Pioneering climate research platform Future Earth launched in Montreal, Quebec

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13 February 2015

LONDON: A cutting-edge global research platform called Future Earth which aims to accelerate our transformation to a low carbon planet, was launched in Montreal, Québec today.

Setting out to spearhead pioneering climate research and create an engagement platform for society and scientists alike, Future Earth will have global hubs in Canada, the US, France, Japan and Sweden, functioning under the direction of the Executive Director based in the City of Montréal in the Canadian province of Québec, a member of The Climate Group States & Regions.

Today at the launch event in the city, Gordon McBean, President, International Council for Science and Co-Chair, Future Earth Governing Council announced the appointment of Dr. Paul Shrivastava to head the Global Secretariat of Future Earth in Montréal.

Quebec leadership

Philippe Couillard, Prime Minister of Québec told The Climate Group: "The appointment of Dr. Paul Shrivastava to head the Global Secretariat of Future Earth in Montreal is a great recognition of Québec’s leadership role in the fight against climate change. Along with our partner cities, universities, research centers, businesses, and the people of Québec, we will continue to strive for innovative ways to contribute to this global cause.  For Québec, fighting climate change is a responsibility towards ourselves and the next generations."

The Québec government is supporting the 10-year initiative with a CAN$3 million funding commitment over the next five years, including CAN$2.5 million from the Quebec Research Fund and CAN$500,000 from the Ministry of International Relations and la Francophonie.

Québec has long committed to climate action and The Climate Group welcomes its long-held pledge to reduce GHG emissions a fifth below 1990 levels by 2020 and its leading cap-and-trade system. From 2014, the system has also been linked with California state’s - another valued member of The Climate Group States & Regions.

Libby Ferguson, The Climate Group States & Regions Director, says: “This is an exciting announcement for both climate action and technology development in Québec. We know that a global clean revolution is within our grasp, and through a combination of ambitious government policy, progressive business and new technological solutions, we will ensure a low carbon future. The leadership shown by Québec is also testament to the crucial role played by states and regions in driving impactful climate action and research, at both the local and global level." 

Low carbon research

Future Earth will integrate activities currently going on under the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (to close end of 2015), included work from the International Human Dimensions Programme and DIVERSITAS, and will work closely with WCRP. 

Also in attendance at the launch were Philippe Couillard, Prime Minister of Québec; the Honourable Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal; David Heurtel, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change; Robert Poëti, Minister of Transport and Minister Responsible for the Montréal Region; Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie; Dominique Anglade, President and CEO of Montréal International, as well as representatives from Montréal’s universities and Québec’s research community.

Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre commented: “The world’s metropolises are increasingly called upon to become directly involved with sustainable development and climate change issues. The arrival of Future Earth and the appointment of Dr. Shrivastava are testament to the excellence of Montréal’s research activities as well as the region’s strategic importance as a hub for collaboration and exchange on issues of international importance.”

States & regions compact

Québec is one of 16 leading sub-national governments from around the world who gathered at the COP20 climate talks in Lima last year to sign The Climate Group's Compact of States and Regions. The new commitment by sub-national governments is a pledge for signatories to adopt an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target and report their emissions on an annual basis.

Commenting on the Compact, David Heurtel, Québec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, said: “In the face of the worldwide threat from climate change, all levels of government – national and sub-national – as well as cities have a responsibility to speak frankly and act decisively. In joining the Compact of States and Regions, Québec reaffirms its will continue to play a leading role in the international fight against climate change.”

By providing a clear and transparent picture of sub-national governments' contributions to global climate efforts, the Compact of States and Regions also aims to support the progress of international climate negotiations ahead of the critical talks in Paris later this year, where a global deal is expected to be agreed.

Read more about Future Earth

Explore the Compact of States and Regions

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