Below are some key quotes from the session Tackling Climate, Development and Growth at Davos 2015. The session is available to watch in full here.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
“Growth has freed millions of people from poverty and hunger… but growth is also associated with pollution and an increase in emissions.”

“Climate change has happened because of human behaviour, therefore it’s only natural it should be us, human beings, to address this issue. It may not be too late if we take decisive actions today.”

“We are the first generation that can end poverty and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impact of climate change. Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our moral and historical responsibilities.”

“It’s not only government. Government cannot do it alone. The UN cannot do it alone. There should be full partnership… then we should have civil society coming together. Even one normal citizen – they have a role to play.”

“All these policies should be people centered – without people they are meaningless.”

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
“It’s a collective endeavour, it’s collective accountability and it may not be too late.”

“At this point in time, it’s macro critical, it’s people critical, it’s planet critical.”

“As I said two years ago, we are at risk of being grilled, fried and toasted.”

Jim Yong Kim, President, The World Bank
“We have to have a plan equal to the challenge… we need to think about how we bring public and private together to achieve these goals.”

“We need to change the relationship between growth and poverty in a way that has a bigger impact.”

“We have to wake up to the fierce urgency of the now.”

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
“Tackling climate change is closely linked to poverty alleviation and economic development; I would call them different sides of the same coin.”

“We need sustainability – this is a planet that needs to be around for generations to come.”

“The first thing we need from the business community, and the business leaders themselves, is commitment. If you’re not committed, you’re more destructive at the table than if you’re really committed and you want to solve it.”

“At the end of the day we are talking about a moral framework, we are talking about opportunities not for us, but for people who can’t be here  – do you want to be the one that misses that opportunity?”

“If you’re not yet involved – get involved, if you are involved, simply give it a bit more.”

Michael Spence, William R. Berkley Professor in Economics and Business, NYU Stern School of Business, Italy
“I’m very encouraged, this year has been a turnaround… I think humanity is on board.”

“We have a choice: between a energy-efficient low carbon path and an energy-intensive high carbon path, which at an unknown point of time ends catastrophically. This doesn’t seem like a very hard choice.”

“We have to go very quickly… we have a window of a very small number of years… after which we cannot win the battle to mitigate fast enough to meet the safety goals… if this year goes badly it would be a massive missed opportunity.”

“This is the chance to do something we’ve never done before, to come together in a process of top down agreement, and bottom up energy, creativity and commitment. It will be a moral victory.”

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda
“We must involve everybody, and involving everybody means equality as well. Women in Rwanda represent 52% of the population. You can’t keep 52% of the population out of meaningful economic activity, that’s not intelligent.”

“We are not making a choice between environment and prosperity; but we are rather looking at how we combine both.”

“We have put in place policies, that every activity – whether it’s education, agriculture or health – we have integrated aspects of our environment.”

“Everyone is talking about the urgency – that is a big step in itself. The next big step is we need to do it.”

Image: From left to right, Christine Lagarde, Ban Ki-moon, Jim Yong Kim, Paul Kagame, A. Michael Spence and Paul Polman are captured at the ‘Tackling Climate, Development and Growth’ session at the Annual Meeting 2015 of the World Economic Forum at the congress centre in Davos, January 23, 2015. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Monika Flueckiger