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Architect of the Paris Agreement on climate change and one of the world’s most celebrated diplomats, sustainability speaker Christiana Figueres galvanizes audiences with a message of resilience, determination, and unshakable optimism. On the single most pressing challenge of our times, Figueres offers a stirring combination of wisdom, pragmatism, and empowerment.
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Sustainability speaker Christiana Figueres is one of the world’s leading authorities on sustainable development. As one of two principal architects of the historic Paris Agreement of 2015, Christiana Figueres is uniquely positioned to discuss both what we must do to secure our future on the planet, and how we can muster the political will to get the job done.
The daughter of Costa Rican President José Figueres Ferrer, Figueres grew up in the nation’s capital San José. She later studied in the UK before beginning her postsecondary career at Swarthmore College, where she studied anthropology. Her fieldwork took her from remote indigenous villages in her native Costa Rica to rural Samoa. There, she studied the ways in which rural communities responded to the challenges of a changing environment. Figueres later earned a degree in social anthropology from the London School of Economics. Soon thereafter, she began her public career at the Costa Rican Embassy in Bonn, then the capital of West Germany.
Returning to Costa Rica to serve as its Director of International Cooperation, Figueres embarked on a career in international diplomacy. Moving to Washington, DC, she became director of the US-based Renewable Energy in the Americas Initiative. Her concern over climate change prompted Figueres to found and lead the Center for Sustainable Development in the Americas. Building on this experience, she organized key support for the UN’s Kyoto Protocol and Clean Development Mechanism. She soon became a driving force in the UN’s efforts to organize a global response to climate change.
In 2015, as Executive Secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, Figueres enlisted the support of stakeholders across the public and private sectors. Her efforts culminated in the historic Paris Agreement which remains the most significant global initiative to address climate change. Figueres was Costa Rica’s nominee for the position of UN Secretary General in 2016.
In recognition of her accomplishments, Nature named Figueres the single most influential person in science for 2015. Foreign Policy magazine named her a Global Thinker for the same year. She has lent her name to newly discovered species of moth, wasp, and orchid (Struthoscelis christianafigueresae, Pseudapanteles christianafigueresae, and Vanilla karen-christianae, respectively). As her public profile rose, so did her role as an influential speaker.
Following her leadership of the UNFCCC, Figueres has built an impressive record as a public advocate for climate change action. As one of her first post-UN efforts, she convened Mission 2020, a global campaign to accelerate action on climate change. She then founded the Global Optimism Group, which supports political and social changes toward resolving the global climate crisis.
Figueres‘s 2020 book The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis quickly became a bestseller. The book has received outstanding praise. For example, Yuval Harari said “This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read”. Also, business mogul Sir Richard Branson said “There could not be a more important book”. Her popular weekly podcast, Outrage + Optimism, discusses climate change action with a sweeping range of guests.
In this motivational keynote speech based on her 2020 bestselling book with the same title, Christiana Figueres will passionately talk about the only 2 possible outcomes for our planet: extreme global warming that will led to massive migrations, poverty and famine; or a future where we don't destroy our planet. But in order to achieve the second possible future, we must act today. There is no more time left.
In this fascinating speech, Christiana Figueres will tell the secrets behind the historic Paris Climate Agreement. Christiana led the difficult negotiations to bring everyone to an agreement, in her role as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016.
In this sustainability keynote speech, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016, will talk about the need for the world to transition to renewable energy and transportation if we want to fight climate change.
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