Climate Week NYC 2022
- This NYC chef is ditching gas stoves for induction cooking
- Take that, HFCs! US Senate ratifies Kigali Amendment with bipartisan support
- Target joins other US retail giants in commitment to use zero-emissions cargo ships
- The challenge of scaling sustainable aviation fuel from almost zero
- Building a regional EV manufacturing hub: Lessons from Quebec
- How businesses can propel a just transition around the world
- Amazon contributes $10 million to Water.org’s new Water & Climate Fund
- Companies should do more than invest in renewables. They need to be better neighbors
- Renewable energy isn’t the cause of energy instability — it’s the solution to it
- A diverse group of leaders launches initiative to seek solutions to climate migration
- Climate Week NYC gets rolling with the harsh truth on the climate crisis
- Carbon Tracker launches world’s first global public registry of fossil fuels
- Climate Week NYC is on
- Climate Week NYC 2022: Getting it done
This NYC chef is ditching gas stoves for induction cooking
With the push of a button, the stainless-steel pan bursts into a sizzle. The chef Justin Lee stirs a heap of lion’s mane mushrooms and fried rice over a portable induction cooktop. An earthy, oily aroma quickly fills the narrow dining room of Anfora, the New York City wine bar where Lee is espousing the benefits of cooking with magnets — not fossil gas.
“We’re trying to do a little bit less harm,” Lee says on a warm Wednesday evening in Greenwich Village. The chef owns the vegan Chinese restaurant Fat Choy, where cooks use only electricity to make dishes like a “mushroom sloppy” sandwich, blanched bok choy and fried cauliflower.
Rewiring America organized the cooking demonstration during Climate Week NYC so guests could, as Sarah Lazarovic puts it, “discover the beauty of induction.”
“We have to push back at basically 50, 60 years of industry propaganda that has made people think gas is superior,” Lazarovic, the nonprofit’s head of communications, tells a tightly packed room of foodies, climate scientists and reporters.
Burning gas indoors to cook food, heat buildings and dry clothes is a far more significant source of nitrogen oxide emissions than previously realized, according to a growing body of evidence. NOx emissions can cause or exacerbate asthma, heart disease and other health problems, and NOx is also a precursor of smog. On top of that, indoor fossil fuel use accounts for roughly 12 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions.
Lee pushes the fungi and rice around in the sizzling pan, fielding questions about how quickly induction stoves can boil water — “the speed is just wild” — and whether he has encountered resistance from other high-profile chefs: “The biggest thing for us is just getting used to it. There’s an education that needs to happen in the industry.” (For more on that front, see Canary’s Q&A with chef Christopher Galarza.)
Lee sprinkles sesame seeds into the pan and scoops food onto paper plates, garnishing each with a wedge of orange. “It’s just one of those things that, as soon as you get it in your life, you’re like, ‘Why are we fooling around?’” he says of induction stoves. “It’s a better product, and better for our health, and better for the environment. There’s not a whole lot of [reasons] I can see why we wouldn’t try to make this change.”
— Maria Gallucci
Take that, HFCs! US Senate ratifies Kigali Amendment with bipartisan support
It’s been a busy week. Climate Week NYC is still in full swing, and the 2022 Clean Energy Ministerial is underway in Pittsburgh. ICYMI, as Mark notes in his tweet below, what just happened in the U.S. Senate is indeed “HUGE.”
F*ck hydrofluorocarbons! This is HUGE. #InflationReductionAct in August.#KigaliAmendment in September.— Mark Antoniewicz (@M4RK4NTONIEWICZ) September 22, 2022
Let's keep up the #ClimateAction momentum in October.
s/o to all who kept pushing to ratify, respect. Good news during #ClimateWeekNYC #UNGA. https://t.co/1z5FwqkGCS
E Source fellow Jay Stein broke down the background and importance of the Kigali Amendment, which phases down the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), for Canary Media back in June 2021. And while this is not technically a Climate Week NYC announcement, advancements like this are what will actually get it done when it comes to addressing climate change.
