Climate Week NYC is driving the climate leadership agenda: Mark Kenber

Reading time: 5 minutes
20 September 2015

Today is the final day of The Climate Group's digital countdown to Climate Week NYC, with the annual summit beginning tommorow and running until September 28. Ahead of the opening day, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group writes about the importance of the week as it sits 10 weeks before the global COP21 climate talks.

Next week, for a 7th successive year, The Climate Group will bring together leaders from every sector of society to Climate Week NYC.

Each of these leaders, in their own way, will showcase how transitioning to a low carbon pathway is not only environmentally and socially essential, but also economically beneficial.

While the COP21 climate talks in Paris are the focal point of the year, at Climate Week NYC, cities, states, regions and companies show national governments how low carbon leadership is really done.

And this climate leadership, at all levels, is needed now more than ever.

The last three decades have seen an unprecedented global temperature rise and with it, the increased extreme weather and drastic social and economic impacts it brings. 2015 promises to be the hottest year since pre-industrial times, continuing a pattern of year-on-year increases.

Unless we act now, the damages we are already seeing will just be a mild foretaste of the severe disruptions that are likely to affect our weather systems - with consequent damages to every aspect of our lives, from public health to national security, agriculture to infrastructure.

Corporate and government leadership 

Climate Week NYC has always provided a platform for companies, states, regions and cities to showcase their leadership and make ambitious commitments.

Last year, for example, at last year’s Climate Week NYC, The Climate Group, together with its partners CDP, NRG4SD and the R20 and a number of state governments at the forefront of climate actions, launched the Compact of States and Regions.

By bringing sub-national commitments together in one place to provide regular reports on progress, the Compact is a way of demonstrating to national governments and the wider public that climate legislation is both possible and economically viable. It also offers a means for sub-national governments to share and compare approaches to climate action and so go further than they would be able to alone.

Similarly, the private sector is also recognizing the benefits of investment in low carbon technologies, processes, products and services. Some of the world’s most successful companies now have sustainable business models at the heart of their strategies and, as a result are outperforming their peers.

RE100, also launched at last year’s Climate Week NYC, is a good example of this. Many of the world’s largest firms have now committed to procuring 100% of their power requirements from renewable sources, not – or not only – because it is good for the climate, but because it offers them secure energy at a lower cost.

These ‘non-state actors’ are drivers of influence and momentum, providing national governments with case studies of ambitious climate action that is bringing compelling economic results.

Scaling up the opportunity

As businesses and sub-national governments are proving, the transition to the low carbon economy is happening. But at this critical juncture, where delay is no longer possible, it cannot just be the leading few who are taking action. Where the forerunners have led so the rest of the economy must follow - if we are to build the climate resilient, low carbon global economy that will effectively address our greatest threat.

Timely and major mobilization, and collaborative and transformational solutions across the public and private sector will take us there. It is the only pathway to long-term and sustainable economic growth, and presents not a burden, but a historic economic opportunity.

Climate Week NYC is a platform to strengthen this collective low carbon leadership. In New York City next week, we will set the foundation for a strong climate leadership agenda that, together with the new Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘Paris Dividend’ from COP 21 in December, will secure a safer, more prosperous future for us all.

If you happen to be in the city this week, find out more at - there are currently over 100 events confirmed - and follow our activities live wherever you are in the world on #CWNYC and @ClimateGroup on Twitter. 

#CWNYC 2015

Climate Week NYC is a key event in the international calendar that brings together leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC in 2009, and has acted as the secretariat since its inception.

Host to more than 100 affiliate events from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Climate Week NYC 2015 is supported by BT Group, Siemens, Procter & Gamble, Nike, SkyPower, SolarCity, CBRE Group, and Bank of the West - BNP Paribas; and the We Mean Business coalition members: BSR, The B Team, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and WBCSD. | @ClimateWeekNYC | #CWNYC

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon