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Billie Eilish, Rainn Wilson and Robert Irwin join Arctic Basecamp and University of Exeter to share an urgent message with world leaders ahead of COP26

Ahead of COP26 kicking off on the 31st October in Glasgow, Billie Eilish, Rainn Wilson and a whole host of famous faces have joined forces with Arctic Basecamp and the University of Exeter to share an urgent message and encourage our world leaders to be courageous, stand together and take urgent action during the UN Climate Change Conference and beyond.

Published 26th October 2021

2021 is a crucial year in the climate debate with the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report sounding a “code red for humanity,” and further research highlighting the need to halve global emissions by 2030 or the world will face irreparable damage.

The Arctic powerfully represents the scale of the climate crisis as despite governmental initiatives, the polar region is warming twice to three times as fast as the rest of the planet. Climate Research shows a strong and direct correlation with rising CO2 emissions and loss of Arctic ice. Research shows that rapid Arctic warming is linked to extreme weather which we have seen throughout the past year through heat waves, wildfires and floods.  Greenland melt is also contributing to critical sea level rise affecting climate vulnerable regions globally.

Arctic Basecamp, founded by Gail Whiteman, Professor of Sustainability at the University of Exeter Business School, is a leading organisation bringing the message of Arctic risk to global leaders. Arctic Basecamp works with global scientists and world-class organisations and individuals to raise awareness of the global risks from Arctic change and to highlight the urgent need for scalable solutions to climate change.

The University of Exeter, is at the forefront of providing solutions on the environment and climate emergency. Exeter houses more of the world’s top 100 climate scientists than anywhere else in the world, including the UK’s five most influential climate scientists*, and for more than twenty years has been leading the way in interdisciplinary research to better understand and tackle climate change. Focused on mobilising their expertise in research and education, the University of Exeter is accelerating global action and facilitating partnerships between governments, businesses and communities.

As a collective, Billie Eilish, Rainn Wilson, Levison Wood, Daze Aghaji, Robert Irwin and Ceallach Spellman have shared their encouraging messages to world leaders through individual videos:

  • Billie Eilish said: “This year our leaders are deciding the global actions required on the environment climate emergency in a critical decade for our planet. We must stand together and speak up to save our planet, not just for us, but for our future generations and we need urgent, urgent action now and to work together as one.”
  • Rainn Wilson said: “Courage. That’s what our world’s leaders need more than anything. The decisions that they make about the climate crisis in the next decade are the most important decisions in our planet’s history. We need to act with urgency. We need to half emissions by 2030. World leaders, are you up for it? I am! Let’s try and do the impossible.”
  • Ceallach Spellman said: “I’ve been thinking about some of the things that bring me courage and bravery. And I think, along with many other things, one of the things that does do that, is seeing courage and bravery around the world in my day to day life. I hope this is on display as world leaders come together, to discuss some of the biggest impacts that this planet faces including the climate crisis. And I hope, I’m sure along with all of you, that we see big, major, vital commitments that we need to see, and not just us, our planet needs to see, our wildlife needs to see, and of course for our brilliant young people – it’s their future that we’re talking about, and it’s their future that we’re impacting.”
  • Daze Aghaji said: “This year global leaders will be travelling to Glasgow to decide the actions needed to fight climate change. This decade is crucial for our world. We need to stand together, muster up the might and have the courage to fight for our earth and our communities. Not just for those who are already here but for generations to come. We need action. We deserve action. And we are brave enough to get it.
  • Robert Irwin said: “Unfortunately, climate change has caused weather patterns to completely change the world over. And here in Australia we’re experiencing environmental change like we’ve never seen before. Our leaders are coming together to discuss some of the planet’s biggest issues including the climate emergency. We must stand together and be brave to save our planet – not only for us but also for our future generations.”
  • Levison Wood said: “This year our leaders are deciding the global actions required on the environment and climate emergency in a critical decade for our planet. We must stand together and be brave to help save our planet, not just for us but for future generations as well. We need urgent action now, and to work together as one.

Professor Gail Whiteman, Founder of Arctic Basecamp and faculty member of the University of Exeter Business School, said “It is amazing to be working with such brave people that not only are using their voice but are using their voice for good. The Arctic is our global insurance policy against runaway climate change because what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay there. This is a crisis and the Arctic is sounding the alarm. It is time that world leaders come together to create real change that ensures a safe future for humanity.”

Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter said: “I am delighted to be working with Arctic Basecamp and thrilled that people like Billie Eilish and Rainn Wilson are using their voices to call for urgent action on the climate emergency. Thank you to everyone who is supporting and involved in our Green Futures campaign at this critical moment for our planet. It will take courage and collaboration to change course and protect lives and habitats. Through education, research and partnerships, the University of Exeter is using its expertise to support communities to build a sustainable, healthy and socially just future. We are working with organisations and individuals right now across the world to create the solutions and system change.”

Arctic Basecamp and the University of Exeter will both be present and active in Glasgow for COP26. See below for more information on events and how to get involved:

  • Follow Arctic Basecamp’s social channels or visit https://arcticbasecamp.org to find out more about our COP26 activities and our Davos flagship events
  • Find out more about the University of Exeter’s work on environment, climate and sustainability through it’s Green Futures campaign or join one of Exeter’s COP26 events: https://greenfutures.exeter.ac.uk/latest-events