World Stamps

United Nations urges action on climate change with three June 20 souvenir sheets

Jun 13, 2023, 12 PM
The United Nations Postal Administration is issuing three souvenir sheets June 20 supporting the Don’t Choose Extinction campaign. The $1.45 sheet for use from the post office at U.N. headquarters in New York City is shown.

By David Hartwig

The United Nations Postal Administration urges “a global transition towards sustainable, green economies” with a June 20 issue of three souvenir sheets.

Each souvenir sheet contains a single stamp, denominated for use at one of three U.N. post offices.

The denominations are $1.45 for the post office at U.N. headquarters in New York City; 2.30 francs for the post office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and €1.90 for the post office at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria.

Each souvenir sheet shows a different image taken from a short film released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in support of the Don’t Choose Extinction campaign, which calls for the end of burning fossil fuels.

The UNDP launched this campaign in 2021 for the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit.

The selvage of each sheet contains a QR code that, when scanned with a smartphone, launches the full video. Text near the QR code gives instructions on how to view the video in English, French or German.

In the video, a dinosaur named Frankie storms into the U.N. Headquarters in New York and delivers a speech at the General Assembly podium.

Voiced by actor Jack Black, Frankie calls out governments for spending billions on fossil fuel subsidies. David Litt, an author and former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, wrote “the witty words and pithy soundbites delivered by Frankie,” according to a Dec. 14, 2021, article on the Forbes website.

“You’re headed for a climate disaster, and yet every year governments spend hundreds of billions of public funds on fossil fuel subsidies,” Frankie said in the video. “Imagine if we had spent hundreds of billions per year subsidizing giant meteors. That’s what you’re doing right now!”

Each year, the world spends $423 billion to subsidize fossil fuels, according to the UNDP.

“Think of all the other things you could do with that money,” Frankie continued. “Around the world people are living in poverty. Don’t you think helping them would make more sense than, I don’t know, paying for the demise of your entire species?”

According to UNDP research, the annual amount to subsidize fossil fuels is almost three times the annual amount needed to eradicate extreme global poverty.

Burning fossil fuels is a cause of climate change, the UNPA said in its Fascination No. 141 bulletin for collectors, and the consequences of climate change include “extreme weather, intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity.”

Frankie ended his speech by declaring: “It’s time for you humans to stop making excuses and start making changes. Don’t Choose Extinction!”

Rorie Katz of the United Nations designed the souvenir sheets using images from the creative agency Activista and Framestore, a company that specializes in visual effects.

The stamps measure 30 millimeters by 40mm, and the souvenir sheets are 110mm by 70mm.

Joh. Enschede of the Netherlands printed the sheets by offset lithography in the following quantities: 13,000 sheets with the $1.45 and €1.90 stamps, and 12,000 sheets with the 2.30fr stamps.

In addition to the souvenir sheets, the UNPA offers four first-day covers: three containing each separate souvenir sheet, and one with all three souvenir sheets. The first-day cancellations show the image of a dinosaur.

For ordering information for the new Don’t Choose Extinction souvenir sheets and related products, visit the UNPA website; email; telephone 212-963-7684 or 800-234-8672; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.

Connect with Linn’s Stamp News: 

    Sign up for our newsletter
    Like us on Facebook
    Follow us on Twitter