Christiana Figueres

Top UN climate bod.

We can expect to hear from Figueres if only because of the organisation she heads; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC was the treaty negotiated at the so-called ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio in 1992, but it’s also the name of the bit of the UN in charge of how these agreements play out. Representatives of the signatory nations meet annually in what’s commonly known as ‘COP’ talks (‘Conference of the Parties’) to assess progress on global climate change targets and commitments. The Copenhagen talks in 2009 were COP15, later this year we’ll see COP20 in Lima, and the Paris talks in 2015 will be COP21. COPs are sometimes accused of being more about theatre and gridlock than action, but they provide space for global action if the various parties are open to taking it (and theatre can have impact in itself).

Figueres is very much a voice in her own right though, with an impressive CV in sustainable development and diplomacy. See, for example, her recent call for faith leaders to speak up in the climate debate, or follow her on Twitter @CFigueres.