Scarlett Johansson Calls for Climate Progress

Okay, she hasn’t phoned me.  Or read this blog, I imagine.

But Google Alert catches all stories using the phrase “Climate Progress,” and this one has popped up in my inbox a half a dozen times, reprinted everywhere from to (the source of the photo) to The Politico.

Here’s the Politico’s version, which includes an “Open Letter to Climate Negotiators” from the actress (and others, like Ian McEwan, author of Solar):

Add Scarlett Johansson to the growing list of celeb-vocates. The actress is focusing her attention on environmental justice for the world’s poor.

Through Oxfam Global Ambassadors, Johansson will join such other notables as Gael Garc­a Bernal and Djimon Hounsou “to call on international negotiators to protect the world’s poor from climate catastrophe at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico starting next week,” according to a release.

“The open letter to climate negotiators will be formally launched by one of the signatories: ambassador and campaign photographer Helena Christensen at a press conference in Kathmandu today, after seeing steps Oxfam is taking to help people survive the changing weather in Nepalese communities. The letter calls on negotiators to put people at the heart of their discussions in Cancun to ensure a safer future for future generations. The letter describes the opportunity negotiators have to break through the current stalemate by setting up a new global climate fund that is fair and safe and enables vulnerable people, especially women, in poor countries to build resilience to the growing threats of a changing climate. Progress on climate funding will also help restore trust between poor and rich countries, opening new doors for more constructive dialogue.”

The full text of the letter is below (the Guardian‘s version):

A year ago world leaders gathered in Copenhagen to take on one of history’s greatest threats to humanity – climate change. Some important progress was made, but sadly not nearly enough.

When they meet in Cancun next Monday for a new round of talks, they can make history. For millions on the frontlines of climate change, the time since Copenhagen has been the year from hell, as floods, droughts, fires, storms and other extreme weather events have wiped out crops and destroyed the livelihoods of some of the poorest people in the world (Report, 20 November).

We know that the destructive impacts of climate change will mean more misery and pain for the world’s poor and increasing instability and insecurity unless action is taken. As leaders prepare for a new round of talks in Cancun next week, it is abundantly clear they must do better. And fast.

Climate funding to help poor communities protect themselves and develop in a low-carbon way could help break through the stalemate. Progress on setting up a new global climate fund that enables vulnerable people in poor countries – especially women, who bear the hardest burdens – to build resilience to growing threats could be the key to moving the world closer towards a global deal. A fair, effective and accountable UN body is needed to give voice to those who need the money most and can use it best.

These measures of success are within our grasp if world leaders seize this moment in Cancun. Time is running out, but it’s not too late to prevent a climate catastrophe. We look to them to play their part in the historic challenge of our time, so that a safer future is secured for us all and generations to come.

Scarlett Johansson USA, Djimon Hounsou Benin, Gael Garc­a Bernal Mexico, Helena Christensen Denmark, Miguel Bos© Panama, Kristin Davis USA, Bill Nighy UK, Angelique Kidjo Benin, Ian McEwan UK, Jeremy Hobbes

Whatever your views about celebrity spokespeople, Johansson just turned 26 on Monday, so she is part of the generation who will have to suffer through the ruined climate we are leaving them.

21 Responses to Scarlett Johansson Calls for Climate Progress

  1. Chris Winter says:

    Cue the Neil Diamond song made famous by the Monkees: “I’m a Believer.”


  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks for the photo, it’s a lovely change of pace, and she can really act, too. Lots of actors are on it, including our top two stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, and their passion is apparent. Schneider and DiCaprio made a climate documentary a few years ago that bombed, because it wasn’t entertaining enough. We need to go beyond a better Inconvenient Truth and lay out the facts in a more gripping way.

    CAP needs a Hollywood office, and Sean Pool and his dad Bob could help here. Having Schwartzenegger as an ally certainly won’t hurt. Someone is going to have to break through the studios- now owned by corporations- and put together a weekly climate show for either HBO or a cable channel that hasn’t caved in to its advertisers.

