Imperial College London

60 world leaders prepare to sign international climate agreement on Earth Day


The Earth from space

"A great moment to be savoured," says Chair of the Grantham Institute, as the Paris Agreement signing takes place today.

At the UN climate change summit held in Paris last December, representatives of 195 countries agreed to trying to keep global warming below 2°C, and to endeavour to limit it to a maximum of 1.5°C.

Following the signing by around 170 counties today, the agreement 'could be in place by 2018', according to the UN's chief climate diplomat Christiana Figueres, who spoke at the Grantham Institute Annual Lecture last week.

Around the world academics, individuals, and business and community leaders are now urgently considering how to meet the ambitious targets set out for them by their governments.

Experts from Imperial College London responded to the news today:

Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Chair of the Grantham Institute

A great moment - one to be savoured! Now we need to focus on matching the aspirations with making the intended emission reductions a reality and finding ways to do more.

Ajay Gambhir, Senior Policy Research Fellow at the Grantham Institute

It is good to see commitment towards the Paris Agreement confirmed today. The Agreement marks an important start to meaningful and constructive international cooperation on addressing dangerous climate change.

The critical challenge is now for nations to step up and deliver low-carbon technologies and measures as fast as possible.

Collectively we've allowed too much carbon to be emitted and we need to make amends. We now have the means to do so at reasonable economic costs, with potentially massive co-benefits in terms of cleaner air, less reliance on volatile and uncertain fossil fuel markets, and the economic stimulus from the growth of new cleantech industries.

Dr Kaveh Madani, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management, Centre for Environmental Policy

We now have a good reason to celebrate the Earth Day. Developing a desire to change and changing attitude are the essential to solving complex multi-stakeholder problems. We can now claim that we want a change, but let’s not forget that a change does not come automatically with signatures and celebrations. We need strong leadership, effective environmental diplomacy, and sustained sense of urgency and responsibility to ensure we can meet our ambitious targets outlined in the documents we are signing today.


Simon Levey

Simon Levey
The Grantham Institute for Climate Change

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Climate-change, Environment, Strategy-decision-makers
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