— Katie Tweed
Target joins other US retail giants in commitment to use zero-emissions cargo ships
The cargo ships that deliver goods to the top 15 retailers in the U.S. produced as much carbon dioxide emissions as three coal-fired power plants in 2019 alone. Yet the global shipping industry has moved at a glacial pace when it comes to replacing petroleum-based marine fuels with cleaner alternatives. To accelerate the shift, the companies that put their goods on ships are vowing to do business with only zero-emissions vessels.
On Thursday, Target became the latest U.S. retailer to commit to moving its products off of fossil-burning ocean freighters by 2040. The Minneapolis-based company joined Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV), an initiative of the Aspen Institute that includes giant companies such as Amazon, Ikea, Unilever and Michelin.
“Joining coZEV is an important part of accelerating our work to create a more sustainable, circular supply chain that furthers the health of our business and the global community,” Amanda Nusz, Target’s senior vice president of corporate responsibility, said in a press release.
Target, the eighth-largest U.S. retailer, imported some 600,000 containers’ worth of cargo in 2019, which resulted in more than 2 million metric tons of CO2, according to a 2021 report by Ship It Zero, a coalition of environmental and public-health advocates.
The coalition has led the push in recent years to get major retailers to take responsibility for the pollution their imports create. Earlier this month, the Minneapolis City Council passed a Ship It Zero resolution that calls on Target and other companies to commit to importing goods to the U.S. on 100 percent zero-emissions vessels by 2030 — a decade earlier than the coZEV commitment.
Minneapolis is the third city to adopt the resolution, along with Los Angeles and Long Beach in California, which share one of the largest port complexes in the world. Community groups near the complex — the top site for Target’s imports — said they welcome the retailer’s commitment to using cleaner ships. Oceangoing vessels are significant sources of not only CO2 emissions but also health-harming air pollutants, which are highly concentrated in portside neighborhoods.
“This win is thanks to the labor and advocacy of many Black and brown residents and leaders who paved the way to get industries like Target to clean up their act,” Jan Victor Andasan, an organizer for East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, said in a written statement.
Still, in order for major cargo owners to meet their commitments, the global shipping industry will need to dramatically ramp up production of cleaner fuels — such as hydrogen or ammonia made from renewable energy — and develop the engines, power systems and fueling infrastructure to use such alternatives. Little such technology currently exists at large scale. In the meantime, vessels today can incorporate batteries and wind-assisted propulsion devices to reduce fuel consumption. Ships can be equipped to plug into the electrical grid while waiting in ports, instead of idling their engines.
“We thank Target for offering us a glimpse of hope by committing to abandon dirty ships,” Dawny’all Heydari of Pacific Environment’s Clean Ports Southern California campaign said in a written statement. “But 2040 — 18 years from now — is not a fast enough timeframe to address the significant impacts that fossil-fueled ocean shipping has on our environment, air quality, and portside neighbors in the present.”
— Maria Gallucci
The challenge of scaling sustainable aviation fuel from almost zero
If you’re following Climate Week NYC on social media, you may have seen some occasional grumbling that so many people flew from all around the country and the world to come to a conference focused on combating climate change when all of that air travel generates significant carbon emissions. (This writer lives locally and took a commuter train.)
On Tuesday evening, a short carbon-emissions-free walk away from the main sessions, a packed room listened to folks from the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance discuss the promise and challenges of addressing one of the hardest sectors of transportation to decarbonize: air travel.
“Look at this room,” said Josh Margul, manager of sustainability and environment, social and governance (ESG) at JetBlue. “I feel like I’ve been in a silo. Whatever gets me more [sustainable aviation fuel] is all that I care about.”
The Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance is spearheaded by think tank RMI and Environmental Defense Fund, and the group’s members aren’t just from the aviation industry. Many sectors have come calling to SABA, including bands and musicians concerned about the carbon footprint of their tours. Founding members include many large companies that, while increasingly relying on digital tools to cut down on air travel, still regularly put people on planes to meet with clients and close deals. Finding sustainable ways to do that “is important to us, it’s important to our clients, to our employees and our recruits,” said Sam Israelit, chief sustainability officer at global consultancy Bain.
