Climate Change Quotes, Environmental Sayings

This list of important climate change quotes and sayings includes the thoughts of activists, scientists, celebrities, and politicians. Together they tell the story of the global environment of today and the future.

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Climate change quotes 2020

The world has changed dramatically in a short period of time because of the global pandemic. These climate change quotes reflect the current thinking on the environment in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic and climate change

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British economist and environmentalist Nicholas Stern, former Vice President Al Gore, and French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal.

1.) There is an opportunity in the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis to create a new approach to growth that is a sustainable and resilient economy in closer harmony with the natural world.
– Nicholas Stern, climate economist

2.) The separation of health and environmental policy is a dangerous delusion. Our health entirely depends on the climate and the other organisms we share the planet with.
– Aaron Bernstein, Harvard School of Public Health

3.) No one saw Covid-19 coming. With global warming, there’s a catastrophe of equal or greater magnitude on the horizon that we can still do something about.
– Steven Desmyter, Man Group

4.) In a crisis, we change our behavior and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society.
– Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist

5.) Both the coronavirus crisis and the climate crisis reveal that our world is inextricably interconnected, and it’s as strong or as fragile as those connections. We have to strengthen those connections. It is our only choice. The sun is going to rise again.
– Mary Annaïse Heglar, climate justice writer

Climate change 2020

6.) Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everybody is living a low carbon lifestyle.
– Lloyd Alter, writer

7.) In modern industrial societies, the fallout from Covid-19 feels like a dress rehearsal for the kind of collapse that climate change threatens.
– Jem Bendell, social-science professor at the University of Cumbria

8.) The impact of the coronavirus around the world and the resulting turmoil in global markets are dominating global attention. As governments respond to these interlinked crises, they must not lose sight of a major challenge of our time: clean energy transitions.
– Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director IEA

9.) My climate grief and my grief about the coronavirus pandemic feel devastatingly similar. Both crises represent tectonic shifts in the way the world works.
– Mary Annaïse Heglar, climate justice writer

10.) If we can stop flying because of coronavirus, we can also stop flying to preserve a livable planet and prevent irreversible climate destruction.
– Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist

Reducing carbon output

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Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist, IEA.

11.) The recent steep drop in oil prices is also a great opportunity for countries to lower or remove subsidies for fossil fuel consumption.
– Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director IEA

12.) Extra carbon dioxide boosts tree growth, but every year this effect is being increasingly countered by the negative impacts of higher temperatures and droughts which slow growth and can kill trees.
– Wannes Hubau, Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium

13.) With the increasing need to address the climate crisis, we have to wean our economies from over-dependence on coal and other fossil fuels.
– Loren Legarda, Deputy House Speaker, Philippines

14.) The cat is already out of the bag in the United States. States, the public, and private sectors have galvanized around decarbonizing the energy mix.
– Alaina Anderson, CFA, partner, global research analyst

15.) Adaptation may sound like a solution to climate change, or at least a way to avoid rapid decarbonization. It isn’t. When it comes to adaptation, there are no good options, only ways of prioritizing particular catastrophes, and communities, over others.
– David Wallace-Wells

Climate Change Now Video

The future of the environment

16.) There are too many pressures at the same time on our natural systems and something has to give. We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not. If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves. And as we hurtle towards a population of 10 billion people on this planet, we need to go into this future armed with nature as our strongest ally.
– Inger Andersen, United Nation’s environment chief

17.) Climate change is the most pressing challenge the world faces as climate disasters wreak more and more destruction, hitting poorer countries the hardest – despite them having done the least to cause them.
– Fr. Damian Howard, SJ, the Provincial Superior of the British Jesuits

18.) After years of work deep in the Congo and Amazon rainforests, we’ve found that one of the most worrying impacts of climate change has already begun.
– Simon Lewis, professor at Britain’s University of Leeds

19.) Let’s hope the human race pops awake and decides not to go extinct itself because if we kill the oceans, that’s it, end of story.
– Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and environmental activist

20.) What happens to the climate and the environment will have implications for us all. That’s why we need to act together to protect the conditions for human life.
– Fr. Damian Howard, SJ, the Provincial Superior of the British Jesuits

21.) Do you want to be the only species that had a prior awareness of its own extinction and chose to go over the cliff anyway?
– Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and environmental activist

22.) So it’s getting harder to see climate change as a problem that’s affecting distant glaciers and islands; it’s now on all our doorsteps.
– Professor Liz Bentley, UK’s Royal Meteorological Society

