The Countdown Summit
Program

Four days of talks, collaboration and commitments to action. Learn more about the astonishing group of speakers who will share bold ideas, tough truths and the Breakthrough Sessions where we’ll dive deeper into the key questions and the solutions.

Show times local to:

PRE-CONFERENCE: FINANCE AT COUNTDOWN

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hosted by Generation Investment Management, this private pre-conference event focuses on how capital markets can lead the drive towards a just transition to net zero.

Speakers include New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern; Mark Carney, Finance Adviser to the Prime Minister for COP 26 and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Al Gore, co-founder of Generation Investment Management; Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank; the UN’s Special Envoy on innovative finance and sustainable investment Hiro Mizuno; and Janet Yellen, US Secretary of the Treasury. The event is both virtual and in-person, and invitation-only.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021
5:00PM - 7:00PM

Session 1: A pathway opens

Hosted by Chris Anderson, Lindsay Levin and Bruno Giussani

 Let It Happen
Let It Happen

Dancers

Dutch twin sisters Norah and Yarah along with younger sister Rosa share a passion for vibrant dance that led to the formation of Let It Happen.

Zac Goldsmith
Zac Goldsmith

Politician, environmental advocate

Lord Zac Goldsmith is the UK Minister for the Pacific, environment and climate, and a keen advocate for sustainability.

Amina J. Mohammed
Amina J. Mohammed

UN Deputy Secretary-General

Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group. Previously she served as Minister in the Nigerian government.

Selina Neirok Leem
Selina Neirok Leem

Youth climate activist

Born and raised in Majuro, the capital atoll of the Marshall Islands, Selina Neirok Leem was the youngest delegate at the COP21 conference that adopted the Paris Agreement.

Johan Rockström
Johan Rockström

Climate impact scholar

A co-developer of the planetary boundaries framework, Johan Rockström works to understand Earth’s resilience.

Gabriel Kra
Gabriel Kra

Climate tech investor

A scientist, entrepreneur and founder of Prelude Ventures, Gabriel Kra invests in solar energy, hydrogen, plant-based food, storage and other climate technologies.

 Let It Happen
Let It Happen

Dancers

Dutch twin sisters Norah and Yarah along with younger sister Rosa share a passion for vibrant dance that led to the formation of Let It Happen.

Nigel Topping
Nigel Topping

UN High Level Climate Action Champion, COP26

Nigel Topping is the UN's High-Level Climate Action Champion. His aim is to amp up climate action ahead of COP26, the 2021 UN climate conference taking place in Glasgow.

Jim Hagemann Snabe
Jim Hagemann Snabe

Chairman, Maersk and Siemens

Jim Hagemann Snabe is the chairman of the world’s largest maritime shipping company, A.P. Møller - Mærsk, and of industrial giant Siemens.

Monica Araya
Monica Araya

Electrification advocate

Monica Araya works with leaders in government, business, philanthropy and activism to accelerate the shift toward emissions-free transportation.

Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson

Head of TED

After a long career in journalism and publishing, Chris Anderson became the curator of the TED Conference in 2002 and has developed it as a platform for identifying and disseminating ideas worth spreading.

Melati Wijsen
Melati Wijsen

Activist, social entrepreneur

Since the age of 12, in her island of Bali and around the world, Melati Wijsen has been a leading voice for change.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
9:00AM - 10:30AM

Breakthrough Session 1

Dive deeper into the key questions and solutions shared by speakers, join a master class on a specific area of interest and work with peers in small-group sessions. Options for this time block include:

• Systems transformation: How do we make it happen?
• The Arctic and the Antarctic: Our interwoven fates
• Next generation innovators: Agriculture and fuels
• Fashion: How do we get creative about climate?
• The power of presence: Transformational speaking and listening
• Virtual visit to rural India: Meet frontline leaders driving action at scale
• The missing “S” in ESG: Integrating social justice with climate finance
• The Ministry for the Future: Imagining a new reality
• Can green hydrogen become an equitable fuel?
• Field trip to Salisbury Crags with paleontologist Ken Lacovara
• Storytelling: How to ignite a movement

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
11:15AM - 1:00PM

Session 2: Imagining

Hosted by Christiana Figueres and Bruno Giussani / Facilitation by Jayma Pau and Carolina Moeller

Solomon Goldstein-Rose
Solomon Goldstein-Rose

Climate author

Solomon Goldstein-Rose authored the book "The 100% Solution" on what must physically be achieved to reverse global warming. He served in the Massachusetts legislature.

Tzeporah Berman
Tzeporah Berman

Environmental campaigner

Tzeporah Berman is the Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative and the international program director of Stand.Earth.

