Christiana Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac: How We Can Survive the Climate Crisis
‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words’ — so goes the epochal statement from Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, standing before world leaders at the United Nations last year. With a recent report showing only three EU countries on track to meet their commitments under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, it can be hard to dispute her diagnosis.
Why, then, do Christiana Figueres, the former UN Secretary for Climate, and Tom Rivett-Carnac, a senior political lobbyist for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, both architects of that very agreement, find themselves feeling optimistic?
Casting ahead to our 2050 deadline, their manifesto The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis, sketches out two stark paths for humanity: one in which we fail to act urgently to achieve carbon neutrality, the other of cautious hope, where a shift in consciousness reignites feelings of global citizenship. With next year’s COP26 in Glasgow standing as a make or break moment in the fight against ecological collapse, Figueres and Rivett-Carnac talk to New York Times international climate reporter Somini Sengupta about the practical ways we can empower ourselves to choose the path of survival — and not a moment too soon.
This book packs a lot into 186 pages: part manifesto, part call to arms, part essential handbook to navigating the climate crisis.
Co-authored by two key architects of the 2015 UN Paris Agreement, it imagines what will happen if we meet the terms of that agreement by 2050, and what will happen if we don’t. There’s an urgency about it, but also an unshakable optimism underpinning the practical, manageable advice the authors give.
It reminds us that hope is a radical political act, and one we particularly need in times of crisis and uncertainty.