Leaders quotes in response to the Petersberg Climate Dialogue

Apr 29, 2020

We call on political leaders participating in the Petersberg Climate Dialogue to design holistic economic recovery plans promoting health, climate, nature and well-being for people. Our best chance at stabilizing the Earth and building back better post COVID-19 is to align these colossal rescue deals with smart goals on climate and biodiversity. National plans and International cooperation are therefore essential to resolve future existential threats and ensure that economic recovery and the transfer of capital fosters greater resilience to future shocks.

“Fiscal stimulus programmes addressing people, planet, prosperity are the only way forward for economic recovery, resilience and renewal. Most stimulus packages on the table merely prop up the old high carbon inequitable economy responsible for this zoonic pandemic. A proper Recovery plan needs responsible leaders who are willing to build a resilient well-being economy fostering regenerative growth and sufficiency. This crisis has taught us that we can all change, transform our systems and behave differently when in crisis. Let’s not go back to business as usual!”

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome

“Governments tempted to rollback climate and nature commitments to shore up collapsing economies should think again. This century will be characterized by speed, scale, connectivity and surprise. Global pandemics, climate chaos, deforestation and mass extinctions are part of the same problem and interact and reinforce each other.”

Johan Rockström, director Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

“We must use this unique moment to ensure we tackle both global crises – COVID-19 and climate change – meaningfully.

“We need economic recovery packages that are sustainable and provide the platform for the system change necessary to advance climate action. Countries must reboot their economies by stepping up their climate action through accelerating the transition to renewables, funding sustainable industries and infrastructure, creating green jobs and greening supply chains.

We support the UN Secretary General’s call to countries, especially to big emitters, to play their part and submit enhanced and ambitious national climate plans. It will be crucial for them to design their climate pledges and economic recovery packages hand in hand this year.

Nature is essential to human health and well-being and it is also the foundation for a stable global economy. Making full use of nature-based solutions such as building sustainable food systems and protecting forests and ecosystems will be more important than ever.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy practice

“Now is the moment for global solidarity for all those affected by the pandemic and to find the courage to restore the balance between people and nature for future economic, human and planetary health. We look to your leadership to build a new global economy with a changed mindset that ensures an equitable, inclusive and sustainable future for all. This surely demands that recovery packages and fiscal stimulus plans be designed to foster an economic recovery strategy that avoids any further harm to our natural ecosystems, and in fact, incentivises nature-based solutions for the critical role that they can and should play in building a robust and stable world.”

Lucy Almond, Chair and Director of Nature4Climate

“Governments around the world have implemented policies to protect health at great economic cost. Any post-COVID recession will also have major impacts on mental and physical health through increased poverty and unemployment; investing in fossil fuels would also worsen air pollution and climate change. In recovering from COVID-19 it makes sense to act on climate, protect nature and promote health and wellbeing. There is a very strong business and economic case for addressing the current emergency through a systemic approach to achieve multiple benefits for people and planet.”

Andrew Haines, Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“We are just at the start of this crisis. In some regions of the world, there is a high risk of widespread food insecurity that would turn the current public health challenges into a humanitarian crisis. Governments, banks, the private and philanthropic sectors and the international community must act now – and together – to keep food flowing, protect the most vulnerable and sow the seeds for a resilient recovery.”

Jeremy Oppenheim, Global Principal, Food and Land Use Coalition

“We call on governments of the world to spend stimulus money wisely and invest in the economy of the future. The current crisis has cruelly demonstrated the urgent need for a better economy which enhances the health of people and ecosystems, builds our resilience, better anticipates and mitigates risks and drives sustainable economic prosperity. It is possible to help the global economy recover while building this economy of the future by investing in renewable energy, in buildings retrofitting, in low-carbon resilient infrastructure, in EV manufacturing. Clean energy and low-carbon solutions can clean the air we breathe, improve our quality of life, limit the occurrence of climate-related disasters, while underpinning new businesses and new jobs. Many companies have the ambition, the technologies and the skills to build this new economy. Governments have the choice, the power and the responsibility to build it faster with them.

