Seven leading ladies to follow at COP21.
Monday 30th November marks the beginning of the 21st Conference of Parties climate change conference, bringing together over 190 countries to discuss and secure a climate change deal that will enable us to reign in our impact on the environment.
The 2015 Paris Climate Conference aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, for the first time ever.
The conference will attract around 50,000 participants, half of which are official delegates from participating countries. With so many people involved in the discussions it’s hard to know who’s opinion matters most – essentially all those prepared to commit to an solid climate programme matter. UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres is one of the most influential women in these talks and in contrast to expectations that these kind of talks are mainly among men, some of the most important personnel to attend the conference this year are women. So here’s a guide to my top women to watch in the coming weeks…
1. Christiana Figueres
Head of the UNFCCC and the woman tasked with saving the world.
2. Angela Merkel
German Chancellor and the most powerful woman in Europe, Angela ran the UN climate summit in Berlin where the Kyoto Protocol was first discussed; she will be pledging Germany’s commitment to a climate deal and encouraging other European nations to do the same.
3. Gina McCarthy
Head of the US Environmental Protection Agency and Obama’s leading lady for tackling global warming. Watch out for America’s input.
4. Tasneem Essop
Former Provincial Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development in South Africa, Tasneem is a key player in WWF’s campaigns to agree a global climate deal. She campaigns for the new climate deal to include social initiatives too, in particular poverty alleviation. Tasneem is known for saying that climate change is a poverty issue.
5. Sheikh Hasina
The current Prime Minister of Bangladesh is a women to idolise, with a political career spanning more than 40 years during which she has been Prime Minister 4 times, been the target of an assassination attempt and even been arrested. Sheikh Hasina has an great understanding of climate change and the inevitable effects low-lying Bangladesh will face. Just this year she won the UN environment prize for leadership on climate change having been influential in developing Bangladesh’s Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and will be sharing the initiatives around COP.
Former Environmental Protection Agency chief and now Head of Sustainability at Apple Lisa is an advocate for businesses leading climate change targets. Lisa is quoted saying “climate change is real and a real problem” and has subsequently implemented ambitious targets for Apple, setting the example for other businesses to follow.
7. Pilita Clark,
Financial Times’ Environment Correspondent Pilita will be attending COP21 to communicate the content and progress of the conference to the business community who play an important part of mitigating climate change. Pilita’s correspondence is well-known for being succinct and impartial, informing yet allowing you to make your own opinions.
I’ll be following these women throughout the conference so keep an eye on my Twitter for updates too!