Public Release: 

Pope Francis to speak out on climate change during 24-hour global Climathon

Six continents including North America to take part



IMAGE: Map of cities participating in the Climate-KIC Climathon. view more

Credit: Courtesy of Climate-KIC

A 24-hour global Climathon is set to coincide with the much anticipated environmental encyclical by Pope Francis on June 18. The hackathon-style event will bring together citizens across six continents to find local climate change solutions.

The Climathon unites citizens in major cities across six continents including national capitals such as Beijing, Washington, New Delhi, Addis Ababa and London -- as well as in the Pope's native South America. The global event is organised by the EU's main climate innovation initiative, Climate-KIC.

Climate-KIC Chairman and climate scientist John Schellnhuber -- who is director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) -- has been invited to give a speech in the Vatican during the presentation of the Pope's encyclical. The document issued by the leader of more than one billion Catholics around the world is expected to be an important signal on the road to a global climate change agreement. Schellnhuber will be the only scientist to join Cardinal Peter Turkson for the presentation on June 18.

Momentum is building

In the run up to the Pope's encyclical, Climate-KIC's John Schellnhuber also joined a workshop hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican. 'The world has within its technological grasp, financial means, and know-how the means to mitigate climate change while also ending extreme poverty (...),' the joint declaration of the workshop participants read.

Bertrand van Ee, Climate-KIC CEO, said: 'It is crucial that we act now, and rebuild our economy in the process. Momentum is building, the link between economic growth and carbon emissions keeps weakening. Take last year's EU energy-related emissions, they went down by 5 percent -- and GDP went up by 1.3 percent. The low carbon economy can boost growth and create new jobs.'

Need to start locally

Van Ee added: 'It is crucial to bring change close to where people are, to our cities. That is why we are bringing together citizens of major cities on six continents this week. Our Climathon aims to find local solutions to global challenges and empower people to take action, whether they are in New Zealand, Ethiopia or Finland. We need to start locally in order to go global.'

Other participants of the workshop in the Vatican included UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Nobel Laureates Yuan Tseh Lee and Paul Crutzen, Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California and economist Jeffrey Sachs of New York's Columbia University.

Their joint declaration called for decisive action on climate change: 'Human induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity. (...) The world should take note that the climate summit in Paris later this year (COP21) may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2 degrees Celsius, yet the current trajectory may well reach a devastating 4 degrees Celsius or higher.'

Global Climathon

During Climate-KIC's Climathon, participants around the world will meet locally and collaborate online with cities around the world to find innovative solutions to climate change. The hackathon-style event is being organised by the EU's main climate innovation initiative, Climate-KIC. The best solutions will be presented during the COP21 in Paris.

The focus in each city is on predefined local climate change challenges, ranging from finding ways to counter threats posed by sea-level rise in Boston, USA, to developing the best solutions to find ways to empower the citizens of São Paulo, Brazil, to improve the conservation of its biodiversity. A full overview of all cities and challenges is available on

The Climate-KIC Climathon is an official partner of the former US Vice-President Al Gore's Climate Reality Project, which runs a global series of 'Road to Paris' events in 2015 under its Live Earth banner, in collaboration with the United Nations. The Climate-KIC Climathon aims to connect and empower citizens around the world to take direct climate action in their cities in the run up to COP21.

Also see the Climathon announcement:


Notes for editors:

Climathon cities: In Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia takes part. In Asia, Beijing and New Delhi join the event. In North America, Washington and Boston join. South America is represented by Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil. Oceania takes part from Wellington -- the New Zealand capital -- and Perth in Australia. Europe is represented through Copenhagen, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Helsinki, London, Winterthur and Wa?brzych in Poland.

About Climate-KIC

Climate-KIC is the EU's main climate innovation initiative. It is Europe's largest public-private innovation partnership focused on mitigating and adapting to climate change. Climate-KIC consists of companies, academic institutions and the public sector.

The organisation has its headquarters in London, UK, and leverages national and regional centres across Europe to educate students and professionals, to support start-up companies and to bring together partners on innovation projects to bring about a connected, creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into products and services that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

About the Climate-KIC Climathon

Visit for an overview of partner organisations and the climate change challenges per city.

Follow the Climathon on June 18 on social media via the #Climathon hashtag, and the Climate-KIC channels and


Angela Howarth
+44 (0)20 7492 1972 or +44 (0) 7872 850 084 (British Summer Time / UTC +1)

For media contacts in the participating cities see the Climathon announcement:

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