Global business and government leaders gather for Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony

Author:
William Brittlebank
Reading time: 5 minutes
21 September 2016

NEW YORK: Climate Week NYC 2016 began on Monday with The Climate Group hosting the high-level Opening Ceremony, bringing together influential leaders from business and government to reassert their commitment to climate action and delivering the Paris Agreement.

The Opening Ceremony, with the theme ‘America Means Business: US Leadership in a post-Paris World’, took place at The TimesCenter in New York City at a critical point in the international climate agenda with the Paris Agreement on the verge of being formally ratified and the US Presidential Election just seven weeks away.

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director North America,The Climate Group, delivered the opening remarks saying: “We now stand on the verge of a new era of bold climate action, clean energy and prosperous sustainable economies, but with limited time to seize this opportunity. Yet as we’ve seen, forward thinking businesses aren’t going to let this investment opportunity pass them by, and those that do, will be left behind.”

Participants including Dr. Ernest Moniz, US Secretary of Energy, Lisa Jackson, Vice President for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Apple, and Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, confirmed North America’s leadership role on key climate initiatives.

Dr. Ernest Moniz reaffirmed US leadership on climate action at the event, emphasizing the importance of innovation in driving clean energy development, and analyzing the global nexus of clean energy deployment, energy access, and economic growth.

In a high-level conversation with Rachel Kyte, Dr. Moniz said: “Mission Innovation really is about putting innovation, now, at the center of the discussion about solutions to climate change to accelerate the transformation to low carbon.”

Major companies from North America and around the world also participated at Climate Week NYC’s Opening Ceremony to demonstrate their commitment to renewable energy to help accelerate the transition to a net zero emissions global economy.

Bank of America announced that it has joined the RE100 global campaign of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity, which is led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

Andrew Plepler, Global Environmental, Social and Governance executive at Bank of America, said: “These new commitments build on our existing environmental strategy for both our operations as well as our business activities. This includes our $125 billion environmental business initiative, which is providing much-needed capital to catalyze greater investments in clean energy and other low-carbon projects. Overall, we have provided more than $53 billion dollars to sustainable business activities since 2007… We’re joining RE100 to help keep these critical issues at the forefront of the business agenda.”

In a keynote address at the event, Lisa Jackson also announced that Apple has joined the RE100 initiative, saying: “We’re excited to share the industry-leading work we've been doing to drive renewable energy into the manufacturing supply chain, and look forward to partnering with RE100 to advocate for clean-energy policies around the world.”

As part of the Climate Week NYC Opening Day, Philips Lighting also joined The Climate Group and World Green Business Council in calling ambitious action on energy efficiency in buildings and renovation and announced new targets for all new buildings to adopt energy efficient LED lighting by 2020 and for all existing buildings to use LED by 2030.

Philips Lighting also launched its ‘Brighter Lives, Better World’ initiative that includes goals for 80% sustainable revenues and 100% carbon neutral operations by 2020 as well as a shift to 100% renewable electricity, and Eric Rondolat, CEO, Philips Lighting said: “Buildings alone account for 40 per cent of global energy use and emit around one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. To put buildings on a path to be carbon neutral in the first half of this century, we endorse the call for urgent renovation with connected LED technologies that can reduce electricity used for lighting by up to 80 per cent.”

Major sustainable home goods company bambeco were also a key participant at the event and Susan Aplin, CEO, announced that the firm will be carbon neutral by 2020, making it the first net-neutral home goods company.

The German engineering giant Siemens, the first major industrial company in the world to commit to achieving a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, also played a key role at the event in showcasing important action on climate, and Roland Busch, Managing Board Member and Chief Sustainability Officer at Siemens, said: “Decarbonization is both an ecologic necessity and an economic opportunity. The energy sector, industrial processes and urban infrastructures offer huge potential for boosting efficiency while increasing productivity. Implementing the right technologies is the key.”

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