Israelit added that despite the market pull, there is an enormous challenge around greenhouse gas accounting for sustainable aviation fuels for companies like his that are looking at SAFs as part of their decarbonization strategy. For the early members of SABA like Bain, there is a hope that the alliance will help the accounting mechanisms for SAFs reach a level of sophistication comparable to those used to tally renewable energy credits. “That’s the holy grail,” added Israelit.
Of course, carbon accounting is just one specific issue to figure out, but in the short term, scaling up drop-in low-carbon fuel options is the big goal, as current SAF supplies amount to less than 1 percent of global jet fuel demand — although as Canary’s Maria Gallucci reported recently, the Inflation Reduction Act may change that.
— Katie Tweed
Building a regional EV manufacturing hub: Lessons from Quebec
The rising demand for clean transportation will open up enormous economic opportunity for regions that can build the industrial and political infrastructure to take advantage of it. But that kind of transformation can’t happen overnight.
Take Quebec. Canada’s second-most-populous province has become a center for manufacturing electric vehicles and EV batteries. Quebec-headquartered Lion Electric is North America’s largest electric school bus maker and a fast-growing producer of electric trucks for companies such as Ikea and Amazon.
It’s also becoming a hot spot for EV battery manufacturing, with companies including General Motors and Posco, BASF and Lion planning factories to match those being built in neighboring Ontario province by Stellantis and LG Chem.
Quebec is also a source of graphite, a key raw material for lithium-ion batteries, and it is working with heavy-vehicle manufacturer Caterpillar to build electric mining equipment to extract and move it to a processing facility being built by Nouveau Monde Graphite.
All of this is the result of more than a decade of government and private-sector collaboration to build a vertically integrated electric transportation sector, said Marie-Eve Jean, vice president of exports at Investissement Québec, a government-backed economic development organization, during a Wednesday forum at Climate Week NYC.
“We’ve developed many tools — policies, incentive programs, fiscal measures — to spur innovation toward zero-emissions vehicles,” Jean said. The government’s Technoclimat grant program has supported 67 decarbonization technology demonstration programs since its 2013 launch, including EVs and EV charging projects. Propulsion Québec, a government-supported electric mobility industrial cluster created in 2017, has brought in more than 185 partner companies and organizations, including the government-owned utility Hydro-Québec.
Quebec’s electricity is almost entirely supplied by hydropower, making it a target for companies seeking carbon-free electricity to produce EVs, batteries and associated materials, she noted. The same clean energy makes electrifying transportation an imperative for cutting the main source of emissions in the province, Jean said.
This kind of vertical integration reduces costs and spurs cross-sector innovation. It can also protect against supply-chain disruptions like those that have roiled automotive and battery sectors in recent years, according to Jean. But “as a government, as a partner, you have to invest in those solutions long-term.”
— Jeff St. John
How businesses can propel a just transition around the world
Businesses big and small can help drive a just transition — the shift to a clean energy economy that uplifts workers and communities while addressing the climate crisis. On a Tuesday panel, representatives from the multinational Anheuser-Busch InBev and Smiling Through Light, a renewable energy access company in Sierra Leone, shared how they’re blazing a trail to expand clean energy and equity.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, for example, is making renewable power more affordable to about 2,000 small retailers in Brazil, according to Andre Fourie, global vice president of sustainability at AB InBev. That move makes climate and business sense: “Because we can buy in bulk, [these retailers] get renewable electricity at a cheaper rate. We get a more resilient supply chain.” The maker of beer brands Budweiser and Stella Artois is expanding this energy-access model globally, Fourie said.
In the George region of South Africa — the only hops-growing region in the country, which faces “huge drought pressure” — AB InBev is also investing in ecosystem restoration: “removing alien species that use a lot of water, allowing the local species to grow,” Fourie said. At the same time, the company is also prioritizing the community, “making sure that we solve for employment locally.”
Mariama Kamara, Smiling Through Light’s founder and director, has made both clean energy and equity core parts of her business. She works with a network of local women to “provide clean, reliable and sustainable energy through the distribution and sales of solar products,” she said. The company has local hubs throughout Sierra Leone to help address widespread energy poverty: In the country of 8 million, only 23 percent of the population has access to electricity. That proportion falls to less than 6 percent in rural communities, Kamara said.
— Alison Takemura
Still, Smiling Through Light faces challenges, including from a powerful constituency: spouses. “We know if one of our female agents wakes up today, and her husband says to her, ‘You can’t work,’ she’s going to stop working. So what we’ve been doing is working with husbands of our female agents, training them to be champions within the community.”
Another obstacle to local economic development is access to finance. Large corporations may get billions, she said, while small organizations looking for as little as $5,000 for projects sometimes can’t secure the funding. “That shows that local businesses have been left behind,” she said. “We need the support from global organizations…to move us forward.”
Kamara closed with a call to action, asking the audience to sign up for the Power Up campaign to support energy-access funding in Africa. The campaign is “amplifying the voices of frontline organizations like myself, like Smiling Through Light,” and supporting innovators working on projects including “Wi-Fi technology for refugee camps and…selling green energy products for ourselves,” she said. “Come on board, government, private sector — we need that collaborative work…so we can all live in a world that we’re safe, happy and enjoying.”
Amazon contributes $10 million to Water.org’s new Water & Climate Fund
Commitments went into higher gear at the 2022 Climate Week NYC Leaders’ Reception on Monday evening, when Amazon announced a deepening of its partnership with Water.org. The e-commerce giant will give $10 million to launch a new Water & Climate Fund.
Water.org co-founders Gary White and Matt Damon spoke at the event, highlighting the need for climate-resilient water and sanitation projects. “Water action is climate action,” said Damon. The fund will provide safe water for 100 million people including water-reuse infrastructure, wastewater treatment plants and water-loss reduction.
— Katie Tweed
Companies should do more than invest in renewables. They need to be better neighbors
Transitioning the economy away from fossil fuels toward cleaner, more resilient energy sources isn’t sufficient — the world also needs to do less harm to people and the environment, said Colette Pichon Battle, founder and co-executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy.
“We don’t get to celebrate just moving over to renewable energy,” she said on a Monday afternoon panel at Climate Week NYC. “This is a moment to change who we are as humans on this planet.”
The lawyer and climate activist outlined several ways that corporations in particular can be better neighbors to communities suffering both the brunt of fossil fuel pollution and the effects of climate change — places that include Pichon Battle’s hometown of Bayou Liberty, Louisiana, which “is going to be lost to sea-level rise forever.”
To start, companies can use their considerable lobbying power to fight state and local legislation that makes it harder for people to install rooftop solar systems, harvest rainwater or adopt other resiliency measures at home. While Pichon Battle applauded corporate efforts to power their factories and supply chains with renewable energy, she said that businesses should support efforts that help individuals access renewables, as well.
“This is about a power balance,” she said, “and if you are a corporation that has more power than others, what you push for in the legislature can’t just benefit your corporation.”
Likewise, businesses shouldn’t only look inward as they grapple with important questions about how they contribute to climate change and help create solutions. They should also apply “peer pressure” to prompt other corporate leaders — including those in the oil and gas industry — to reflect on their own roles in the climate crisis.
Alexandra Palt, chief corporate responsibility officer and executive vice president of L’Oréal, echoed that sentiment. “We need to have responsible leaders,” she said on the Monday panel. “Nowadays, we do not hold leaders responsible, and we really have to change that.”
For its part, L’Oréal has committed to paying a living wage for all of its employees worldwide and is working with its suppliers to make the same commitment. “We have this responsibility of doing the work at home…but also getting people on board and getting things done,” Palt said.
