Climate Week NYC Opens with Focus on Low-Carbon Economy
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Convened by the Climate Week NYC organizer The Climate Group, jointly with CDP, the opening day of the major, week-long event in New York, US, attracted the participation of global leaders from policy and business, and heard announcements of new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction commitments from business and subnational governments.

The event also marked the launch of a renewable energy campaign, a pro-mitigation business coalition, and a report on innovative climate and energy policies.

climate-week-nyc22 September 2014: Convened by the Climate Week NYC organizer The Climate Group, jointly with CDP, the opening day of the major, week-long event in New York, US, attracted the participation of global leaders from policy and business, and heard announcements of new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction commitments from business and subnational governments. The event also marked the launch of a renewable energy campaign, a pro-mitigation business coalition, and a report on innovative climate and energy policies.

Titled ‘Opening Day of Climate Week NYC 2014: Toward a Vibrant, Global Low Carbon Economy,’ the all-day event held on 22 September 2014, aimed to chart a shared vision for a low-carbon economy, with a specific focus on the themes of finance, security and innovation. The event also provided opportunities for highlighting corporate and government leadership in climate action.

Reminding that 2013 saw “the largest single-year increase in carbon pollution that causes climate change,” keynote speaker US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed it was “time that world leaders come to the United Nations to recognize this threat in the way that it requires and demands.” Kerry also announced a contribution, by the US, of US$15 million to kick-start a pilot methane auction facility of the World Bank that will set up a guaranteed price for project developers cutting methane emissions in their facilities.

Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, described the Climate Week as a welcome catalyst for realizing a future collaboration based on “policy on part of government and on design on the part of the business sector,” which she said, “is in everyone’s interest.” Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister of France and future President of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, said he would “spare no effort to help deliver an ambitious and universal agreement in Paris 2015,” and called on “all stakeholders to join us in this crucial effort.”

The day also saw the launch of the ‘RE100,’ an initiative of The Climate Group and CDP, with IKEA and Swiss Re as founding partners, which celebrates and supports major companies committed to 100% renewable electricity across their operations and recruiting a critical mass of new companies.

Two sessions on ‘global solutions’ heard highlights of ambitious climate actions by businesses, including Apple, Bloomberg and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the sub-national governments of Vermont, Quebec, Rio de Janeiro and Copenhagen.

The business session also marked the launch of ‘We Mean Business,’ a business coalition demanding government action to curb carbon dioxide emissions. A report launched during the event, titled ‘The Climate Has Changed: Why Bold, Low Carbon Action Makes Good Business Sense,’ seeks to provide a business case for bold climate action by demonstrating that companies investing in low-carbon technologies are seeing a 27% internal rate of return, on average. Another report was published by The Climate Group’s ‘States & Regions Alliance,’ titled ‘Age of Experiments: How States and Regions are Developing the Next Generation of Climate and Energy Policies.’

In a ‘climate conversation,’ military chiefs from Bangladesh, the UK and the US examined the threats produced by climate change to security globally. Framing climate change as a national security issue, Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, CEO of the American Security Project and Ambassador of The Climate Group, called for taking into account, at the highest level, that climate change: is a catalyst for instability; will lead to more catastrophic weather events; and will require changes to military installations.

Closing the opening day via video message, the Prince of Wales characterized the fight against climate change “the most defining and pivotal challenge of our times” and called for businesses and governments to cooperate in order to tackle it. [The Climate Group Press Release] [Climate Week NYC Agenda] [Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony Webcast] [US Department of State Speech Transcript] [The Climate Has Changed: Why Bold, Low Carbon Action Makes Good Business Sense] [Age of Experiments: How States and Regions are Developing the Next Generation of Climate and Energy Policies]


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