2012 Barbara Ward Lecture: Christiana Figueres calls for an "energy revolution"

Event, 9 March 2012

Christiana Figueres is executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She used her appearance at the 2012 Barbara Ward Lecture to call for an "energy revolution".

Figueres is the daughter of Costa Rican revolutionary leader Jose Figueres, who led a revolution in Costa Rica that led to the introduction of democracy in that country. In her speech at the IIED event, Figueres called for a different type of revolution: an energy revolution.

Figueres said it was time for sustainable development to achieve a decisive breakthrough. She said: "We must trigger the sustainability transformation now, and a critical component of that is the energy revolution that needs to both address emissions and power the world's move into a sustainable future."

Figueres said there was growing momentum for a major shift in sustainability and energy solutions. Policy developments and investment trends were making the time right for action. Iinvestment levels were rising: the trillionth dollar of investment in renewable energy had been recorded at the end of 2011.

She said clean and renewable energy solutions were becoming the "smart investment" of the future, because they would succeed in almost any economic scenario.

Figueres acknowledged that long-term financing for climate related issues was still a problem. She said what was needed was innovative thinking about long-term financing. It was clear that there was not enough money to effectively address climate change using public money or private investment alone. It was only when both private and public money were brought together creatively that climate change could be addressed.

Read an article about her lecture: UN climate chief Christiana Figueres calls for an "energy revolution".

Read the full text of Christiana Figueres' speech.

About Christiana Figueres

Christiana Figueres (Photo: UNclimatechange)


Christiana Figueres is executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She has promoted sustainable development for many years: she was involved in both the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol negotiations and helped design key climate change instruments.

In Costa Rica she worked in the Ministry of Planning and became chief of staff to the Minister of Agriculture. In 1995 she founded the Center for Sustainable Development in the Americas, a non-profit organisation that encouraged the participation of Latin American countries in the Climate Change Convention.

Figueres has written a wide range of strategic publications about climate change and energy in Latin America.

To find out more about her work, visit Figures' personal website.

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