Climate Week 2017 in New York City: key announcements of governments and non-state actors on climate action
From September 18-24, 2017, Climate Week gathered many stakeholders engaged in the low-carbon transition, especially from the private sector, and led to several significant announcements. It was an important step before major climate-related events taking place before the end of the year : COP23, which will take place in Germany in November, and a climate summit in France for the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
Every year since 2009, New York has been hosting a series of events addressing the issues related to climate change and the low-carbon transition, parallel to the United Nations General Assembly. This week of events, called Climate Week – New York City, has been organized by the international non-profit The Climate Group. Climate Week benefits from a particularly high visibility in the international climate agenda, given that that New York becomes a global center of attention when many heads of states attend the UN General Assembly. Dozens of conferences, workshops, and forums are organized. They focus largely on the private sector, in terms of stakeholders featured and topics discussed (notably innovation, technology, investment, transport, and energy), while partnerships with the public sector are also highlighted. Climate Week features many multi-stakeholder initiatives aiming at accelerating climate action and the low-carbon transition, and is thus part of the movement called “global climate action agenda”.
Important news for the low-carbon transition
By hosting high-level participants such as CEOs, ministers, mayors, governors, famous philanthropists, representatives from international organizations and environmental NGOs, Climate Week 2017 provided the opportunity for some key stakeholders to seal partnerships, to launch new initiatives, to strengthen existing projects, and to publish scientific research:
- A partnership gathering leaders from governments, private sector, finance community and civil society was formed, under the name P4G – partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, in order to promote solutions with the potential to both achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement
- To accelerate the shift to electric vehicles among multinational companies by 2030, The Climate group officially launched the EV100 initiative, which is already supported by 10 members
- The two high-level champions for climate action, Hakima El-Haite (Morocco) and Inia B. Seruiratu (Fiji) established an informal network that aims at supporting the two champions in their missions up to 2020. At the moment, 15 high-level individuals are members of the newly created Climate Action Leadership Network, such as Jerry Brown (Governor of California), Anne Hidalgo (Mayor of Paris) and Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever)
- For investors, the UN and the World Bank announced a new platform, which will identify climate-related solutions and investment opportunities, and accelerate financial flows to developing countries : Invest4Climate
- The RE100 campaign, whose members commit to use 100% of their electricity from renewable sources, has been joined by 8 new companies, and counts now 110 members
- 7 new stakeholders have joined the Under2Coalition, a network of local governments and countries that support the Paris Agreement, which is now supported by 187 jurisdictions globally
- A report by the New Climate Institute and The Climate Group has been published during Climate Week. This report reveals that in the Unied States, cities, states and businesses could potentially achieve around half of the US commitments undertaken under the Paris Agreement, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions
The climate community is mobilized for the end of the year
Climate Week was a key moment in the preparation of the Conference of the Parties, COP23, which will take place in Bonn, Germany (November 6-18, 2017), and before the incoming Paris climate summit that will focus on finance, two years after the Paris Agreement. Climate Week also confirmed two major trends regarding climate action :
- Today, a growing number of climate-related events are taking place, which is necessary to include all stakeholders and cover all topics related to the low-carbon transition. Climate Week was mostly focusing on the private sector and on anglo-saxon actors, while other events address specific issues such as climate change adaptation, small island states, Global South issues, or local governments. The meeting of the Pacific Partnership for Climate Action held in Suva, Fiji, on July 3rd and 4th, and the Climate Chance Summit in Agadir, Morocco, held from September 11 to 13, were amongst the most noticeable exchanges in recent months.
- Even with the announced withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, mobilization of the private sector for climate action remains strong. Climate Week highlighted the emergence of a new landscape to fight climate change. With the exception of the United States, the entire international community remains committed to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. Climate change governance is indeed more fragmented since state leadership is multilateral and non-state actors play an increasingly important role. Local authorities, businesses and NGOs are mobilizing to strengthen climate action and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon world, including in the United States.