Mary Robinson received the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Atlas Award on 25 February 2012 at the AAG annual meeting in New York.
Mary Robinson received the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Atlas Award on 25 February 2012 at the AAG annual meeting in New York. Mrs Robinson also delivered an address on climate justice and the international efforts to combat climate change entitled Mapping the Future of Climate Change.
Mrs Robinson was presented the award by Douglas Richardson, AAG Executive Director, and AAG President Audrey Kobayashi. Mrs Robinson said she was honoured to receive the award.
In her address, she discussed climate justice, which she said is “a defining issue of our time”. She described her approach to climate justice in terms of geography and how climate change affects different parts of the world and people differently and how responsibility for the problem is “apportioned geographically and how the geopolitics of climate policy influences decision making at the international level”.
Mrs Robinson looked at the outcome of COP17 in Durban. She said she welcomed the outcome “because it marked progress and set a deadline for the delivery of a new climate agreement”.
She said: “It was not the breakthrough needed to solve the problem now, but no one really expected that. Neither was it a failure; in fact it lays down a clear challenge to all the countries of the world – and particularly those responsible for the worst emissions – to get their act together before it is too late. A new roadmap has been set for seriously addressing climate change; we should all play our part in putting pressure on for the world’s leaders to take on their responsibilities.”
She concluded her address by urging the audience to use their “powers of research, argument, teaching and advocacy to send a strong message that people are at risk, and that people must solve the problem”. She said they could do this by championing a climate justice approach.