Direct economic support to businesses should be conditional to legally binding climate commitments. These can be conceived so as not to slow down immediate business recovery by focusing on medium-term targets. Climate commitments are not only good for climate, they are also good for business. Data shows that companies that pay particular attention to their social and environmental footprint are more financially sustainable and resilient than the average.”


Faustine Delasalle, Director, Energy Transitions Commission

“At this time of crisis we’re realising just how fragile our socioeconomic and political systems have become. As the dust settles, we will face a choice: to reflexively repair what’s there, or to rebuild with purpose. Many industries, institutions and initiatives will be seeking financial support. I would urge the world’s governments to focus not on propping up those who shout the loudest, but on fostering those with the potential to move society toward a more responsible, resilient and regenerative future.”

Dr Geoff Kendall, CEO & Co-Founder, Future-Fit Foundation

“Now is the time to build an actionable recovery plan for the planet, which will deliver win-win-win opportunities for climate, people and nature. We can phase out fossil fuels by boosting energy efficiency, energy savings and renewable energy sources. We can breath some clean air and live in healthier environments by greening cities and developing low carbon transport systems. We can protect our forests and biodiversity as the best life saving insurances for future generations. Now is the time to rethink our relationship with nature and re-imagine the world. People and nature are all part of one living system, sharing one health and one planet. if we take care of nature, nature will take care of us. A healthy planet will support people’s health and well-being. We can only win by working together, across all nations of the world, in a spirit of shared leadership and solidarity with the most vulnerable people.”

Elise Buckle, Founder and President of Climate & Sustainability, Facilitator of the Planetary Emergency Partnership.

“This pandemic has shown that our fate is inextricably linked to nature’s fate. If governments invest now in the protection of nature, we not only help protect our health, we also protect our precious biodiversity, our climate, and our economies – half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature. To create a sustainable future our governments must defend nature’s shield, and the first step is protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030.”

Dr Enric Sala, Explorer in Residence, National Geographic Society

“There is a single species responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic – us. Recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity, particularly our global financial and economic systems that prize economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones.”

Professors Josef Settele, Sandra Díaz and Eduardo Brondizio, for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

“It is time to recognise and act on the climate, nature and people health emergency at the same time and build back better after COVID 19. This requires conditionality on government funding to ensure a more resilient and regenerative future- ”

Fiona Ellis, Director, Business Declares

A global letter by the Planetary Emergency Partnership*, calling on Global Leaders to respond to the human health, economic, climate & biodiversity crisis with solutions that build resilient societies on the longer term, has been signed by more than 4000 policy-makers, academics, activists as well as business men and women.

Contact for media enquiries and interview requests:

The Club of Rome; press@clubofrome.org, +41(0)52 244 0806

*The Planetary Emergency Partnership is a global platform of over 180 leaders from governments, UN, international organizations, business, civil society, youth movements, scientific institutions and academia. Their common objective is to secure recognition of and concomitant action on the planetary emergency – the convergence of global social inequalities, the climate crisis and vast biodiversity loss. The platform grew out of a small group of partners convened by the Club of Rome to develop the Planetary Emergency Plan, and to promote the Club’s narrative of “emergence from emergency”, the notion that our current predicament is both an urgent call for action and an unprecedented opportunity for transformation. The platform’s high-level political access and bottom-up, local level efforts support the ultimate high-level goal of a Planetary Emergency Declaration and Plan being adopted by global leaders by the end of 2020, now that the connection between nature, climate change and people’s health is even more important.

The Planetary Emergency Plan produced is a novel contribution to the emergency debate, recognising the inextricable interconnectedness of the three challenges referred to above, and providing a new approach to conventional short-term siloed policy action. Concretely, it combines a focus on protecting and restoring our Global Commons with implementing a series of economic and social transformations, to guarantee the long-term health and well-being of people and planet. The Plan and Declaration proposal were launched with WWF in the presence of a number of Heads of State and Government and received the support from Austria, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Fiji, Monaco, Norway, Seychelles, UK as well as First Vice-President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans.

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