Bloomberg, Blair, UN, World Bank call for business and government leaders to join Clean Revolution

Clare Saxon Ghauri
20 September 2011

NEW YORK: During the Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony today, some of the world’s most influential people came together to call for business and government leaders to join the Clean Revolution, our three-year campaign which aims to build a smarter, better, more prosperous future for all.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, opened the event with a striking and engaging speech on what exactly the Clean Revolution is, and why we urgently need it. He declared to the crowd who were gathered 40 floors up in the New York Academy of Sciences, looking out over the clear City skyline: “I want you to imagine a world with clean energy for all. A world – powered by sun, wind and water. […] That’s the world The Climate Group wants to see. It’s a low carbon, high opportunity world.” Explaining how it’s the only way to achieve this vision, he defined the Clean Revolution as: “A swift and massive scaling-up of clean technologies, infrastructure and innovative leadership, to create jobs, strengthen economic growth, and secure a smarter, better, more prosperous future.”

Because the world’s most influential business, government and thought-leaders will help us reach the Clean Revolution tipping point, Mark Kenber stated that The Climate Group will spend the next three years “bringing these people together, arming them with hard research and success stories and spurring them into action.” One way these stories will be told is via the newly-launched website, Acting as a continually-updated 'report' of the latest businesses and government actions towards a Clean Revolution, the website will showcase the innovative leadership needed to trigger the rest of the world to follow.

This leadership was visible today in the impressive line-up on the stage. First to speak, after a welcome from Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, New York Academy of Sciences, was Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, who remarked: “We are proud to again join The Climate Group in launching Climate Week NYC." As well as pointing out the more extreme weather New Yorkers have experienced recently, Mayor Bloomberg outlined some of the green growth that PlaNYC has made happen, which includes 250,000 lower-watt street lighting installations, a landmark green buildings law passed (which has created 17,000 jobs) and a greenhouse gas emissions cut for the city of 4.6% since last year, emphasizing the need for cities to take the lead in the Clean Revolution. 

Premier Jean Charest of Quebec spoke next, demanding growth of sub-national targets despite Quebec’s currently inspiring figures of 98% renewable energy production and 50% renewable energy consumption. He pronounced: “We do very well, but we believe we should do better. For example, we have set a very ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% to 1990 levels by 2020.” 

Instead of outlining more ambitions, Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP recalled our extraordinary collective achievements so far, and the opportunities they’ve given us. He conveyed optimistically: “$211 billion was invested in renewable energy in the year 2010. More than oil, gas and coal combined.” He continued: “The trajectory of an economy where the level of governments, or cities or businesses being able to move forward in this transition towards a green economy, has become much more feasible.”

Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change, the World Bank, called for more renewable energy  investment than last year’s total investment (over $500 billion), and remarked that private sector and government leaders are now seeing that smart policies “lead to more investments, better technology, more jobs and a greener future.”

Having recently been announced as the Chairman of the International Leadership Council - the powerhouse behind the Clean Revolution - the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair spoke last, stressing energy security and the huge rise in population as further reasons to act urgently: “Whatever the financial challenges of the world today, the climate challenge is real, the energy challenge is real, and it has to be dealt with.”

Tony Blair also called for a more cooperative effort, stating:  “We need to mobilize the business community. […] business and industry must work within a framework set at international, national and sub-national level, incentivizing the development of science and technology.” 

Swiftly following the announcement, Wang, Shi, Chairman, China Vanke Corporation, Michel Liès, Chairman, Global Partnerships, Swiss Re, Mark Vachon, Vice President, GE Ecomagination, Mike Ward, President, IKEA, North America and Victor Der, General Manager North America, Global CCS Institute participated in an hour-long panel discussion on “The Role of Business in a Clean Revolution” which was moderated by Ed Crooks, the Financial Times US Industry and Energy Editor. The panelists remarked on the need for public-private partnerships and highlighted their own innovative actions. From China Vanke’s switch to LEED green buildings, IKEA’s carbon and money saving sofa redesigns and Swiss Re’s carbon neutral commitments, to GE’s EV purchases and the Global CCSI’s support of knowledge sharing, each of the panelists and speakers at today's events, show that the Clean Revolution is truly underway.

See what's on at Climate Week NYC 2011 

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