We must hold each other to account on climate change

This article first appeared in FT http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/717ad672-8c7a-11e5-8be4-3506bf20cc2b.htm…

Sir, In just 10 days, the political leaders of the world will gather in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) to reach a binding agreement on how to tackle climate change. Now is the time to speak up and make clear to our leaders how important this event is to all of us.

World leaders must use COP 21 as a platform for embracing tangible actions, raising ambition and building investor confidence in the new low carbon economy. They must enter the talks with a belief that a meaningful, binding agreement can be reached and with the political will to commit to long-term goals.

Of course, we will only tackle climate change through actions, not words. And so the words of the agreement, and those spoken in Paris, must inspire that action and set in motion the policy processes that will support it. The challenge is daunting but inescapable. Without intervention, climate change will affect all aspects of society, from health to economics. State support is paramount, and we have no choice but to call for our leaders to enter COP 21 with dedication to the cause. Now is the time for leaders in government, business, faith communities, youth movements and civil society to do their job: to lead. This collective leadership will determine the fate of generations to come, and as we move forward to implement the Paris Agreement we must hold each other to account.

This is one cause that transcends the divisions in the world. Cross-border collaboration, with larger economies aiding the poorer, will be the only way to fight climate change.

This encapsulates the spirit of Call On COP, a campaign launching today at the One Young World Summit 2015 in Bangkok that will use the collective power of the world’s young leaders to make sure the whole world gets the message. Call On COP will see representatives from each of the world’s 196 countries directly address their national leaders and call for them to make a firm commitment to tackling climate change.

Everyone on the planet is united in our stewardship of the one thing we share. And yet, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of but a few decision makers. Many of these individuals will come together in Paris next month, and their binding agreement has the power to save us. Let’s make sure we all stand with them.

Kofi Annan
Former UN Secretary-General


Sir Bob Geldof
Musician and activist


Prof Muhammad Yunus
Nobel Prize laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank


Paul Polman
Chief Executive, Unilever


Lord Hastings

Global Head of Citizenship, KPMG International


Elio Sceti
Chairman, Beamly

James Chau
News anchor, CCTV


The signatories are One Young World Counsellors and will be taking part in Call On COP

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