Rachel Kyte holds a motivational keynote address to the audience of the Connect4Climate Be The Movement workshop at the University of Warsaw in parallel to COP19.
“Yes, one person can make a difference, absolutely….
…I think that one of the things that I see is that none of the solutions, and the solutions are at hand, the solutions are not unknown in many cases, but most of the solutions are multi-disciplinary or interdisciplinary…
Just look at the communication over the last ten days since typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Can we say that that one storm can be attributed to climate change? No. Can we say that the ocean off the coast of the Philippines is higher than it was 20 years ago? Absolutely. That’s measurable, we have the data. Can we say that the ocean off the coast area of the Philippines is warmer? Yes! Does that mean that the storm surge was bigger? Yes! Does that mean that if that same typhoon had hit the Philippines 20 years ago today it would have had a different impact. Yes! Is that due to climate change? Yes! But how to communicate trends, how to communicate scientific data is really important….
We need science to inform policy and then we need good policy.
… The greatest win-win is agriculture but we’re not even talking about agriculture….
We don’t just want to fill stomachs, we want to fill stomachs with vitamins, minerals and proteins so kids can actually learn when they go to school….
In climate change most things are a trade off. Agriculture is a win-win-win and we’re not even talking about it.
…Then you talked about solutions and the problem that it’s still perceived as a development versus climate debate. I’m more optimistic. It was the case, in the World Bank we’re a development financial institution. For years it was thought we should not be talking about climate change because we are a development organization, but increasingly we have understood and we are not alone that we cannot eradicate extreme poverty, extreme poverty, measured by an income of $1.25cents a day, unless we grapple climate change….
We believe we can’t solve climate change without poverty and we can’t solve poverty without climate change. These two are inextricably linked and they are the moral challenge of this generation….
…What’s being discussed over at the convention is loss and damages and who’s going to pay for it. What we have been doing is bringing to the conversation evidence that you can reduce the cost of loss and the cost of damage by investing in resilience….
We need to invest in resilience today. … For every dollar invested in early warning, you can save up to $35 in the cost of reconstruction.
… who is going to compensate for entire societies when they have to move because their agriculture systems can no longer grow effectively or be productive at 4 degrees centigrade or 4.5 degrees centigrade, or 5 degrees centigrade and that’s being discussed.
I think that for your generation and my generation and for my kids, climate change is redefining what it means to be in solidarity. I think climate change is redefining what it means to be generous….
…Making development resilient, raising the road up so it will be above the flood line, building schools so they don’t wash away, putting a water treatment plant somewhere other than a flood plain is going to cost about 25% more. We estimate that every year a trillion dollars could be invested in infrastructure. That’s the gap, the infrastructure gap. …
… The costs of mitigation are also very expensive. And it will be us and you who are going to pay for this… every day we do not price what is bad we are simply storing up trouble for ourselves financially down the line.
… The sooner we act now, the better we’ll be off financially in the long run…
This is about building a movement, you are the movement.
As you said at the very beginning every one person can make a difference. If you look at the example of the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, of the movements that have transformed within a generation not just what is happening in the world, but the way in which young people think about what their lives might be then every single person has made a difference….
If you want to make change you’re going to have to take the brave fork in the road. That’s your challenge.
Thank you very much.”