COP21: Key leaders acting on climate change

COP21: Key leaders acting on climate change

Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

Over the last two weeks, the world's politicians, businessmen, scientists and environmentalists have gathered in Paris to discuss one thing: how to save the world from the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Practically everyone has weighed in at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP21, expressing what they think needs to be done to secure a cleaner future.

CNBC takes a look at some of the powerful comments.

—By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Getty Images

"The whole world is (asking) China to produce their products so therefore we're basically sending all the pollution to China and so now they have to deal with it and we all have to work together with them. It's not like finger-pointing (at China) or like 'them versus us,' it's more like 'how can we do this together?'"

Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor, on China and climate change

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US President Barack Obama

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

"For I believe, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us."

"But if we act here, if we act now, if we place our own short-term interests behind the air that our young people will breathe, and the food that they will eat, and the water that they will drink, and the hopes and dreams that sustain their lives, then we won't be too late for them."

—Barack Obama, president of the United States of America

Read More Obama: Climate change is an economic imperative

Angel Gurria, OECD

Ulrich Baumgarten | Getty Images

"The credibility of the whole deal is at stake here. You cannot say that you do not want measurement verification and then at the same time say that you are going to self-patrol, and that it's a sovereign issue. You have to be open: This is for the world at large, this is not depending on your own efforts."

"Unfortunately, emissions do not respect borders."

—Angel Gurria, OECD secretary-general on COP21 progress

Read More Progress at COP21 but 'nitty-gritty' ahead: Gurria

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President
Mark Wilson | Getty Images News | Getty Images

"I know that these politicians care about their children and grandchildren …and I think that as more extreme weather events hit the United States, people will begin to realize that what they're leaving for their children is something that should keep them up at night."

—Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President

Read More Climate change should keep us 'up at night': World Bank

Claudio Descalzi, Eni

Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"We need to go ahead with fossil fuels. We have to segregate and separate good fossil fuels from bad fossil fuels. We have to insist on renewable while we cannot afford to reduce investment (on oil and gas), otherwise it will be a disaster."

"This energy business is not a short-term business. It's a long-term cycle. A long-term investment."

—Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO on energy's environment

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Gina McCarthy, EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

"This is the biggest sea change in the U.S. on how we look at our environmental challenges associated with climate change, our public health, benefits we can get from this rule and the way we can continue to drive towards a low carbon economy."

—Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, on the Clean Power Plan

Read MoreThere's a 'sea change' of opinion on climate change: EPA

Richard Branson, Virgin Group

Richard Branson at the 2105 CGI Annual Meeting in New York.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

"Climate change is everywhere – there's nowhere to hide, and its affects will be catastrophic if it is not brought in line."

Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder

Benjamin Sporton, World Coal Association

Benjamin Sporton, World Coal Association CEO
Courtesy of World Coal Association

"We need to recognize that many countries, developing, emerging and many of us in the West, are looking for affordable, reliable sources of energy. In many cases they look to coal."

"We need to help countries use coal in the cleanest way possible."

—Benjamin Sporton, World Coal Association CEO on coal's future

Read More Coal still key to many economies: World Coal Association CEO

Leonardo DiCaprio

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio speaks at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014
Andrew Burton | Getty Images News | Getty Images

"We are now in a race to better ourselves, to better the planet."

"Be bold, be courageous, do everything in your power to change our current course. The entire world is watching you."

—Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, said about the planet's future, the Press Association reported

Pope Francis

Pope Francis addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25, 2015.
Mike Segar | Reuters

"Every year the problems are getting worse. We are at the limits. If I may use a strong word I would say that we are at the limits of suicide."

—Pope Francis, current pope of the Roman Catholic Church, on the Earth's future

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