Influencing climate change policy

23.) We will not allow you to surrender on our future.
– Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist (speech to European Parliament)

24.) All our institutions need to respond to this ecological crisis and take bold action to reduce energy use and switch to renewable sources.
– Fr. Damian Howard, SJ, the Provincial Superior of the British Jesuits

25.) They sweep their mess under the rug and ask children to clean up for them.
– Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist (at the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate event)

26.) The world must respond to the enormous challenges and opportunities of climate change with far greater urgency.
– Paul Chitnis, Director of Jesuit Missions

27.) It should not be this way but we have to tell the uncomfortable truth.
– Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist (at the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate event)

28.) There is every indication that America will still meet the Paris agreement’s targets by 2030 despite the lack of commitment from Washington—driven by the will of the people.
– Alaina Anderson, CFA, partner, global research analyst

Greta Thunberg – Climate change quotes

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Greta Thunberg outside the Swedish parliament building in August 2018. (Photo by Anders Hellberg)

Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019. Here are some of here most important quotes.

29.) You are failing us. But young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you, and if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.
– Greta Thunberg

30.) We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now, is where we draw the line. The world is waking up, and change is coming whether you like it or not.
– Greta Thunberg

31.) This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope? How dare you!
– Greta Thunberg

32.) You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
– Greta Thunberg

33.) Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.
– Greta Thunberg, addressing the United Kingdom’s Parliament

Business leaders – Climate change quotes

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Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist.

34.) It’s the poorer people in tropical zones who will get really hit by climate change – as well as some ecosystems, which nobody wants to see disappear.
– Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist

35.) We need every person on Earth to acknowledge that climate change is real and encourage each other and our leaders to address the challenge.
– Richard Branson, businessman and philanthropist

36.) By the time we see that climate change is really bad, your ability to fix it is extremely limited… The carbon gets up there, but the heating effect is delayed. And then the effect of that heat on the species and ecosystem is delayed. That means that even when you turn virtuous, things are actually going to get worse for quite a while.
– Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist

37.) Taking bold action on climate change simply makes good business sense. It’s also the right thing to do for people and the planet. Setting a net-zero GHG emissions target by 2050 will drive innovation, grow jobs, build prosperity, and secure a better world for what will soon be 9 billion people.
– Richard Branson, businessman and philanthropist

33.) It’s easy to be overwhelmed by climate change and what to do about it. Global greenhouse gas emissions, for example, went up again last year… Still, as I learn about all the new ideas to address this challenge, I am optimistic that with the right mix of solutions we can deploy right now and new innovations we can build a path to a carbon-free future.
– Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist

38.) Climate change is sometimes misunderstood as being about changes in the weather. In reality, it is about changes in our very way of life.
– Paul Polman, Dutch businessman

Religious leaders – Climate change quotes

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The Dalai Lama. (Photo by Cmichel67)

39.) Some scientists believe climate change is the cause of unprecedented melting of the North Pole, and that effects these very uncertain weather patterns. I think we should listen to those scientists and experts.
– The Dalai Lama, Buddhist spiritual leader and Nobel laureate

40.) Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects.
– Desmond Tutu, theologian and Nobel laureate

41.) God gave us the earth, to till and to keep in a balanced and respectful way.
– Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church

42.) Climate change is not the concern of just one or two nations. It is an issue that affects the whole of humanity and every living being on this earth.
– The Dalai Lama, Buddhist spiritual leader and Nobel laureate

43.) Future generations stand to inherit a greatly spoiled world. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility.
– Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church

Scientists – Climate change quotes

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Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist. (Photo by Ferdinand Schmutzer)

44.) The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.
– Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

45.) I think one of the main hopes is the fact that people have woken up: people who were apathetic before or didn’t seem to care. Now suddenly it’s like they’ve heard a trumpet call: ‘What can we do? We have to do something.’ These are people thinking about future generations, not just themselves.
– Jane Goodall (anthropologist)

46.) I’m often asked whether I believe in global warming. I now just reply with the question: ‘Do you believe in gravity?’
– Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist

47.) Even if you never have the chance to see or touch the ocean, the ocean touches you with every breath you take, every drop of water you drink, every bite you consume. Everyone everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea.
– Sylvia Earle, marine biologist

Scientists thoughts

48.) Climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and I think this is perhaps the most serious environmental issue facing us.
– Bill Nye, science guy

