US Climate Action Summit: Overcoming barriers through collaboration | Climate Group Skip to main content
White House Climate Expert John Podesta at Climate Group's US Climate Action Summit

US Climate Action Summit: Overcoming barriers through collaboration

24 April 2023, 19:09 UTC 3 min read

by Climate Group

Climate Group brought together 250 of the top climate leaders in Washington DC to discuss the most pressing climate issue facing the US today – the implementation of historic climate investments.

The US Climate Action Summit created a space for leaders from the public and private sectors to come together and focus on implementation and how to center people in the new economic transition.

The agenda was designed to facilitate big conversations on stage while allowing delegates to drill into the details of in curated and closed-door workshops and roundtables. And that’s what the US Climate Action Summit achieved – a substantive day of action, and momentum that will carry on beyond the event.

"Roll up your sleeves"

Angela Barranco, Climate Group’s Executive Director for North America, set the tone for the day with a rallying cry to participants to roll up their sleeves and be relentless in their energy for climate action and change.

In the closed-door roundtables and workshops, delegates were given a platform to be honest about their needs and opportunities and challenges. Behind closed doors and with no limits on information sharing, discussions ranged from permitting, to blended public and private financing, to the positive outlook for heavy industry in the US (it was agreed that decarbonization of concrete can happen faster in the US than the industry recognizes).

Many reported that they will continue to work together to build on what was discussed behind closed doors –proof of the momentum and action that Climate Group is building in the US.

Four Spotlight Sessions hosted climate leaders from both the public and private sectors who dived into some of the most pressing climate topics facing the US and the key strategic areas for Climate Group in North America. These included the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the just transition, and the crucial role of subnational leadership.

The packed agenda included key thought leaders and political heavyweights, including Maryland Governor Wes Moore and Ali Zaidi, National Climate Advisor to the Biden-Harris administration and leadership from Under2 Coalition members Quebec and Brazil’s Minas Gerais. Climate Group works with over 100 businesses in the US through initiatives such as renewable energy RE100, electric vehicles EV100 and ConcreteZero and SteelZero programs, and many of them were in the room.

Impact and ambition

Laura Corb from the summit’s Headline Partner, McKinsey Sustainability, spoke about the need for “absurd ambition,” to reach net zero goals while Jahi Wise, Acting Director for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, talked about the inspiration he gets from connecting with frontline communities. Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson shared how Apple is funding projects in disadvantaged communities across the world as part of their Impact Program. Ali Zaidi spurred delegates on with how ready and willing the Biden-Harris Administration is to work with the private sector to find solutions to the toughest decarbonizing questions.

John Podesta, Senior Adviser to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation was the summit’s final speaker, and he summarized the climate action zeitgeist and the work that Climate Group is doing alongside its members.

He told the audience that under the banner of 10 years of security for climate spending that the IRA has provided, the public and private sector needs to work together to support companies to better benefit from IRA programs; to improve permitting; build on current transmission and interconnection for a clean energy roll out to be possible; to strengthen supply chains to minimize reliance on China and boost domestic production; and to center front line communities in the fight against climate change. And, most importantly, to make sure that communities that have historically been forgotten and left out are included in a just transition to a climate economy that makes life better for all.

Carrying on the conversation

With Angela’s call for delegates to roll up their sleeves and get to work, Climate Group is looking forward to seeing the impact of the conversations and connections made from the US Climate Action Summit at this year’s Climate Week NYC.

Follow this link to watch the Spotlight Sessions from the US Climate Action Summit on demand.

Watch the US Climate Action Summit highlight reel.