Sir David Attenborough officially opened the new conservation campus named for him… by abseiling down the living wall in the atrium.

Sir David Attenborough said “By bringing together leaders in research, practice, policy and teaching, we stand the greatest chance of developing the solutions required to save our planet. I am enormously proud that these collaborations are occurring in a building bearing my name.”

The building is the new home of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a strategic collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine biodiversity conservation organisations. The radical remodelling and refurbishment, designed by Nicholas Hare Architects, is a working exploration of how to promote biodiversity and create new habitats in the midst of a busy city.

Climate change is arguably the biggest threat to stability and prosperity around the world. Experts agree that by 2035 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will exceed the critical level consistent with a temperature rise of less than 2˚C.

Did you know that the sun delivers 5000 times more power to the surface of Earth than we could ever need? With the cost of renewables slowly but surely falling, something must be done to improve developmental knowledge of renewable energy, which currently recieves less than 2% of the world’s publicly funded research, development and demonstration.

The Global Apollo Program’s website says that their “aim is to accelerate the decarbonisation of the world economy through more rapid technical progress, achieved through an internationally-coordinated program of research and development over a 10-year period.”

An open letter has now been signed by several high profile scientists, businessmen and public figures urging world leaders and citizens of the Earth alike to back the principles of the Global Apollo Program ahead of the UN climate change conference talks which will take place in Paris at the end of 2015.

The letter reads as follows:

We the undersigned believe that global warming can be addressed without adding significant economic costs or burdening taxpayers with more debt.

A sensible approach to tackling climate change will not only pay for itself but provide economic benefits to the nations of the world.

The aspiration of the Global Apollo Program is to make renewable energy cheaper than coal within 10 years. We urge the leading nations of the world to commit to this positive, practical initiative by the Paris climate conference in December.

The plan requires leading governments to invest a total of $15 billion a year in research, development and demonstration of clean energy.

That compares to the $100 billion currently invested in defence R&D globally each year.

Public investment now will save governments huge sums in the future.

What is more, a coordinated R&D plan can help bring energy bills down for billions of consumers.

Renewable energy gets less than 2% of publicly funded R&D. The private sector spends relatively small sums on clean energy research and development.

Just as with the Apollo space missions of the 1960s, great scientific minds must now be assembled to find a solution to one of the biggest challenges we face.

Please support the Global Apollo Program – the world’s 10 year plan for cheaper, cleaner energy.

– Sir David Attenborough
– Professor Brian Cox
– Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
– Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy Environment and Water
– Ed Davey, Former UK Energy Secretary
– Bill Hare, Founder and CEO, Climate Analytics
– Nilesh Y. Jadhav, Program Director, Energy Research Institute @NTU, Singapore
– Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer, BT
– Carlo Carraro, Director, International Centre for Climate Governance
– Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Chair, Grantham Institute
– Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group
– Ben Goldsmith, Founder, Menhaden Capital
– Sabina Ratti, Executive Director, FEEM – Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
– Lord Browne, Chairman L1 Energy
– Zac Goldsmith MP
– Professor Martin Siegert, Co-Director Grantham Institute
– Professor Joanna Haigh CBE, Co-Director, Grantham Institute and Vice President of Royal Meteorological Society
– Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
– Dr Fatima Denton, African Climate Policy Centre
– Denys Shortt, CEO, DCS Group
– Lord Turner, Former Chairman, Financial Services Authority
– Lord O’Donnell, Former Cabinet Secretary
– Lord Layard, London School of Economics
– Professor John Shepherd CBE FRS
– Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

Watch the video below to find out more about the Global Apollo Program – a 10 year project that aims to coordinate international research and development and discover breakthrough clean technologies to tackle climate change.