Financing the low carbon economy: 2 key events at Climate Week NYC

Ilario D'Amato
18 September 2014

NEW YORK: With Climate Week NYC just around the corner, we look at two key affiliate events taking place during the week which are focused on financing the low carbon economy - a critical factor in the multi-faceted journey toward securing a safer. better, more prosperous future for all.

Next week will be a landmark for global climate action. The UN Summit 2014 is set to spur progress through attendance of its 125 heads of state and government, a historical moment ahead of the binding commitments that are expected to come out of the climate talks in Paris next year.

Low carbon growth

But while a political transition is crucial, finance inevitably has a mammoth part to play in accelerating a low carbon economy. “Governments only act when they feel they have the mandate and political confidence to do so,” says Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group. “This means we also need leadership from business, in particular to demonstrate that they support the kind of policies and measures that are necessary”.

Clean technology is increasingly being proven as a smart investment choice. It is currently smashing records worldwide, and the recent report Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate demonstrates again that we don’t have to pick between tackling climate change and growing the global economy. 

And it is at Climate Week NYC, on September 22-28, where a critical mass of support for business to invest in low carbon opportunities will be created. 

As the collaborative space for all related events in support of the UN Climate Summit, Climate Week NYC 2014 will bring together business, government, civil society and the public across more than 140 events, panels, activities, exhibitions and workshops, all set on driving low carbon growth. 

Shifting the economy

One such event is the 10th Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, from September 21-24. Hosted by President Bill Clinton, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, the high-level meeting will convene key leaders across many sectors to demonstrate that curbing climate change will shift the world’s economy toward sustainable growth and long-term stability.

The panel “Confronting climate change is good economics” will be moderated by Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, with the participation of high calibre business and politics leaders like Peter Agnefjäll, President and CEO, IKEA Group and Her Excellency Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark. Together, these influential speakers will share how businesses can support mainstream investors to unlock the capital required to accelerate a low carbon economy.

So far, Clinton Global Initiative members have made more than 2,900 ‘commitments to action’, improving the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at US$103 billion. One of these projects is in Haiti, where the organization has helped improve access to lower-cost, cleaner energy since the country was devastated by the earthquake in 2010.

The Initiative's work in Haiti also aims to promote the use of sustainable fuel, as the predominant fuel is charcoal which has led to a vast deforestation of the area.

Investment to cut deforestation

Globally, deforestation is the second biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions - accounting for nearly 20% of the total and more than the entire global transportation sector, according to the UN.

To tackle this issue, the UN launched REDD+ (reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), to avoid deforestation by offering compensation for countries that reduce the practice. However, the complexity of the mechanism and its impact on the indigenous communities has sparked a huge debate on the program.

In order to improve the REDD+ system and make it easier for businesses to get involved, the leading international law firm Latham & Watkins will host the event 'REDD+ and other approaches to catalyse large scale investment to reduce deforestation to 2020', on September 24 during Climate Week NYC.

The roundtable discussion will focus on how to attract large investments with new economic approaches, striking the right balance between them, and how to engage with the private sector. The panel will be chaired by Iain Henderson, Programme Officer for REDD+ and Sustainable Land Use, UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative.

For a full list of the more than 140 Climate Week NYC events taking place across New York, please visit and follow the conversation on Twitter using #CWNYC.

You can also see our Climate Week NYC media resources for press releases, contacts and more info.

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