Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio is the new international face of Climate-KIC, the European Union’s initiative to fight climate change through innovation.
DiCaprio, a passionate environmental activist, will officially join Climate-KIC’s ambassador programme during a ceremony – featuring a special low carbon flyover – at the organisation’s headquarters in central London, later today.
“Europe leads the world in the race to fix climate change with this initiative, I’m super excited to start working with Climate-KIC to help spread their message internationally,” the actor told reporters at a welcome reception with European innovators last night.
The EU initiative brings together some of Europe’s most innovative start-ups, businesses and universities in an effort to kick-start the continent’s low carbon economy. Although DiCaprio was born in California, his parents have a German-Italian background and he spent part of his childhood in Europe.
Low Carbon Flyover
DiCaprio first learned about Climate-KIC at the UN climate change summit in Paris, where the actor was introduced to head of communications Angela Howarth.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Leo on board,” Howarth tells the Daily Planet. “The news is still sinking in, really, today is a great day for the planet! With Leonardo’s help we will be able to reach even more people around the world – and change course before it’s too late.”
During the ceremony, a flock of seagulls will perform a low carbon flyover to mark the occasion. The birds have been trained by Climate-KIC start-up Plume Labs, which made headlines last month with its Pigeon Air Patrol. The pigeons were equipped with backpacks for two weeks to track air pollution in London.
Air planes produce an average of 24 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per air mile. But Seagulls actually have a positive impact on climate change, a 2014 study from the University of California, Davis, found.
— CNN (@CNN) March 19, 2016
DiCaprio recently picked up his first Oscar at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The Daily Planet reported how he used his thank you speech to call for climate action.
“Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,” he said.
DiCaprio’s first public appearance as Climate-KIC ambassador will be at an event in Budapest later this month, Howarth confirmed to the Daily Planet.
“Leo will help us draw attention to the EIT Innovation Forum,” she said, “It will be a fantastic demonstration of how people across Europe are joining forces to use innovation as the solution to problems like climate change – he can’t wait to see it in person.” The forum, also known as InnovEIT, will take place on 25 and 26 April.
Today’s ceremony in London will be live-streamed on Climate-KIC’s Twitter account at noon local time.
Update 12:00 GMT: Gotcha! This article was published on 1 April as our contribution to April Fools’ Day 2016. Leo, if you’re reading this, you would be most welcome to join Climate-KIC anyway. And we could definitely organise those seagulls. We love your passion, let’s work together – drop us a line!