It’s Climate Week NYC 2020, the time and place where the companies and nonprofits gather to showcase amazing climate action and discuss how to do more. Taking place from September 21-27, the virtual event explores what lessons we can learn in the pursuit of a net-zero future through a just transition.
The “For New York, for the World” approach is intended to put people at the heart of climate action in order to rebuild the global economy for people and the planet by halving global emissions by the end of the decade.
During #ClimateWeekNYC we welcomed three new #EV100 members: UK construction and engineering firm @CostainGroup, UK retailer @Tesco and India's @mindspace_parks. #EV100 is now home to 88 leading companies worldwide: https://t.co/B3dZkjMluf pic.twitter.com/2zXfMZpezF
— Climate Group (@ClimateGroup) September 26, 2020
Climate Week NYC is hosted in association with the United Nations and the City of New York. The Climate Group’s mission is to accelerate climate action to achieve a world of no more than 1.5°C of global warming and greater prosperity for all. They do this by bringing together powerful networks of business and governments that shift global markets and policies, focusing on the greatest global opportunities for change, taking innovation and solutions to scale, and building ambition and pace.
Climate Week NYC 2020 Events
Now in its 3rd year, Climate Group hosted The Hub Live – a series of forums, discussions, and workshops that brought together the expertise and influence of public and private sectors. Events were categorized into 10 themes.
- Clean Energy Transition — focuses on the importance of global collaboration in the pursuit of a net zero future through just transition.
- Transport and Infrastructure — looks at the benefits in making our transport systems clean and efficient.
- Industry and Built Environment — explores ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors and the impact of buildings on climate.
- Finance, Investment, and Jobs — focuses on financial opportunities to identify and mitigate climate risks.
- Food and Land Use — explores the importance of land-based ecosystems and regenerative strategies to cut emissions from food and agriculture.
- Nature and Science — ecosystem and biodiversity preservation and conservation.
- US and International Policy — addresses the climate crisis from a policy perspective.
- Youth, Public Mobilization, and Justice — showcases the global leadership of young people and grassroots activism.
- Sustainable Travel and Tourism — focuses on how the travel and tourism sector can be an ally in sustainable development.
- Climate Impacts and Adaptation — examines the appropriate actions needed to avert climate disasters and build a better future to adjust and respond to climate change.
RE100 Leadership Awards at Climate Week NYC
RE100 is a global initiative that brings together more than 260 of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power in more than 140 markets worldwide.
The winners of the Awards, held in partnership with ENGIE North America and category partners Enel Green Power and DWS, were announced at the Climate Week NYC. These are independently judged to be “going above and beyond” in the transition to 100% renewable power and for achievements ranging from engaging suppliers and policymakers to bringing clean energy to local communities.
- Schneider Electric, Clean Energy Trailblazer: Aiming to be carbon neutral across its value chain by 2025, takes a three-pronged strategy across own operations (200 smart factories and 800 commercial and R&D sites), clients (a provider of innovative technologies to help digitize and minimize energy use and maximize renewable content – 120 million tCO2 saved in 2018-20), and developing communities
- Novo Nordisk, Most Collaborative Leader: Achieving 100% renewable electricity in global production earlier this year, after collaborating with like-minded partners on solutions for sites such as Tianjin, China
- Apple, Best Green Catalyst: Committed to transitioning entire supply chain to 100% renewable electricity by 2030, 71 manufacturing partners in 17 countries signed up to 100% renewable electricity for Apple production – saving over 14.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually, the equivalent of taking over 3 million cars off the road each year
- CHANEL, Best Community Changemaker: Partnered with Sunrun in 2019, investing US$35 million to bring free solar energy to nearly 30,000 residents in low income, multi-family accommodation in California (saving them US$600 on energy bills annually, around 5% of their income)
- Salesforce, Best Policy Influencer: Engaged in utility resource planning and supported new emissions standards in Virginia and opposed the Atlantic Coast pipeline
- Iron Mountain, Most Impactful Pioneer (joint winner): Constructed a 7.2 megawatts solar array in Edison, New Jersey – the largest data center roof-top solar system in the US — and introduced the Green Power Pass, enabling Iron Mountain to pass renewable energy credits to clients collocated at the site and at every Iron Mountain Data Center around the world
- TSMC Most Impactful Pioneer (joint winner): Purchased renewable energy, renewable energy certificates, and carbon credits to 100% offset carbon dioxide emissions from the power used at all overseas sites as well as enabled power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy total 1.2 gigawatts to date, including the world’s largest renewable corporate power purchase agreement (CPPA).
Announcements from Climate Week 2020
Companies across the specter of consumerism have been outlining their new decarbonization targets and clean investment strategies at Climate Week 2020. Here’s a sampling.
- Walmart, Inc. has a plan to reach zero emissions across its global operations in 20 years without relying on carbon offsets.
- Morgan Stanley has a commitment to reach “new net-zero financed emissions by 2050,” (kinda far in the future, eh? and sparse on the details).
- General Electric Co. declared it would stop supplying equipment to new coal-fired power plants, 138 years after its founder, Thomas Edison, built the first coal power generating station in Lower Manhattan.
- Mindspace Business Parks REIT, with one of India’s largest Grade A office portfolios, has pledged to transition to 100% electric mobility by expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure for clients across all its business parks by 2030, to help accelerate a global shift to clean transport and reduce air pollution.
New York Launches Empire Building Challenge
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of the Empire Building Challenge during Climate Week NY 2020. The $50 million initiative proposed during his 2020 State of the State address will transform existing multifamily and commercial high-rise buildings and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of these structures.
The challenge will advance low-carbon retrofit approaches resulting in heating and cooling solutions that will increase the comfort, sustainability, and energy performance of the state’s existing high-rise buildings, a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings currently account for 45% of greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion and electric generation. This announcement advances Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy and climate agenda which mandates an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, placing the state on path to economy-wide carbon-neutrality.
“New York is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing renewable energy resources that will grow our economy and advance our nation-leading plan to fight climate change,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Empire Building Challenge leverages public-private partnerships with leading industry experts and helps New York to continue its rich legacy of environmental stewardship in order to protect our natural resources for future generations.”
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