The Climate Group, and its partners, including the United Nations, the City of New York, and founding sponsor Swiss Re, kicked off Climate Week NYC yesterday. The conference is expected to bring together both government and business leaders to discuss the policies and public-private partnerships needed to financially support a clean and low-carbon economy.
“Cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 will require investment of $45 trillion. Financing of this magnitude will require the biggest public-private partnership of all time but will unlock a clean industrial revolution that will be good for the economy, good for jobs and good for the environment,” said Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group.
Government, business and non-profit leaders participating in the conference include Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC; HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management LLC; and Alan Salzman, CEO and Managing Partner, VantagePoint Venture Partners.
Topics will include risk transfer and adaptation in developing economies, policies to stimulate the growth of emerging clean technologies, and the launch of the EV20 Alliance.
The backdrop for Climate Week NYC is the annual UN General Assembly, where the focus will be on progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), including global partnership, ending poverty, environmental sustainability and clean energy access for all.
The Climate Group expects this year’s Climate Week NYC activities to establish a context for discussions at the November UN Climate Change Conference (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico.
Billionaire investor George Soros, who spoke at the opening ceremony, said practical action is needed to deal with global warming, reports Bloomberg News. He is working to slow deforestation and remove carbon dioxide from coal.
After climate-treaty negotiations deadlocked last year in Copenhagen, Soros decided he would invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and donate $100 million to an environmental policy group to aid new regulations, reports Bloomberg.
Swiss Re also released a report that shows that insurance solutions can help drive climate adaptation initiatives in developing countries and protect against rising costs of climate risks including large natural disasters.
According to the report, climate change could severely exacerbate the impact of natural disasters, wiping out years of development gains and costing some countries up to 19 percent of annual GDP by 2030.
The report also finds that cost-effective adaptation measures can mitigate more than 90 percent of the potential loss in some locations.
The EV20 alliance, aimed at bringing 1 million additional electric vehicles on the road by 2015, also was unveiled at the conference.
The global alliance consisting of businesses and government leaders is led by the The Climate Group. Businesses joining the alliance included global fleet owner TNT, auto manufacturers PSA Peugeot Citroën and Smith Electric Vehicles, battery manufacturer Johnson Controls, Better Place and Deutsche Bank. The state governments of Basque Country, New York State, Quebec, South Australia and Victoria also joined the group.
EV20 members have agreed to work together over the next three years to drive the deployment of EVs through brokering international fleet procurement alliances, as well as developing national, state and municipal policy frameworks, and financing solutions.
The alliance is made possible with support from Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Dutch Postcode Lottery and the HSBC Climate Partnership.
Also at the conference, PwC announced that the company has met its 20 percent carbon-reduction goal two years ahead of schedule. PwC is the global report writer for the CDP.
PwC has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 62,000 CO2 metric tons since FY07, its baseline emission levels. The company said it met its goal by focusing on solutions for workspaces, air travel and commuting, as well as through employee engagements.
PwC’s carbon-reduction goal is one part of the firm’s environmental and sustainability strategy. As an example, by performing energy audits and remediation on its top 29 offices, the firm is expected to yield an annual savings of $1.9 million over three years and reduce its energy consumption by 18 percent.
The company also made a significant investment in constructing a state-of-the-art Tier 3 data center that is said to be one of the most environmentally friendly in the nation. The data center opened in March 2010 and received a LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its environmentally-sustainable construction.