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Professor Alexandre Antonelli attends UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Professor Alexandre Antonelli attends UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow.
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“I am hoping for concrete plans”

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Professor Alexandre Antonelli will be attending the UN’s climate summit COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland 31 October to 12 November. He is a professor of biological diversity and systematics at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Oxford and research director at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the United Kingdom.

What will you be doing at the climate meeting in Glasgow?

“I will be representing my main employer, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in the United Kingdom. We are official partners with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and will have a special installation in the UN’s pavilion in the Blue Zone, where the different parts of the world will gather and all the important meetings will be held and decisions will be made. We are the only British organisation permitted to exhibit there, together with Google, Facebook and Bloomberg. My research colleagues and I will be showing a number of plants to illustrate potential natural solutions to the climate crisis, hold presentations and arrange different events.”

What are your hopes for the meeting?

“I am hoping that there will be very concrete plans and not just empty words, and that the plans are firmly grounded, financially and socially. There needs to be a greater focus on international cooperation and plans that benefit the climate, nature and people. I’m part of several discussions on this, and we hope that the decisionmakers are willing to listen.”

In what way will the climate meeting spotlight your research field of biological diversity?

“It is now clear that we should not try to solve the climate crisis without also promoting biological diversity, and vice versa. This has been shown in many reports and studies.

At Kew, we have worked with developing guidelines for tree planting projects that benefit these two aspects, and several thousand organisations and private individuals have signed on to this, but politicians now need to take up the banner.”

Contact: a.antonelli@kew.org (cc to Alexandre Antonelli’s assistant: Eileen McManus E.McManus@kew.org), Tel. +44 7384877664

BY: Carina Eliasson

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Fact box/short biography

Professor Alexandre Antonelli is scientific director at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is also a professor of biological diversity and systematics at the University of Gothenburg and visiting professor at the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford. He is the founder of the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre and has also served as the scientific curator at the Gothenburg Botanical Garden.

Antonelli’s mission is the same as that of RBG Kew: to understand and protect biological diversity for the well-being of humans and the future of all life on Earth. To achieve this, he studies distribution, development, threats and sustainable use of species and develops methods to speed scientific discoveries and innovations. His research focuses on the tropics, where most species are found and where the threat is most acute. Most recently, his attention has been on applications of machine learning for research and the preservation of biological diversity. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters and his work has been cited over 11,000 times.

You can read more about Alexandre Antonelli’s work: