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"This is your problem, not your successor’s," Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, said during her opening remarks at Climate Week. "And as exhausting as all of this sounds, I still think we can be optimistic about our ability to get it done."

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Climate Week NYC 2021: What Networks Can Accomplish Together

“This is your problem, not your successor’s,” Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, said during her opening remarks at Climate Week. “And as exhausting as all of this sounds, I still think we can be optimistic about our ability to get it done.”

With discouraging media stories about coal, political misinformation, and automakers that refuse to adopt EVs into their catalogs, the backdrop of Climate Week NYC 2021 can seem contradictory. But the event, which takes place from September 20-26 and includes seminars, workshops, and protests —- digital and in person in New York — is serious stuff. It is a showcase about leading climate action and discussions about how to do more, fast can motivate people, businesses, and governments to address the climate crisis together.

Hosted annually by international non-profit the Climate Group in conjunction with the United Nations, and in partnership with the COP26 and the City of New York, Climate Week NYC 2021 is a global opportunity to come together to accelerate climate action and assess progress ahead of COP26. The Climate Group uses the approach of building large and influential networks and holding organizations accountable, turning their commitments into action.

With a goal to move the world to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and provide greater prosperity for all, the Climate Group focuses on systems with the highest emissions and where our networks have the greatest opportunity to drive change.

The pre-events program is organized into 5 themes.

Energy & Transport. The clean energy and transport revolution is here. Responsible for two-thirds of GHG emissions, energy is the largest polluting sector globally. With the transport sector now the fastest-growing contributor to climate change and accounting for almost a quarter of emissions, necessary measures and actions must be taken in order to halve global emissions by the
next decade.

Finance. The shift to a low carbon economy can spark an economic boost and create millions of jobs which is more important now than ever as countries and cities work to rebuild from the global pandemic. The finance stream focuses on financial opportunities to identify and mitigate climate risks as part of a green recovery. It provides a lens to explore initiatives and roadmaps for the public and private financial sector to tackle climate change and discuss sustainable development.

Built Environment & Industry. Buildings represent nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions and a third of global energy demand, which is why it’s crucial to aim for net-zero buildings powered by renewable energy. Cement and steelmaking are also some of the biggest emitters of carbon emissions globally, with plastics and aluminum following closely behind. This theme explores the impact heavy industry, buildings, and infrastructure have on climate and how we can use a circular economy to reduce CO2 emissions.

Emerging Trends. So many of the solutions and innovations that can help us halve emissions by 2030 are with us today; we just don’t know it yet, says the Climate Group. As we start a recovery from a pandemic that has proved the ability of humans to create change when it’s needed, the Emerging Trends theme brings together those at the forefront of future trends. Exploring exclusive insights from the world’s biggest brands and discussing new global innovations from the people that created them, this series of events will provide an essential guide to what climate action will look like over the next decade.

Food & Health. The global food system currently contributes to 21-37% of total GHG emissions, and, even then, agriculture’s contribution to climate change is underestimated. Land-based ecosystems and regenerative strategies are critical to the climate conversation. This theme examines the threats climate change has on our food system and how these trends impact our health from food and water shortages to the declining nutritional value of food. It will also look at climate health and how land use effects pandemics.

Additional themes are added as the event gets fully underway.

Environmental Justice. Racial and socioeconomic justice is key to climate action in every realm. Privilege, power, and oppression play an integral role in deciding who is most impacted by climate change: Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, and migrant communities. The Environmental Justice program is a dedicated space to amplify the voices and stories of those who bear the brunt of climate impacts but have been left out of the decision making. It means learning from and letting the most vulnerable communities lead and centering environmental justice in all climate conversations.

Sustainable Living. Collective individual action and lifestyle shifts can be a dynamic part of climate action. From choosing eco-friendly hotels and fashion to dining in low waste restaurants, we can all be a part of the solution. The Sustainable Living program brings together a diverse array of events to inspire everyone to be an ally to the planet and shares tips on how day to day can be transformative to ourselves and the environment.

Nature. From oceans to forests, nature plays an essential role in the wellbeing and livelihoods of all species. The Nature program addresses the importance of preserving and restoring the Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity. It aims to build a deeper connection between humans and nature and examine our role in building a better natural world for the future.

Policy. Policy is imperative in accelerating and supporting climate action. Policy levers form the framework to influencer businesses, states, and individuals to act on climate and accelerate the transition to net zero. From EV tax credits to national manufacturing laws, the Policy program considers policy at all levels – local, state, international.

All Climate Week NYC 2021 events, as well as highlights from over 500 events taking place across New York City and around the world, are available to view from the Climate Group’s Facebook Watch page from September 20, 2021.

A Case Study in Commitments to Renewables: India’s Chalet Hotels

Chalet Hotels Limited, owner, developer, and asset manager of high-end hotels in key metro cities in India, has become the first hospitality company globally to join Climate Group’s RE100, EP100, and EV100 initiatives linked to renewable electricity, energy efficiency, and electric mobility, respectively.

  • RE100 is the global corporate renewable energy initiative bringing together hundreds of large and ambitious businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity.
  • EP100 brings together a growing group of energy-smart companies improving their energy productivity to lower their emissions and improve their competitiveness. The mission is to lower global energy demand and accelerate the clean energy transition.
  • EV100 is the global initiative bringing together forward looking companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

With the RE100 commitment, all properties under Chalet’s portfolio will source 100% renewable energy for their electricity needs by 2031. Non-fuel-based energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower already contribute to 51% or 13270 MWh of Chalet’s portfolio power usage. This transition will enable Chalet to reduce its scope two emissions, which currently amount to 10,000+ tCO2, while also reducing dependency on grid electricity, which stands at 26,000+ MWh currently. This saving in grid power is adequate to provide electricity to around 17 Indian rural villages for a year.

By committing to EP100, Chalet has pledged to double its revenue per unit of electricity consumed by 2029, considering the baseline year of 2016, much earlier than the initiative’s mandate to double within 25 years.

With the EV100 commitment, 100% of the vehicle fleet deployed across the properties in Chalet’s portfolio, used for guest transport, will transition to electric vehicles by 2025. Additionally, all Chalet properties will be equipped with EV charging points accessible to both employees and visitors. With an average footfall of approximately 750,000 per month (during normal times) across hotels and commercial office spaces, this transition will influence and encourage a larger populace to transition to EVs.

Climate Week NYC 2021: Looking Back, Coming Forward

An international non-profit founded in 2003 with offices in London, New York, and New Delhi, the Climate Group has grown its network to include over 300 multinational businesses in 140 markets worldwide. The Under2 Coalition, for which they are the Secretariat, is made up of over 260 governments globally, representing 1.75 billion people and 50% of the global economy. Through scale, speed, and collaboration, they power large networks and hold each organization accountable, focusing on action now – not action tomorrow — and sharing what they achieve together to show other organizations what they could do.

Their members commit to keeping global temperature rises to well below 2°C with efforts to reach 1.5°C. 35 states and regions in the Coalition have committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.

 
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Written By

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. She's won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla. Please follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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