Another way companies can serve the communities they work in is by directly supporting local organizations after extreme weather events, Pichon Battle said. The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy has a disaster-response fund that distributes 100 percent of contributions directly to communities, with no strings attached.
“Why don’t we take the reins off, redistribute some of this wealth and power — especially to the front lines — and allow people to invest in building democracy?” she said.
She reiterated the call for business leaders to be good neighbors who genuinely listen to residents. Ditch the ribbon-cutting ceremony and “come to the crawfish boil. Come to events where there are no cameras or hashtags,” Pichon Battle said.
“You can’t come in with your own agenda,” she added. “You have to be willing to follow ours. If you can’t do that, move out of the way. We’ll take it from here.”
— Maria Gallucci
Renewable energy isn’t the cause of energy instability — it’s the solution to it
Chris Bowen, Australia’s minister for climate change and energy, has something to say to those who “falsely claim that the current energy crisis is due to renewable energy”: “Renewable energy is good for energy security.”
Beyond being the cheapest source of new electricity supply, solar and wind power are “also a more secure form of energy, as long as we have the infrastructure” to make effective use of it, Bowen said on a Monday morning panel at Climate Week NYC. Wind and solar power aren’t subject to the fossil fuel supply constraints and price increases being caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said.
That view was echoed by Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Critics of renewables have said “the sun is not always there, the wind is not always there,” as justification for maintaining or increasing investment in fossil fuels to shore up energy supplies, he said.
But as many European countries have discovered in the face of Russia’s increasing restrictions on fossil gas imports to countries that have grown dependent on them for heating, industry and power generation, “if we have no gas, we have no gas.” Beyond driving economic growth, “renewables are also the way to ensure resilience and security,” he said.
To be clear, solar and wind power do fluctuate with the weather, he said. That requires a shift in “how the industry is organized,” he said, such as building more transmission and energy storage systems and shifting how and when power is consumed. “We are talking about the grid. The grid has to be renewed.”
Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, agreed that “clean energy and energy efficiency are secure energy.” She highlighted the role that both have played as a “critical backstop to keeping the lights on” during heat-wave-driven grid emergencies in Texas, California and other states over the summer.
Some critics of policies promoting a rapid shift to renewable energy have blamed them for these grid shortages. But periods of extreme heat and cold exacerbated by climate change have caused reliability problems for fossil-fired power plants as well as driving spikes in electricity demand.
Maintaining reliable energy supplies is vital to maintaining public support for clean energy growth, La Camera said. “Obviously a government cannot lose consensus because of a loss of air conditioning or a loss of heating.”
Bowen agreed that keeping the lights on is the immediate challenge. “If we don’t do so, we’ll lose public support for the transition.”
— Jeff St. John
A diverse group of leaders launches initiative to seek solutions to climate migration
The @ClimateMigCnc has officially launched! Read more about how this group of global leaders is tackling the urgent issue of #ClimateMigration. https://t.co/WGaRGz0Ikr— Climate Migration Council (@ClimateMigCncl) September 19, 2022
Climate Week NYC gets rolling with the harsh truth on the climate crisis
The themes of this year’s Climate Week NYC are urgency, accountability and climate justice. It’s fitting for the annual event’s first main-stage speaker to set the stage with the bad news on climate change that must be acknowledged.
That bad news from Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, is that the world has “again broken records on greenhouse gases — carbon, methane and nitrogen oxides.” That’s according to the WMO’s most recent Greenhouse Gas Bulletin published last year, and it bodes ill for keeping the world on track for achieving the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over the coming century.
— Jeff St. John
In fact, according to the most recent climate data, there’s a 50 percent chance that the world could hit that temperature rise on a temporary basis within the next five years, Taalas said. In the meantime, sea-level rise estimates have more than doubled over the past 20 years, glaciers are melting at an increasingly rapid pace, and droughts and flooding alike are on the rise due to changing weather and precipitation patterns, from droughts across China, southern Europe and the Western U.S. to devastating floods in Pakistan and in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands in the midst of Hurricane Fiona.
