Thought Leaders


The United Nations and broader multilateral system bring together some of the world's leading thinkers on climate change—scientists, diplomats, economists, business leaders, activists and more. Check this page regularly for thoughtful conversations with people on the vanguard of actions to solve the climate emergency.


Photocomposition: Elizabeth Mrema smiling

Elizabeth Mrema: Protecting the world’s biodiversity

In August 2022, the world will convene in Kunming, China, to adopt a new framework for protecting the world’s biodiversity. The Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Mrema, speaks about the interlinkages between climate change and biodiversity loss.

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Photocomposition: Hindou Ibrahim smiling

Hindou Ibrahim: Living in harmony with nature

“Indigenous peoples are a solution, we are not only a victim of the climate change,” says SDG Advocate and Indigenous rights activists Hindou Ibrahim, talking about the indispensable role that indigenous communities play in protecting life on our planet.

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Photocomposition: Inger Andersen smiling

Inger Andersen: Justice is an essential part of the environmental discussion

As the UN Environment Programme marks fifty years of environmental diplomacy, Executive Director Inger Andersen talks about the importance of climate justice and the urgent shifts the world needs to make to realize a climate-resilient and low-emissions future.

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Portrait of Selwin Hart

Selwin Hart: Financing adaptation is an issue of justice and an economic imperative

As the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Action, Selwin Hart spearheads a global drive to raise climate ambition now. In this interview, he talks about the critical need for developed countries to finance climate adaptation to save lives and protect livelihoods in countries facing the worst consequences from climate.

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Portrait of Damilola Ogunbiyi

Damilola Ogunbiyi: Ending energy poverty saves lives and the planet

As the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, Damilola Ogunbiyi is passionate about ending energy poverty. Progress demands collective commitment and clear plans, tools and finance, with the upcoming high-level dialogue on energy offering a chance to mobilize action.

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Portrait of Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson: Moving the needle on the sustainable blue economy

Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, mobilizes global action to conserve and sustainably use the ocean. He spoke recently about ocean-climate connections, perspectives from small island developing States and the far-reaching possibilities in developing a sustainable blue economy.

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Portrait of Mafalda Duart

Mafalda Duarte: Climate finance catalyses change

Mafalda Duarte heads the Climate Investment Funds, which works with multilateral development banks, governments and communities in developing countries to finance climate solutions. In a recent interview, she spoke about how public climate finance catalyses change and why successful climate action depends fundamentally on social inclusion.

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Portrait of Patricia Espinosa

Patricia Espinosa: Climate calls for a unity of purpose

Patricia Espinosa is the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the foundational 1994 international agreement on climate action most recently elaborated in the 2015 Paris Agreement. In a make-or-break year for climate action, Espinosa reflects on the climate emergency, urging a unity of purpose.

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Portrait of Sharan Burrow

Sharan Burrow: Shared prosperity provides hope and security

Why is climate a labour issue? Sharan Burrow explains – and explores what a just transition to a low-carbon economy really looks like. As head of the International Trade Union Confederation, she argues for a new commitment to achieving shared prosperity and abandoning economic patterns that fail people and the planet.

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Portrait of Elliott Harris

Elliott Harris: Measure the value of nature – before it’s too late

UN Chief Economist Elliott Harris introduces a ground-breaking shift in valuing nature as a way of making more informed decisions about economies, climate action and the protection of biodiversity. He urges acting now to end a 100-year legacy of treating environmental resources as free and limitless, a pattern that imperils our future.

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Portrait of Mark Carney

Mark Carney: Investing in net-zero climate solutions creates value and rewards

In this interview, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney spoke about how private finance is increasingly aligned behind achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. He underlined that people everywhere should keep up the pressure in calling for climate action.

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