49.) If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.
– Guy R. McPherson, American scientist

50.) We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inward at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.
– Stephen Hawking, cosmologist

51.) One of the biggest obstacles to making a start on climate change is that it has become a cliché before it has even been understood.
– Tim Flannery, Australian paleontologist

52.) I’d be stunned, shocked, and amazed if there were a human being on the planet in 2030.
– Guy R. McPherson, American scientist

Politicians – Climate change quotes

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President Barack Obama. (Photo by Dirops850E)

53.) Some day our children and our children’s children will look us in eye and they will ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer and more stable world? I want to be able to say, yes we did…
– Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

54.) The impact of climate change is a tremendous risk to the security and well-being of our countries.
– Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

55.) Connecting with nature is nothing but connecting with ourselves. People should connect with nature to nurture a better planet.
– Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

56.) Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security, and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.
– Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations

57.) Climate change does not respect border; it does not respect who you are – rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call ‘global challenges,’ which require global solidarity.
– Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations

58.) The natural environment performs for us, free of charge, basic services without which our species could not survive… but we are degrading, and in some cases destroying, the ability of the environment to continue providing these life-sustaining services for us.
– Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations

Political leaders thoughts

59.) There is no debate about whether or not climate change is happening. We will deal with it as a challenge. But we also take it as an opportunity to invest.
– Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

60.) We seriously have to question the motivation of those people referred to as climate change skeptics, who are denying the evidence of human-caused climate change and preventing us from moving forward by spreading disinformation and supporting unchecked carbon pollution.
– Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations

61.) Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, it’s common sense.
– Ronald Reagan, 40th President of United States

62.) The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.
– Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

63.) We must face up to an inescapable reality: the challenges of sustainability simply overwhelm the adequacy of our responses. With some honorable exceptions, our responses are too few, too little, and too late.
– Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations

64.) Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here; it is happening now.
– Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

Environmental activists quotes

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Leonardo Di Caprio, actor and environmental activist. (Photo by UNclimatechange from Bonn, Germany)

65.) Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation – if, admittedly, a daunting one.
– Leonardo Di Caprio, actor and environmental activist

66.) The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.
– Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of United States and climate change activist

67.) Wind and other clean, renewable energy will help end our reliance on fossil fuels and combat the severe threat that climate change poses to humans and wildlife alike.
– Frances Beinecke, environmental activist

68.) We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.
– Terri Swearingen, environmental activist

69.) As human beings, we are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable. In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions.
– Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of United States and climate change activist

Activists thoughts

70.) If you have to breathe polluted air, you’re sick… If you have to drink polluted water, you’re sick… So clean air and clean water should be the highest need of every human being and we should protect them above everything else.
– David Suzuki, environmental activist

71.) We are running out of time, and we must have a planetary solution to a planetary crisis.
– Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of United States and climate change activist

72.) If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us.
– David Suzuki, environmental activist

73.) …the overwhelming majority of the public understands very well that climate change is an extremely important challenge, that human beings are responsible for it, and that we need to act quickly and decisively to solve it. The most persuasive arguments have come from Mother Nature.
– Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of United States and climate change activist

Historical climate change quotes

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Ernest Hemingway, American journalist and writer.

74.) The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.
– Ernest Hemingway, American journalist and writer

75.) The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt.
– The Bible

76.) We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
– Native American Proverb

77.) A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

78.) All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
Chief Seattle, Native American (Suquamish and Duwamish) chief

79.) Men argue. Nature acts.
– Voltaire, French writer

If you have any suggestions for climate change quotes, please let us know.

A few closing quotes

80.) I know the impact that carbon pollution is having in our oceans with acidification and coral bleaching. If we stay on the course that we are on, or only mildly modify it, we are going to lose all of our coral, probably by the middle of the century and certainly by the end of the century.
– James Cameron, filmmaker

81.) You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past.
– Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, former chief of US Pacific Command

82.) We really need to kick the carbon habit and stop making our energy from burning things. Climate change is also really important. You can wreck one rainforest then move, drain one area of resources and move onto another, but climate change is global.
– David Attenborough, broadcaster and natural historian

83.) The facts are there that we have created, man has, a self-inflicted wound that man has created through global warming.
– Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and politician

84.) There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.
– David Attenborough, broadcaster and natural historian

85.) The Earth should not be a worse place after my life than it was when I was born here.
– Rob Stewart, filmmaker and conservationist


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