Dan Jørgensen
Dan Jørgensen

Climate minister

Dan Jørgensen is the Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities of Denmark, tasked with reducing the country’s emissions by 70 percent by 2030 and closing down its oil industry.

Vandana Singh
Vandana Singh

Climate imagination fellow

An author of speculative fiction, professor of physics and interdisciplinary researcher, Vandana Singh is one of the four inaugural Climate Imagination Fellows.

Enric Sala
Enric Sala

Marine ecologist

Enric Sala is a former university professor who saw himself writing the obituary of ocean life and quit academia to become a full-time conservationist as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.

Thomas Crowther
Thomas Crowther

Ecosystem ecology professor

In collaboration with vast networks of ecologists around the world, Thomas Crowther works to address the global threats of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister of Scotland

As the first woman to hold the office of First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is an important progressive and feminist voice in the governance of the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
2:30PM - 4:00PM

Breakthrough Session 2

An opportunity for you to choose your own session from an array of group conversations designed to help you take action. Options for this time block include:

• Speed and scale: Using OKRs to solve the crisis
• The power we need for the future we want
• Scaling a just transition to regenerative agriculture
• How to stay well while caring for the planet
• The true cost of everything: How we account for carbon
• Climate and racial justice: Learning from US social movements
• Minimizing the impact of plastic: Reduce, reuse, replace, recycle
• Reflect and co-create with artist Oliver Jeffers
• Emergency medicine for climate: The geoengineering debate
• Panic to preparedness: How to self-organize in an emergency!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
5:00PM - 7:15PM

Session 3: Transforming

Hosted by Lindsay Levin and Chris Anderson

Bjørn Otto Sverdrup
Bjørn Otto Sverdrup

Chair, OGCI

Bjørn Otto Sverdrup is the new Chair of the Executive Committee of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, whose industry members account for almost 30 percent of global production.

Ryah Whalen
Ryah Whalen

Innovator and aviation expert

As the director of BCG Innovations at the Boston Consulting Group, Ryah Whalen incubates new businesses and ventures and is an expert on the international aviation sector.

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah
Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah

Clean air advocate

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah is a World Health Organization advocate for health and air quality and cofounder of the Ella Roberta Family Foundation.

Shweta Narayan
Shweta Narayan

Climate and health campaigner

From her base in India, Shweta Narayan works on accelerating the role of health professionals in climate action as the international campaigner for Health Care Without Harm.

 Belle and Sebastian
Belle and Sebastian

Indie pop band

Emerging from the Glasgow underground in the 1990s, the charismatic indie pop band Belle and Sebastian has developed a uniquely vibrant, unpredictable and playful sound.

Hongqiao Liu
Hongqiao Liu

Journalist and policy expert

Hongqiao Liu is a Chinese journalist who has been covering climate change since 2010. She now writes for Carbon Brief where she decodes China’s climate and energy policies.

Mahendra Singhi
Mahendra Singhi

CEO, Dalmia Cement

Mahendra Singhi is the managing director and CEO of Dalmia Cement, a prominent cement manufacturing group in India targeting to become carbon-negative by 2040.

Rachel Kyte
Rachel Kyte

Sustainable development diplomat and activist

Rachel Kyte works to identify the path to clean systems and, as the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, focuses on preparing tomorrow’s leaders for a decarbonizing world.

Vera Songwe
Vera Songwe

UN Under-Secretary General

Vera Songwe is an economist, the UN Under-Secretary General and the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa.

Susan Ruffo
Susan Ruffo

Ocean expert

A conservationist and former diplomat, Susan Ruffo is the senior advisor for Ocean and Climate at United Nations Foundation.

Thursday, October 14, 2021
9:00AM - 10:30AM

Breakthrough Session 3

Explore intriguing ideas with leaders who aim to improve humanity’s shared future. Options for this time block include:

• Scope 3 emissions: What they are and how we solve them
• From ‘Limits to Growth’ to growth within limits
• Our awesome ocean: The nexus with climate
• Virtual visit to Beijing: Greening the Belt & Road Initiative
• Inspiring climate leadership across your organization
• Health and climate: The interdependencies
• The future of food
• Decarbonizing aviation: What are the pathways?
• The power of presence: Transformational speaking and listening
• Field trip to Origen Power at Heriot-Watt University

Thursday, October 14, 2021
11:15AM - 1:00PM

Session 4: Reducing

Hosted by Lindsay Levin and David Lammy / Facilitation by Carolina Moeller and Jayma Pau

John Doerr
John Doerr

Engineer, investor

John Doerr is an engineer, acclaimed venture capitalist, chairman of Kleiner Perkins and the author of "Speed and Scale" and "Measure What Matters."

