The Elders

Press release

The Elders urge G20 leaders to commit to a strong, inclusive and equitable climate deal

The Elders have written to the G20 heads of state and government on the need for a strong and just climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris.

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The Elders have called on G20 Heads of State to show leadership and commit to a credible, strong and just agreement at the COP 21 climate negotiations in Paris in December.

In a letter sent ahead of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey on 15-16 November, The Elders warned that failure to reach such a deal would undermine the United Nations’ recently-agreed new Sustainable Development Goals.

In their message to the G20, The Elders stressed:

“Without a strong agreement in Paris, the SDGs will not be deliverable. Instead development gains achieved to date will be wiped out by the impacts of climate change. This is a human rights and justice issue, not just an economic one. As we rapidly approach the tipping point beyond which climate change may become irreversible, we risk denying future generations their right to a liveable, sustainable planet.”

The Elders called on G20 Heads of State to use their position to resolve the complications and competing views that still exist in the draft text for the COP21 Paris agreement:

“Time and leadership are of the essence…Your engagement as a G20 leader is thus crucial in reaching a strong, inclusive and equitable agreement at Paris.”

They highlighted four crucial elements to address climate change which need to feature in any credible outcome in Paris:

  • An overarching goal for all nations to reach a state of carbon neutrality by 2050
  • A clear and strong commitment on climate finance
  • A mechanism that will assess collective progress and ratchet up the commitments of all countries on mitigation and adaptation every five years
  • Enabling conditions for the introduction of a global carbon price.

The Elders warned that failure to agree an effective deal in Paris would condemn the world to catastrophic climate change that threatens life and livelihoods.

“For the sake of our children and grandchildren, this cannot be allowed to happen. We urge you to rise to this challenge and to seize the opportunity to achieve sustainable growth and development, harnessing technological advances in renewable energy to create jobs, increase prosperity and end poverty.”

For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of International Media at The Elders (+44 7795 693903 or

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The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

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