What’s more, many of these climate-change impacts are locked in, Taalas said. “Sea-level rise and melting of glaciers may continue for hundreds of years because of fairly high concentrations of carbon dioxide” in the atmosphere. That underscores the urgency of investing now in carbon-removal technologies and land-use techniques and policies, which are now an “unavoidable” part of fighting climate change, as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned earlier this year.
“The most urgent thing is to get rid of fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas,” he said. “Then we need to stop deforestation, especially in tropical rainforests like the one in the Amazon,” which is currently being cut down at an alarming and unchecked pace.
Amid this dire news, Taalas did offer a glimpse of hope in the acceptance of the threat of climate change among world governments, businesses and the general public. “In the past 10 years, it’s fairly encouraging,” he said. “We have the technology means for climate mitigation, and these technologies are more affordable.”
Carbon Tracker launches world’s first global public registry of fossil fuels
At the opening session of Climate Week NYC, Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, noted that the world could see temperatures intermittently reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels in the next five years.
“It’s clear there can be no new fossil fuel [development],” Helen Clarkson, CEO of Climate Group, said during her opening remarks. Think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative, with data support from Global Energy Monitor, has released the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels to help inform civil organizations, investors and governments as they make decisions about, and ultimately curb, fossil fuel production. The database is the first public database that tracks fossil fuel production across the globe and how it impacts worldwide carbon emissions.
“Civil-society groups have got to get more of a focus on what governments are planning to do in terms of license issuance, both for coal and oil and gas, and actually begin to challenge this permitting process,” Mark Campanale, founder of Carbon Tracker, told The Associated Press.
The database received initial support from France, Sweden, Luxembourg and Nauru, and Carbon Tracker said more countries are pledging support. At launch, AP reported that the initiative collates data from more than 50,000 oil, gas and coal fields in 89 countries, which covers 75 percent of global reserves.
— Katie Tweed
Climate Week NYC is on
Monday is the official start of Climate Week NYC, but in many ways, it’s already begun. Invitations have been fluttering into our inboxes for many of the more than 400 events happening this week. Climate Week NYC, hosted and organized by Climate Group, rang the opening bell at Nasdaq last Friday to officially kick off the event.
As an official media partner, Canary Media will be on the ground here in Manhattan — and sometimes Brooklyn — covering much of the action. Maybe we’ll see some of you at the Opening Ceremony sessions at the Times Center in midtown, such as “Putting equity back into our economy: Making the green economy work for everyone,” or maybe you’ll be tuning in online all week long via the Hub Live.
Canary Media will be covering some of the biggest announcements from the ground just as we did last year, as when Jeff Bezos took to the stage at the event’s opening day reception with his announcement of $1 billion for conservation from Bezos Earth Fund while talking about how precious Earth looks from space.
Tuesday there’s a session on bold leadership, as it’s (still) now or never to stave off the worst effects of climate change. We will be keeping an eye on what that actually means in practice, especially for large corporates that set lofty goals without a fully fleshed-out roadmap on how to get there.
Canary Media will also trek to the Javits Center for The Nest Summit, where we look forward to hearing from Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown; Cassie Flynn, head of climate strategies and policy for the U.N. Development Programme; Jane Ewing, SVP of sustainability at Walmart; and many more.
Naturally, we’ll also be out and about at the bevy of networking events (hats off to the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance for leaning into alliteration with its Sip & SAF event at the Langham). We’ll also be kicking it with Rewiring America chatting about heat pumps and eating food cooked on an induction cooktop.
If we’re still standing on Friday, we’re checking out the launch of the Sustainable Steel Principles by RMI’s Center for Climate-Aligned Finance, which will showcase the world’s first climate-aligned finance agreement for steel. (Canary Media is an independent affiliate of RMI.)
Be sure to check back on our series page for our complete coverage.
— Katie Tweed
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.