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Demonstrators demand an ambitious climate deal from the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. (Photo: AinhoaGoma/Oxfam International/flickr/cc)

Urgent Call to World Leaders to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change

Bianca Jagger

Ahead of the upcoming COP21 climate talks in Paris that begin next month, I urge all readers to sign this 'Appeal to World Leaders to Commit to CO2 Reductions in line with Scientific Recommendations.' Please go to and sign here.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris is only a few weeks away. This global conference is our last chance to tackle catastrophic climate change. If the negotiations fail, there is no plan B — COP21 is effectively the end of the line.

In 1992 the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations." Since then we have endured failed negotiations, broken promises, distant targets and shattered hope.

When world leaders meet for COP21 they must commit to effective and practical steps to prevent average global temperature increases of above 2°C. According to climate scientists, existing pledges by governments fall short of achieving this target, which itself is woefully inadequate. Even now many countries are starting to feel the devastating impact of climate change.

In the last 250 years, average global temperatures have already increased by 1.0°C. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by governments up to now, even if fully implemented, will actually increase warming to around 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. For decades, scientists have been warning us about the threats of climate change and its impact on the world: How parts of Africa, South Asia and Latin America will heat up more and more, with temperatures becoming increasingly intolerable. How rising sea levels will endanger billions of people, particularly those in low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives, as well as people in cities such as Tokyo, Shanghai, New York and London. How melting glaciers will flood river valleys and then, when they have disappeared, unprecedented droughts will occur.

Pope Francis issued a dire warning to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly: "The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species."

World leaders can no longer ignore the warnings. COP21 is their last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. They must deliver a comprehensive, just and legally binding climate agreement with adequate provisions for mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, Green Climate Fund financial investments, technology development and transfer, and implementation mechanisms, with safeguards for traditional communities, indigenous peoples' rights and an emphasis on human rights and gender equality. They must commit to ensure the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems, restore degraded and deforested land and to transfer subsidies from fossil fuel and nuclear to renewable energy.

We must not forget that we are fighting for our survival, the survival of our children and our children's children - the survival of future generations. Beyond that, we are fighting for the preservation of all life on Earth.

We appeal to world leaders to do what is necessary to protect and safeguard life on earth - to commit to CO2 reduction targets in line with the best available scientific knowledge to prevent catastrophic climate change.

I urge you to go to and sign this Appeal to World Leaders here.

Since the launch of the petition we have received a tremendous response and have the support of:
Bianca Jagger, Founder and President of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
Frederic Mion, President of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po)
Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics (LSE)
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

From academia:
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Report on Climate Change and Human Rights and Principal of Mansfield College
John Joughin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London (UEL)
Erik Berglof, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs (LSE)
Alan Rusbridger, Principal Lady Margaret Hall and former editor of The Guardian
Anna Grear, Director of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE)
Karen Morrow, Editor of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment
Tom Kerns, Director of Environment and Human Rights Advisory (HRA)
Damien Short, Director of the Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Rosalind Reeves, Ateneo School of Government

Right Livelihood Award Laureates, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize:
Tony deBrum, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Raymond de Chavez, Public Information and Awareness Manager for Tebtebba
Anwar Fazal, Director of the Right Livelihood College
Martin Green, Sciential Professor at the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics
Hans Herren, CEO of the Millennium Institute
Wes Jackson, President of The Land Institute
Ida Kuklina, The Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia
Alison Linnecar, Convenor of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) Working Group
Raul Montenegro, President of the Environment Defense Foundation (FUNAM)
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, Founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG)
Gino Strada, Executive Director of Emergency
David Suzuki, Scientist, Broadcaster and Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation
Shrikrishna Upadhyay, Founder of Support Activities for Poor Producers of Nepal (SAPPERS)
Jose Ramon Villarin, President, Ateneo de Manila University
Paul Walker, Director of Environmental Security and Sustainability at Green Cross International
Chico Whitaker, Representative of the Brazilian Justice and Peace Commission to the World Social Forum
Angie Zelter, Founder of Trident Ploughshares

Homero Aridjis, President of the Group of 100 and Emeritus PEN International
Peter Bennett, Executive Director of Rainforest Concern
Peter Bosshard, Executive Director of International Rivers
Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK
Sarah DuPoint, President and Founder of Amazon Aid Foundation
Jodie Evans, CodePink
Julia Häusermann, Founder and President of Rights and Humanity
John Hemming, Chairman of Hemming Group
Maritta Koch-weser, Founder and President of Earth3000
David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Sir Ghillean Prance, Scientific Director of the Eden Project
John Sauven, Director of Greenpeace UK
Mark Magaña, President of GreenLatinos
Brent Millikan, Amazon Program Director of International Rivers
Irene Vilar, Founder of Americas for Conservation
Marco Arana Zegarra, Founder of the Grupo de Formación e intervención para el Desarrollo Sostenible (GRUFIDES)
Donald Lehr, President of the Nolan/Lehr Group

Entertainment world:
Patrick Stewart
Stephen Fry
Annie Lennox
Livia Firth, film producer and Creative Director of Eco-Age
Jaka Bizilj, Founder of Cinema for Peace
Sarah Gavron, filmmaker
Eva Aridjis, filmmaker

David Chipperfield

Art world:
Thaddaeus Ropac (Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)
Julia Peyton-Jones (Serpentine Gallery)
Nicholas Logsdail (Lisson Gallery)
Marina Abramović
Jules de Balincourt
Francesco Clemente
Tracey Emin
Antony Gormley
Richard Long
Robert Longo
Jason Martin
Yoko Ono
Elizabeth Peyton
Raqib Shaw
Francesco Vezzosi
Bill Viola
Not Vital

Amir Dossal, Executive Director of UN Office for Partnerships

And many others.

This statement and call to action first appeared at the Huffington Post.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger is a prominent international human rights and climate change advocate. She is the Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, Member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA, Trustee of the Amazon Charitable Trust, and on the advisory board of the Creative Coalition. For over 30 years, Bianca Jagger has campaigned for human rights, social and economic justice and environmental protection throughout the world.

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