We're the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and last that can do anything about it: Rising Seas Summit

6 October 2014

NEW YORK: The three-day Rising Seas Summit took place during Climate Week NYC last week, making clear that many governments, communities and companies are committed to managing climate risk, with the event highlighting in particular the sophistication of North America's climate adaptation sector

Organized by the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), the Summit consisted of training sessions, presentations and discussions by knowledge leaders around the impacts of climate change and how to address them.

The Summit was the latest in a series of programs and efforts undertaken by ACCO’s community of practitioners to develop a curriculum and library of knowledge, that will be a foundation to establishing a broader system designed to train and educate decision-makers across all sectors, geographic regions and professional roles on the impacts of climate change upon their operations and missions.

The majority of the 80 speakers took part in a series of open panel dialogues, a unique format which encouraged important insight such as how the gathered experts communicate sea level rise to their stakeholders. 

Climate action

Many examples of the most effective communication of risks and responses to climate change were shared, as well as detailed adaptation action and planning. The deep integration across all levels of government and communities was also spotlighted, as a means to better communicate the link between extreme weather events and longer-term sea level rise.

Two keynote presentations in particular by the UNFCCC’s Halldor Thorgeirsson and renowned author Dan Esty left the audience inspired by the practical actions on climate adaptation that are underway in the US.

But one phrase that was repeated throughout the sessions was: "We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last that will be able to do anything about it". The resonance this sound bite had with the speakers and participants alike highlights the collective sense of urgency to act on climate change at all levels. 


ACCO closed the program with an announcement that the organization would be formally unveiling the first certificate under its Climate Change Officer (CCO) CertificationTM program, with the vision of developing a "climate savvy workforce".

This Summit was a clear indicator that there is a substantial body of knowledge developing around the climate challenge, with tools and methodologies being tested at both the local and regional scales.

Forums such as the Rising Seas Summit are critical for sharing information and reinforcing a culture of transformation and adaptive planning, and this was the dialogue of a sophisticated and engaged sector. With continued energy and effort these actors will achieve significant transformation of their industries and communities, to become resilient to the impacts of climate change.

By Rohan Hamden

About Climate Week NYC

Since it was launched by The Climate Group in 2009, Climate Week NYC has become a key international platform for governments, businesses and civil society to collaborate on bold climate action and low carbon leadership.

Host to more than 100 events from September 22-28, Climate Week NYC 2014 is the collaborative space for all events in support of the UN Climate Summit that will take place on September 23. This year CDP is co-convenor of the Opening Day on September 22.

www.climateweeknyc.org - @ClimateWeekNYC - #CWNYC

See key photos of the Climate Week NYC Opening Day here:


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