Professor Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, spoke at the Progressives 4 Climate conference in Paris on 10 April, as part of the preparations for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) taking place in December.
Speaking on the topic of ‘Shifting towards a socially just, zero-carbon model of development’, Professor Goldin said that the forthcoming climate negotiatons were a test of humanity’s ability to manage the global commons, and a key test for the future of multilateralism.
He told the audience that Oxford Martin School scientists were unanimous on the need for action to combat climate change, going on to describe how the challenge of translating knowledge into action was being addressed by the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations. Among the recommendations from its report, Now for the Long Term, are coalitions of cities, business and governments to address climate change.
Professor Goldin argued for the development and climate change agendas to be made coherent, saying that the Sustainable Development Goals agenda being brought to the UN in September needs to be achieved while “radically reducing greenhouse gas emissions”, necessarily implying greater short term actions by the advanced economies who have contributed the greatest share of the stocks of greenhouse gases.
Concluding, he said tackling the issue of climate change was not simply an issue for governments and international organisations, with creative coalitions of civil society, cities and business having a crucial role to play in putting pressure on governments and investing in alternatives to fossil fuels.
Progressives 4 Climate was organised by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation. Other speakers at the conference included Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Affairs Minister, Marie-Hélène Aubert, Advisor to President Francois Hollande for International Environmental and Climate Change Negotiations, Richard Lagos, former President of Chile, Jean-Pascal, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Qi Ye, Director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy (China).