CEO of The B Team; Gloria Fluxa, Vice-chairman of the Iberostar Group; and Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg – the touchstone for the worldwide student #ClimateStrike campaign camped and spoke at the Arctic Basecamp while at the World Economic Forum this year.

“The climate crisis has already been solved,” said Greta Thunberg. “We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake-up and change.”

In addition, international music star Ellie Goulding visited the camp for a bespoke climate change briefing.

“We know that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic: the loss of sea ice affects us all, so it is crucially important they are here at Davos,” Ellie Goulding said during her visit.

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