Statement for World Decision-Makers at the UN Climate Conference in Paris

December 9, 2015

Statement for World Decision-Makers at the UN Climate Conference in Paris

I grew up along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France and began scuba diving at the age of seven. My father, Jacques Cousteau, his team and I produced many documentary films presenting the beauty and wonder of the ocean to the public.

During my seventy years of diving, I have seen beautiful places of the world. But I have also seen the destruction of our planet. Now, as never before, we face the greatest challenge of our human history: the acceleration of climate change. To the world leaders and representatives gathered in Paris – the world is watching.

Time is running out. There has been enough talking. We must take actions now to change the course of our global future. We must focus on solutions. No nation wins if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, if our temperatures continue to soar or our seas continue to acidify. We all win if we protect our lands and oceans.

Every nation in the world has something to gain if we come together and create solutions. Every nation has something to gain if we realize that the quality of our futures depends on the health of our planet. Faced with challenges, our species is a remarkable innovator, and can adapt to the changing needs of our time. We are the only species on the planet that has the choice not to disappear.

Today, we have more knowledge that ever before, and we can communicate across a global population. We know the climate is rapidly changing, biodiversity is being lost, and our water planet is being polluted. But together, we can solve these problems. The opportunities to create new industries are endless. We must do a better job of harnessing energy from the sun, winds, tides and currents. We must recycle water and capture chemicals before they enter the oceans, and farm the seas in a sustainable way. There are many ways to enhance our human communities while protecting our collective resources.

There is only one water system, and together we live on one water planet. Our lives are undeniably linked, and our futures critically connected. Let’s create the clean energy and water future we depend upon. The time for action is now.

Warm regards,


Jean-Michel Cousteau
President, Ocean Futures Society