    There is no shortage of themes, from comedy (Shimkus and Watts skits) to investigative reporting (Climategate perpetrators), along with detailed depictions of the future, historical analysis of the denial machine, fossil fuels ad politics, and, of course, the science.

    TV shows and movies are what connect to people, far more than the nightly news or books. Somebody needs to rustle up a serious bankroll and get this done. And thanks to Scarlett Johansson for stepping up.

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    BRAVO to Scarlet and the others! Bravo!

    Many, many, many more celebrities (and folks from all walks of life) should be speaking out like this and calling for action. Where are all the other film stars, TV stars, musical artists, and etc.? Some of them speak out, but far too few, and usually far too softly. The media usually ignore things unless the voices are loud and a critical mass is achieved.

    We basically need Hollywood to voluntarily shut itself down for a week, in protest! Why not? Are the folks only heroic on screen, but not in real life? Ms. Johansson is setting a great example, and I say Bravo!

    (To be clear, I’m not knowledgeable about “climate funding for the poor”, so this comment is not meant to say anything about what this particular program could or would do to help address climate change or even to actually help the poor, because I’m just not familiar with it. But it’s a well-intentioned effort, and it does help point out an incredible injustice that must be addressed one way or another, preferably by addressing climate change head-on and avoiding the harms in the first place.)

    Be Well,


  4. catman306 says:

    A fine example of people doing what they can to make the public aware of climate change. News of eminent climate change needs to go viral. We all need to do whatever we can, toward that end. Even if it’s only an e-comment at the local paper, you might convince one reader.

    It’s almost too late.

  5. catman306 says:

    Just sharing…

    Imminent | Define Imminent at
    likely to occur at any moment; impending: Her death is imminent. 2. projecting or leaning forward; overhanging. Use imminent in a Sentence …

    Eminent | Define Eminent at
    high in station, rank, or repute; prominent; distinguished: eminent statesmen. 2 . conspicuous, signal, or noteworthy: eminent fairness. …

    Immanent | Define Immanent at
    Philosophy. (of a mental act) taking place within the mind of the subject and having no effect outside of it.Compare transeunt. …

  6. DavidCOG says:

    > …she hasn’t … read this blog, I imagine.

    Who’s to say? If she – along with the other celebs mentioned – are signing their names to things like this, they must be informing themselves somehow – and it shouldn’t take anyone too long to find Climate Progress if they follow the credible tubes.

    P.S. Iron Man II is worth the watch for Scarlett alone. ;)

  7. Wit's End says:

    There’s a national call to Obama on Wednesday December 1 to urge him to keep his promises for climate justice in Cancun. You can sign up to call here:

  8. Prokary otes says:

    We could assume Schwarzenegger starring in the next Cameron or Emmerich movie about environment and or climate change.


    ‘Take a Lesson,’ Schwarznegger Says on Climate Change

  9. paulm says:

    Joe, you should invite Scarlet on to a guest post.

  10. Jim Kornell says:

    Joe, I think she spells her first name with two “t’s” — you as a major fan of journalism might want to get the name right! Thanks for your work.

  11. MarkF says:

    It would be very helpful if the Clergy would add their voice to this fight.

    As far as I can tell, they have largely been mute on this gravest of problems.

  12. MarkF –

    Agreed. It would be nice if the Clergy did something that had to do with the real world. Alas, when trumpets sound and Jesus descends, all this madness will be wiped away, so why bother? Forget the Clergy, it would be nice if our President added HIS voice to this fight.

  13. Roger says:

    Kudos to Oxfam, and to Scarlett and the other celebs, for standing tall!

    And thanks to Wits End and Tod for mentioning President Obama!

    Yes, Obama, lead the nation, give us climate edu-cation: Your next big speech from the Oval Office should be a “State of the Climate” speech.

