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Leadership and the Climate Change Challenge (Work in Progress)


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The need to act, the moral imperative, and the urgency of now.

This is a working document. Suggestions welcome!

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Leadership and the Climate Change Challenge (Work in Progress)

  1. 1. Leaders and the Climate Change Challenge The need to act, the moral imperative, & the urgency of now
  2. 2. US Department of Defense “DoD recognizes the reality of climate change and the significant risk it poses to U.S. interests globally. The National Security Strategy, issued in February 2015, is clear that climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources such as food and water. These impacts are already occurring, and the scope, scale, and intensity of these impacts are projected to increase over time.”
  3. 3. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England “the vast majority of reserves are unburnable”… “In other words, once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.”
  4. 4. Reinsurance Industry “In order to manage their exposure to climate risk, members are integrating climate change into risk analysis and underwriting decisions. They are increasingly considering their exposure to climate risk in investment portfolios and the need to move capital away from sectors inherently at risk from the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient economy, as well as companies or regions not taking adequate steps to manage their exposure.
  5. 5. Barack Obama “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. Frankly, approving this project [Keystone XL pipeline] would have undercut that leadership... We’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them”
  6. 6. Hunter Harrison, CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway People need to get their heads around the idea that fossil fuels are “probably dead” … “I’m not maybe as green as I should be but I happen to think the climate is changing (and) they’re not going to fool me anymore”
  7. 7. Kevin Anderson, Climate Scientist there is pressure … for us as scientists to stay quite quiet about [climate change], just to say, “Oh, it’s an issue, a problem that we can resolve in the current way of thinking.” You know, that’s all rubbish. The analysis and the maths are really clear about this now. We need radical change.
  8. 8. Bill McKibben, Activist “It’s time to start talking about this as what it really is, the gravest physical threat our civilization has ever faced …The problem is we have a huge pool of money that either exists in the form of expected returns from reserves in the ground or exists in terms of outlays for pipelines and filling stations and all the other infrastructure that we have in trillions of dollars. That’s difficult to get around, but it requires a rational appraisal of the case that even in monetary terms it will be even more expensive to let global climate change get out of control. The problem is that the owners of existing fossil have insane amounts of political power.”
  9. 9. Naomi Klein, Author and Activist • Check intro of This Changes Everything • Or Quotes in Evernote
  10. 10. The Moral Imperative “I will point to the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policy, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle.”
  11. 11. Dalai Lama
  12. 12. W.H. Murray, Climber “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
  13. 13. Frederick Douglass “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
  14. 14. Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) "It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it"
  15. 15. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are now confronted with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. ... We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”