Climate Week NYC takes place September 19–25, 2022. Canary Media is partnering with Climate Group to cover the event and spread the word. Here, Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson lays out some key themes and areas of focus for this year’s gathering. Take a look at the official event calendar, and check out Canary Media’s Climate Week NYC coverage starting Sept. 19.
Our theme for Climate Week NYC this year is Getting It Done. The science is clear: We need to halve emissions by 2030, so Getting It Done is a call to action. Commitments are critical, but at the heart of everything happening at this year’s Climate Week NYC will be the central question of how to turn those commitments into tangible action.
Also underpinning the theme is the question of how. How are we Getting It Done? Who is stopping us? And for whom are we doing it? These are the three key sub-themes we’ve built this year’s programming around, which we see as the critical issues in climate action today.
We have a clear deadline in sight: 2030. This is the year by which we need to halve emissions to have a chance of delivering net-zero emissions by the middle of the century in order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of warming.
This target is incredibly ambitious, and it will be an enormous challenge to hit, especially with the world facing multiple large-scale crises. The war in Ukraine has put tremendous pressure on the global energy system, and economies around the world are struggling to reboot as we continue to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. Both of these factors are contributing to global inflation, with many countries reeling from economic shocks at a scale not seen for decades.
Against this backdrop, politicians and other stakeholders may suggest that climate and the energy transition shouldn’t be a top priority. But we know that’s not the case.
This year at Climate Week, our events will ask leaders from governments, businesses, NGOs, U.N. bodies and civil society how they will lead in these times of crisis. How can we keep up the level of urgency and ensure that climate does not slip down the agenda?
A key theme that emerged from COP26 was accountability. It’s true that there are now more ambitious climate commitments across all sectors than ever before — but they’re not worth anything if they’re not delivered. The youth movement has been at the forefront of demanding this, and the U.N. Secretary-General has brought together a high-level panel to help make it happen.
So we will be asking a vitally important question: How will we know if we’re Getting It Done? This is more than just understanding methodologies for carbon accounting; it’s exploring who can hold whom accountable and for what. How do we learn from one another’s successes and share best practices and innovations? How can we create a space in which we can also learn from failures and setbacks? In Silicon Valley, the idea of noble failures is accepted — can and should we see this mirrored in the climate space?
In an age characterized by distrust, how do we use the tools of accountability to allow us to Get It Done at the breakneck pace the climate crisis demands?
When we talk about Getting It Done, who is doing the doing? And who are they doing it for and with?
We need to put people at the heart of our climate transition. Policies must promote prosperity for all people, and business strategies must support all of society. The rewards of investing in people, equity and justice are clear.
We must maximize the benefits of climate investments and ensure programs are designed to deliver funding and associated projects in an equitable way that advances racial, economic and environmental justice.
We are listening and working together with our partners to ensure that all voices are heard and all views are empowered at Climate Week NYC. New York City is a global leader in providing a platform to pursue environmental justice, and as the world looks to us all during Climate Week NYC, it is my hope that this leadership builds and strengthens our resolve in Getting It Done.
There’s very little time left to make the changes we need to, but regular readers of this platform will know that there are some amazing projects and innovations coming out of the climate community. I implore you to join us — physically or virtually — at Climate Week NYC 2022.
Helen Clarkson joined Climate Group in 2017 as its Chief Executive Officer. In addition to leading the growing Climate Group team, Helen sits on the board of the We Mean Business Coalition and chairs the Finance & Audit Committee for the Sustainable Development Capital Energy Efficiency Income Trust. She was awarded an OBE in June 2022 for her climate work and her support role at COP26.