Ryan Panchadsaram
Ryan Panchadsaram

Systems innovator

Ryan Panchadsaram is an engineer and investor focused on solving systemic societal challenges. He was previously Deputy CTO of the United States, championing innovation and open data.

Lindsay Levin
Lindsay Levin

Entrepreneur, activist

Lindsay Levin has dedicated her life to reshaping what leadership looks like, exploring our collective humanity through vulnerability and listening.

Ilissa Ocko
Ilissa Ocko

Climate scientist

Ilissa Ocko works on the causes and impacts of climate change with a particular focus on ways to immediately slow down warming.

Ermias Kebreab
Ermias Kebreab

Animal scientist

Biologist Ermias Kebreab feeds seaweed to dairy cows to find out if it will reduce the methane emissions from livestock.

Rainn Wilson
Rainn Wilson

Actor and activist

Rainn Wilson is an actor ("The Office"), comedian and film producer, a climate advocate and a member of the advisory board of Arctic Basecamp.

Nat Keohane
Nat Keohane

Climate policy advocate

Nat Keohane is president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. He works on market-based policies and high-integrity markets for tropical forest carbon.

Gabrielle Walker
Gabrielle Walker

Writer, carbon removal thinker

The founder of Valence Solutions, Gabrielle Walker wants to catalyze faster change in hard-to-abate sectors and focuses on negative emissions and carbon removals.

Ben van Beurden
Ben van Beurden

CEO, Royal Dutch Shell

Ben van Beurden is the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, the largest Europe-based oil and gas company. In 2020, it released a plan to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050. (Interview)

Chris James
Chris James

Entrepreneur and investor

Chris James founder Engine No. 1, an activist fund that successfully installed three new directors on the board of the US’ largest oil firm, ExxonMobil. (Interview)

Lauren MacDonald
Lauren MacDonald

Climate justice activist

Lauren MacDonald is a Scottish activist and a member of the Stop Cambo campaign, fighting against a proposed offshore oil field west of the Shetlands. (Interview)

Christiana Figueres
Christiana Figueres

Stubborn optimist

Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on climate action and steered the global diplomatic effort that culminated in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Thursday, October 14, 2021
2:30PM - 4:00PM

Breakthrough Session 4

Hear more about the latest in climate from leading authorities, ask all your questions and discuss your thoughts. Options for this time block include:

• Climate finance: Ensuring a just transition for the Global South
• Unlocking the circular economy: Cities as a leverage point
• Next generation innovators: Hard-to-abate sectors
• Funding and stewarding the protection of nature
• Getting positive about carbon negative: How can we get removals right?
• Virtual visit to Mexico City: Coping with water scarcity
• Methane: The invisible giant
• Cultural transformation: Art for accelerating climate solutions
• Explore pathways to the future with En-ROADS climate simulator
• How to be a good ancestor

Thursday, October 14, 2021
5:00PM - 7:00PM

Session 5: Rethinking

Hosted by Chris Anderson and David Lammy

Al Gore
Al Gore

Climate advocate

Nobel Laureate Al Gore focused the world's attention on the global climate crisis.

Gavin McCormick
Gavin McCormick

High-tech environmental activist

Gavin McCormick is a cofounder of the Climate Trace coalition, which combines satellites and artificial intelligence to detect human-caused greenhouse gases from all major sources.

Chibeze Ezekiel
Chibeze Ezekiel

Climate inclusion activist

Chibeze Ezekiel successfully led the campaign against the establishment of Ghana's first coal-fired plant and advocates for local communities and young people to be at the heart of climate solutions.

Lucie Pinson
Lucie Pinson

Financial responsibility campaigner

The founder of Reclaim Finance, Lucie Pinson works on turning off the tap of financing for coal and negotiating with banks and insurers on coal exit policies.

 Hannah Fisher and Sorren Maclean
Hannah Fisher and Sorren Maclean

Musicians

Hannah Fisher and Sorren Maclean are prominent members of the Scottish indie/folk scene, both as individual artists and band members, and longtime marine conservation supporters.

Nili Gilbert
Nili Gilbert

Investment decarbonization expert

Nili Gilbert focuses on socially-aware portfolio decarbonization and bringing science into finance. She chairs the Investment committee of the David Rockefeller Fund and is a leader of Carbon Direct.

Jack Dangermond
Jack Dangermond

Geographic Information Systems pioneer

Jack Dangermond cofounded ESRI and believes that geospatial thinking will help us preserve the health of the Earth’s complex systems.

Dawn Lippert
Dawn Lippert

Investment and community leader

Dawn Lippert is founder and CEO of Elemental Excelerator, a global climate technology investor, and director of innovation and community at Emerson Collective.

