CLIMATE WEEK: Reviving the Commitment to the Climate Crisis through a Just Transition

CLIMATE WEEK: Reviving the Commitment to the Climate Crisis through a Just Transition

CLIMATE WEEK: Reviving the Commitment to the Climate Crisis through a Just Transition

By Ann Erhardt, Environmental Consultant, CvCC

Two years ago, the IPCC gave us a deadline to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. If we are not able to reach the IPCC milestone, we will continue to face the escalating, devastating and irreversible impacts of climate change. This deadline is yet another threshold, another warning in a steady stream of scientific and data-based action plans for addressing the climate change crisis. It is a call to action that continues to ring true but has not been substantially addressed nor deep progress made by the collective global community. 

We are not making the progress we need in order to stem the tide. The stark reality is that in order to cross the finish line, we must do it together. Ultimately there are and will be no winners. There have already been vast casualties in both human life and the ecosystems we are dependent upon. We all win, or we all lose. What used to be a “long-game” has quickly turned into a foot race for survival. 

Meeting or exceeding the IPCC deadline has always been dependent upon a commitment to collective action and collective benefits. This intersectionality is similarly reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to truly move the needle in a positive direction by leveraging the interdependence, we need to understand our connectivity and have a collective will for change. To get at the heart of collaboration organizations, municipalities, government, NGOs, communities, schools, leadership, banking/finance, technology, communications, etc. all need to come together and directly engage with and ultimately solve the crisis. 

Convening organizations and leaders from around the planet are critical moments for the world’s sustainability movement, reinforcing the importance of the collective action that must be taken to alter our current trajectory on climate. Collective impact on climate change is not a new concept but it does require continuous and intentional action. The most powerful outcome of collective impact is the curation of cross-sector perspectives that will improve collective understanding of the problem and hopefully inspire a sense of mutual accountability. While there are many approaches to convening discussion and action on many environmental subjects, the ability of an event to bring together international stakeholders from multiple sectors and provide opportunity to build supportive communities of practice can be the “game-changer” in our timeline for transformative change. Curating these large scale and multi-sector conversations is no easy task but these opportunities are important to bring recognition and awareness to the global cause. This is why collaborative events like Climate Week are so important to the movement. These events generate optimism, make space for conversation, innovation, collaborative design and create conditions for progress.

As effects of a global pandemic on business, partnerships and initiatives come into focus, we have a greater understanding and willingness to rebuild “better” after COVID-19; a revival of commitment to the climate crisis and an awakening to fragile social systems, economic turmoil and battered infrastructure that now needs our attention. “The pandemic has proved that businesses can develop partnerships and coordinate action between countries, companies and sectors that accelerate broad-scale change. We’re now seeing this tactic applied to climate change; companies are increasingly acknowledging the necessity of working together in order to make a real impact on the environment.” (M. Lelievre, CEO, ENGIE Impact, August 2020)

World leaders, organizations, governments and many others will gather in September for Climate Week 2020. This summit is aimed at reviving efforts and doubling down on solving the climate crisis by addressing global change and establishing a just transition as we transform the past into a brighter future. Successful outcomes depend upon participation in conversation and ensuring that everyone has an equitable seat at the table. Climate Week is just one of the countless efforts underway, throwing down the gauntlet on the climate crisis. The conversation needs you now. So, when and where will you join the fight?

“Climate Week NYC will take place this year from September 21 to 27, 2020. Run in coordination with the United Nations and the City of New York, Climate Week NYC continues to grow as the time and place for the world to showcase amazing climate action and discuss how to do more. The event is one of the few international climate summits taking place this year. As many organizations and municipalities focus shifts to how to rebuild after COVID-19, Climate Week NYC 2020 will explore lessons we can learn in the pursuit of a net-zero future through just transition.” To learn more about the event, visit: https://www.climateweeknyc.org/climate-week-nyc-2020

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