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  • Writer's pictureSophie M

Climate Week NYC 2019

Reflecting on our incredible time at Climate Week NYC with our amazing client The Climate Group. 2019 was by far the biggest Climate Week yet with businesses, governments, communities and young people gathering together to drive momentum for climate action. For those of you who do not know, Climate Week NYC was established in 2009 with the purpose to convene people, business and governments to drive climate action forward.

We were honoured to be part of this incredible event and see so many of The Climate’s Groups campaign teams in action including; RE100, EV100 EP100 & Under2Coalition (of which The Climate Group is Secretariat) and meet many campaign members and supporters.

Throughout the week, there were over 350 diverse fringe events from organisations and international leaders, including film screenings, panel discussions, nature walks and theatre shows.

Events were organisedinto eleven different thematic areas to align with the themes of the UN Secretary General's Climate Action Summit. 

To kick off Climate Week NYC, The Climate Group participated in the Global Climate Strike with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who thanked everyone that was active and said, “For all the [young] people making a difference in the world, we need you more and more. . . we’ve got to save this planet and I believe in the Green New Deal and I believe in all of you.” 

For the launch of Climate Week NYC, iconic New York buildings including One World Trade, One Five One, One Bryant Park, Javits Center, 30 Rock, The Weylin, Madison Square Garden, and Empire Outlets were lit up green. Photos are available via the Climate Week media portal.   

At the Opening Ceremony on Monday, September 23, global leaders called for greater urgency and action. We learned so much and heard from some of the worlds more progressive leaders and experts including; Pedro Sánchez, Pérez-Castejón, President of the Government of Spain who highlighted the urgent need to accelerate climate action and announced that Spain has made an ambitious commitment of phasing out fossil fuels by 2050, with a 20% reduction of emissions by 2030. 

We learned from Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark who shared the country’s goals to reduce emissions by 70% by 2030.  The Opening Ceremony Knowledge Partner McKinsey & Company discussed how the firm view, assess and address climate change as a "massive capital formation and allocation question." 

President Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica said, “We need business to be a part of this with the same confidence and clarity the younger generation are providing the world now. I don’t see a greater challenge or risk as the climate crisis – for our generation, for my generation, and for my son’s generation.” 

Headline Partner of Climate Week NYC was Salesforce and its Chief Impact Officer and EVP of Corporate Relations, Suzanne DiBiancasaid, “When it comes to protecting our planet and combating climate change, companies have a key role to play.

Governor Newsom of California and Governor Inslee of Washington State,  highlighted that despite the U.S. federal government's inaction on climate change, U.S. states are leading the way to drive policies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with science, such as those that promote renewable electricity, zero emissions vehicles, smart buildings, and agriculture, while improving their economies and creating jobs for the future.  

Other high-level speakers at the Opening Ceremony included; Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President of AT&T; Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE Group; Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability of Estée Lauder Companies; Steve Kukoda, ICA Vice President; and  Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. 

We also attended the Climate Week NYC Hub on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 24-25, 2019,which convened businesses, states, cities, and other ambitious climate actors to showcase how they are shaping the future economy through climate forward initiatives and innovative solutions. 

During The Hub, Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group said, “We need to halve emissions by 2030. The 2020s need to be the Climate Decade.” 

Youth Climate Activist and Founder of Earth Uprising, Alexandria Villaseñor talked about the global youth climate strikes and said, “When you set your mind to something, you can make it happen, and that’s what the youth do when we strike." 

Gonzalo Muñoz, Chile’s new COP25 High-Level Climate Action Champion said "the COP25 Presidency priority is to fill the map of the world with climate actions and we're all invited to fill it." 

Charlene Lake, SVP, Corporate Social Responsibility & Chief Sustainability Officer at AT&T talked about the benefits that technology has brought them and their customers as a credible tool for climate action and the importance of transparency in climate action. 

With New York City as Climate Week NYC’s playground, Mark Chambers, Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, said: “One of the biggest challenges is to match NYC’s ambition with the reality of the emissions it represents.” 

MS Vaishali Nigam Sinha, Chief CSR, Sustainability and Communications Officer at Renew Power, talked about the work Renew Power does to support non-government organizations to take climate action. 

Mathias Lelievre, CEO at Engie Impact kicked off the Step Up: The Business Case for Greater Government Ambition event. He said, “Sustainability must not continue to be at the periphery. It must now live in the heart of each organization, not just as an environmental concern, but as a key driver of economic growth.” 

Alex Liftman, Global Environmental Executive at Bank of America talked with Amy Davidsen, Executive Director of North America for The Climate Group to talk about the power of businesses, cities and states to combat climate change. 

Lucas di Grassi, Formula E Champion and Driver for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler said, “I’m extremely passionate about promoting the trailblazing technologies of electric mobility through Formula E and raising awareness of electric vehicles for the benefit of our health and climate.” 

In celebration of Climate Week NYC, restaurants all over New York City showcased climate friendly dishes for Eat for Climate Week.

National Geographic showcased a virtual ocean exhibit in the heart of the city in Times Square – Encounter: Climate Change allowed individuals to travel through the Pacific to see, hear, and feel the greatest marine wonders. 

Partnering with Global Citizen and with the release of The Climate Group’s new youth research, various climate events such as Our Future Festival and Young People at the Forefront of the Climate Movement provided young people the opportunity to join the conversation and demand greater action. Marketplace of the Future wrapped up Climate Week NYC with a party that featured sustainable brands and a live band. 

View The Climate Group’s Climate Week full press release on the Opening Ceremony here.

Photos and videos from Climate Week NYC 2019 are available on the media portal

View full release on the 350+ events.

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