    Millions of better-informed Americans could and would then suppport the right path forward–a path leading to a stronger, viable US future.

    CP readers can encourage Obama to do the right thing with a few clicks.
    Please sign GWEN’s new petition asking Obama to lead on climate here:

    Every bit of encouragement helps.



  14. anders says:

    I hope she plants a lot of trees for all her air travel…….

    Less talk, more action please, usually I like hollywood action…

  15. Bill Maddox says:

    Clergy? What a joke!

  16. Steven Leibo says:

    A powerful blockbuster really would help and it seems to me that the script already exists. The very powerful but cartoon like ABC News Special of a while back, Earth 2100 could provide the model for an extraordinary feature length film.

  17. Rob says:

    I found this pretty amusing too, although I think the real point of the letter is to sway kids and celebrity lovers to the climate action agenda, so as much as I want to be scathing and cynical about it, I guess it serves a purpose in terms of what the public thinks about.

    A also blogged about it here:

  18. Gord says:

    Gees, she didn’t phone me either.

  19. Some churches are acting positively:

    Also, see Sojourners ( and and )and many states have started Interfaith Power and Light chapters ( and ). Also, see Green Faith Alliance ( ).

    If we want science and religion to cooperate in fighting AGW and other ACC like ocean acidification and ecosystem collapse, we cannot ignore our allies and friends. They are real resources in the Culture Wars.

  20. Patrick R says:

    MarkF and Tod Brilliant bemoan the lack of a response by the clergy, presumably the christian clergy, to our climate problem. Bill Madox pipes in with a comment that the clergy are a joke.

    In point of fact some clergy have spoken. Pope Benedict, the head of Catholic Church, which is the worlds largest christian church, having more than a billion members, has spoken on the issue, both in an address early this year, as well as in a recent encyclical. It has been reported on by a variety of news organizations. Two links are provided

    In the Fox piece the following statements were made:

    “Pope Benedict XVI denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month, saying Monday that world peace depends on safeguarding God’s creation.

    “In his speech, the pontiff criticized the “economic and political resistance” to fighting environmental degradation that was exemplified in the negotiations to draft a new climate treaty at last month’s summit in Copenhagen.

    The Fox piece quotes Benedict making the statement that ‘the same “self-centered and materialistic” way of thinking that sparked the worldwide financial meltdown was also endangering creation.’

    The underlying notion is that the on going harm we are doing to our world is evidence of a fundamental distortion of thought and will which is nothing more or less than sin. The fact that the Pope’s admonition has not been largely publicized does not change the fact that it was accomplished. Neither does the wide ignorance of the United States Catholic Bishops stance on Iraq change the fact that they questioned the immanent war on Iraq in their pulic letter of November 13, 2002, where they made the following statement:

    “Based on the facts that are known to us, we continue to find it difficult to justify the resort to war against Iraq, lacking clear and adequate evidence of an imminent attack of a grave nature. With the Holy See and bishops from the Middle East and around the world, we fear that resort to war, under present circumstances and in light of current public information, would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong presumption against the use of military force.”

    The fact that the church has been ignored does not mean that it has not spoken.

    It may also be of some interest to note that Simon Cadwell of the Daily Mail took the time to lie about what the Pope has said on this subject. Tim Lambert wrote a nice short article on the subject.

    The comments to that article nicely illustrate the unfortunate tendency of some people to go out of their way to attack people who are their allies on this issue because they do not exactly mirror all of their own thought and ideology. A search around the internet will also readily provide evidence of folks who most probably think of themselves as rational and progressive, who swallowed Cadwell’s smear hook line and sinker. We really can not afford to behave this way. Fate of the world and all that sort of thing…

    In closing I offer you these words from the encyclical “Caritas in veritate.”

    “We recognize, therefore, that the Church had good reason to be concerned about the capacity of a purely technological society to set realistic goals and to make good use of the instruments at its disposal. Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty.”