“Gradually, then suddenly."
This quote from Ernest Hemingway's book The Sun Also Rises could be one of the best insights into how change occurs. Will this also be true of climate action?
While the UN Climate Action Summit did not bring about the national climate pledges we so urgently need – with environmental activist Greta Thunberg accusing world leaders of selling “fairy tales" rather than taking action – the global, citizen-led climate movement, on the other hand, has created real groundwork for change.
Around 6 million people (more than the entire population of Finland!) took to the streets ahead of and during Climate Week to call on governments for immediate, radical action to address the climate crisis. This follows a global trend where increasingly more citizens and employees are taking a stand, pushing organisations, big and small, to step in where slow-moving governments are woefully falling behind.
The business case for corporate climate action is no longer debated – it is becoming the new normal in today's purpose-driven economy. This was evident in the scope and envisaged impacts of commitments made at the 2019 edition of New York Climate Week, which were much bigger than those announced during previous years – we've now moved from billions to trillions.
However, when it comes to action, the challenge has never been in getting corporates signed up to climate pledges – it's making sure they happen.
Pledges and stories we'll be following
Action on the Paris Agreement
- Russia finally joins the Paris Agreement
- The European Union announced at least 25% of the next EU budget will be devoted to climate-related activities
- All eyes are on the 2020 U.S presidential election – how will the outcome define the climate landscape?
- 77 countries commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – and they are joined by 10 regions and more than 100 cities – including several of the world's largest
Follow the money
- Business leaders call for long-term, stable carbon pricing policies
- Banks with more than USD 47 trillion in assets adopt the new UN-backed Principles of Responsible Banking to fight climate change
- An increasing number of companies are tying environmental goals to pay
- Nearly 90 major companies commit to emission reduction targets in line with a 1.5-degree
- CEO Jeff Bezos says that Amazon plans to meet the Paris Climate Agreement '10 years in advance'
- Almost 300 multinational businesses with a combined revenue of USD 5.5 trillion are driving climate action on renewable power, electric transport, and smarter energy use in more than 140 markets worldwide
- Undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of the week was on oceans: the latest UN report issues a stark warning of an 'ocean emergency' caused by global warming
- UNEP calls on all countries to incorporate nature-based solutions in their climate strategies
- European governments, along with the Gates Foundation and the World Bank, pool USD 790 million to support 300 million small-scale farmers
- A new alliance to protect the Amazon and other tropical forests was announced by France, Colombia, and Chile
- 230 investors representing approximately USD 16.2 trillion in assets call for corporate action on deforestation