Friday, October 15, 2021
9:00AM - 10:30AM

Session 6: Protecting

Hosted by Bruno Giussani and Christiana Figueres

Farwiza Farhan
Farwiza Farhan

Forest conservationist

Farwiza Farhan is a marine biologist and forest conservationist seeking to protect and restore the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra. She is a 2021 TED Fellow.

Jane Zelikova
Jane Zelikova

Climate change scientist

Jane Zelikova is an ecosystem scientist studying the impacts of climate change in natural and managed landscapes with a focus on engineered and natural carbon sequestration.

Sathya Raghu Mokkapati
Sathya Raghu Mokkapati

Green farming innovator

Sathya Raghu Mokkapati's agricultural startup builds low-cost greenhouse systems helping Indian smallholder farmers confront the impacts of climate change. He is a 2021 TED Fellow.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève
Sandrine Dixson-Declève

Co-president, Club of Rome

Sandrine Dixson-Declѐve is the co-president of the Club of Rome, which published the foundational "Limits to Growth" report 50 years ago, and a co-architect of the Earth4All initiative.

Solitaire Townsend
Solitaire Townsend

Sustainability solution seeker

Cofounder and chief solutionist of global agency Futerra, Solitaire Townsend argues that the creative industries can’t be neutral in the face of the climate crisis.

Lucas Joppa
Lucas Joppa

Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft

Scientist Lucas Joppa leads Microsoft’s sustainability strategy across its worldwide business and founded the company’s AI for Earth program.

James Thornton
James Thornton

Eco-lawyer and author

James Thornton is an authority on the power of the law to create change and the founder of ClientEarth, a nonprofit law firm using advocacy and litigation to address the climate crisis.

Naima Penniman
Naima Penniman

Freedom-forging futurist

Naima Penniman is a multidimensional artist devoted to planetary interdependence. She is the cofounder of Wildseed Healing Village and the program director of Soul Fire Farm.

Friday, October 15, 2021
11:15AM - 1:00PM

Session 7: One planet

Hosted by Chris Anderson, Lindsay Levin and Bruno Giussani / Facilitation by Jayma Pau

Patricia Espinosa
Patricia Espinosa

Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

Patricia Espinosa is a politician and diplomat and the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Laurence Tubiana
Laurence Tubiana

CEO, European Climate Foundation

A former French climate ambassador, Laurence Tubiana is the CEO of the European Climate Foundation, working to ensure that Europe plays a front-runner role on climate.

Gonzalo Muñoz
Gonzalo Muñoz

UN's High Level Climate Action Champion, COP25

Gonzalo Muñoz was nominated by the Chilean presidency and the United Nations as the High-Level Climate Champion for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC).

Vishaan Chakrabarti
Vishaan Chakrabarti

Architect and author

Vishaan Chakrabarti believes that cities -- if they are designed to be sustainable, equitable and joyous -- are the best hope for humanity.

 Reeps100
Reeps100

Artist and technologist

Harry Yeff, also known as Reeps100, is an internationally acclaimed media artist and creative technologist, utilizing an almost inhuman vocal range to drive his performative and large-scale artworks and installations.

Nemonte Nenquimo
Nemonte Nenquimo

Indigenous leader

Nemonte Nenquimo is an Indigenous leader of the Waorani people in Ecuador, fighting to protect the Amazon rainforest from resource extraction. She is the cofounder of the Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines.

Sister True Dedication
Sister True Dedication

Zen Buddhist nun

Sister True Dedication is a Zen Buddhist nun ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh, the editor of several of his books and a leading voice of a new generation of young monastics.

Sophia Kianni
Sophia Kianni

Climate knowledge translator

Sophia Kianni is the 19-year-old founder of Climate Cardinals, a nonprofit that aims to increase access to climate information among people who don't speak English.

RELEASED COUNTDOWN SUMMIT TALKS

Talks already released on TED.com in the lead-up to the Countdown Summit.

Alok Sharma
Alok Sharma

President-Designate of COP26

Alok Sharma is a British politician, Cabinet Minister and President-Designate of COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Watch talk
Nigel Topping
Nigel Topping

UN High Level Climate Action Champion, COP26

Nigel Topping is the UN's High-Level Climate Action Champion. His aim is to amp up climate action ahead of COP26, the 2021 UN climate conference taking place in Glasgow.

Watch talk
Kim Stanley Robinson
Kim Stanley Robinson

Science Fiction Writer

Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of nearly twenty books, including the internationally acclaimed “The Ministry for the Future”.

Watch talk
Jamie C. Beard
Jamie C. Beard

Technologist, climate activist

Environmentalist Jamie C. Beard is founder and executive director of the Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization (GEO) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Watch talk