Climate Week NYC is the largest annual climate event of its kind, bringing together some 400 events and activities across the City of New York. This year it will be held from September 17-24, 2023. The event takes place every year in partnership with the United Nations General Assembly and is run in coordination with the United Nations and the City of New York.
At the start of the week, on September 18 and 19, 2023, Climate Grouphosts “The Hub Live”. Bringing together more than 1,000 of the most influential leaders from business, government, and the climate sector. This year, one of the three main focuses was:
“We have made huge strides evidenced by the billions committed by the US, China and the EU boost green technology and energy security. We know we have the solutions to the climate crisis. But how do we ensure they are implemented?”
During the two days of “Hub Live” ARC was present for multiple sessions including:
“Unleashing the Renovation Revolution” featuring Jennifer Layke from World Resource Institute
“Is integrated Energy Our Next Climate hero” Featuring, Renae Kezar, VP of Global Sustainability at Johnson Controls
“Roadmap to renewable energy: streamlining permitting processes and overcoming regulatory barriers” Featuring, Pedro J. Pizarro, President and CEO of Edison International
During the two days of Hub Live, it was abundantly clear that people, governments, and businesses are ready to put in the effort. Climate Change, this summer alone, has had global impact causing record heat, deadly wildfires, and mass floodings. In such a short amount of time Hub Live was packed to brim with new announcements, success case stories, and positive attitudes towards change.
Innovative Technology Helping to Fight Climate Change
The decision to act on climate change is no longer about “what” and or “if”. The available technology and software needed to help drive companies, governments, and organizations to their net zero goals are here. Companies, such as Apple, Google, and Siemens, all presented innovative and transformative initiatives their companies are taking to reduce emissions for Scope 1-3.
Kate Brant, Google’s Chief Sustainability Officer, spoke about its AI technology that Google Maps uses to shows its users (green leaf icon) the most sustainable and carbon efficient route to the destination selected. As the world witnesses the aftermath of the floods in Libya, Kate spoke about Googles AI functionality that can predict flooding in a given area and warn citizens almost 7 days in advance through Floodhub.com. During an all-female panel, focused on fighting climate change through transformative technology. They were asked, “what does the future hold for sustainability transformative technology?”. An answer that stuck out to me “we need to package it in a way for small and medium size enterprise, so they have access to it”. This journey is not a solo one, it will only be successful if it is inclusive and accessible.
The Private Sector’s Role in The Energy Transition:
Climate Week NYC had a great representation of industries, including the private sector, public sector, and environmental groups. In the last few years, the US federal government has been a huge investor in clean energy, infrastructure, and green jobs. Between the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law billions of dollars are being injected into the economy from the public sector.
Cara Carmichael, Director of Federal Buildings at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, spoke about Executive Operation 1457, which includes a goal for all federal buildings to be net zero by 2050. To decarbonize 3 billion sq. ft. by 2050, integrated efficiency, demand flexibility, and carbon free electricity is critical to success. Senator Wiener, representing District 11 of California, spoke about his role in passing SB253, “The Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act”. A first-in-the-nation measure requiring carbon disclosures from corporations making more than 1 billion dollars that operate and do business in California. Upwards of 5,500 companies will be required to begin reporting scope 1-3 emissions to the state starting in 2026. Senator Wiener said that the bill will “unleash corporate innovation” and reminded the audience that “we need to be constantly playing on offense”.
Tools for the Private Sector for Success:
The sessions offered during the entirety of the event ranged in topics from technological innovation, regulation response, and corporate social responsibility.
During the flagship session “We can. We Will. We are driving climate action”, Jim Andrew the Chief Sustainability Officer of Pepsi stole the show. He spoke about the importance of standardizing reporting, “Every dollar I spend on reporting is a dollar not spent on mitigating climate change”. Standardization of reporting will accomplish more climate mitigation while increasing accountability and will also recruit more companies into the system. “We need more regulation”, innovation is no longer the issue, it is implementation. The regulation needs to be well designed, thoughtful, and transparent. Lastly, Mr. Andrews also spoke about Pepsi’s collaboration with Coco Cola on plastic waste, “positive examples inspire others across the value chain”.
Pedro J Pizzaro, president of Edison International, spoke about the bottle necking of transmission deployment by the long waiting lines to acquire new transmission permits. He also noted that “the pace of transmission development will have to quadruple historical development”. An overall theme amongst many private sector representatives is the dissatisfaction with the pace of new US regulations for permitting, reporting, and guidance.
Climate Week NYC 2023, hosted by the Climate Group, served as a pivotal moment, bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss and present innovative solutions and transformative initiatives aimed at combating climate change. The event highlighted the urgency and necessity of collective action, emphasizing that the tools and technology required to drive entities towards net-zero goals are already available.
The event spotlighted the crucial role of the private sector in the energy transition, with substantial investments currently being distributed into clean energy, infrastructure, and green jobs being made by the US, EU, and abroad.
The event also brought to light the prevailing challenges, particularly in the realm of regulation and implementation.
In conclusion, Climate Week NYC 2023 was a testament to the collective it underscored the imperative of unified action, innovation, and the implementation of effective solutions and policies. The need for standardization in reporting, transparent policy, and accessible technology was emphasized. With industry leaders advocating for well-designed, thoughtful, and transparent regulations to facilitate more effective climate action.
The journey to a sustainable future is not a solo one; it requires the collaborative efforts of all sectors of society, and this event was a significant step forward in fostering such collaboration.