On 6 April, climate-action non-profit The Climate Group announced that Climate Week NYC will not be postponed and will take place as scheduled on September 21-27, 2020.
The organisers say Climate Week NYC will launch a virtual platform that will host all major events to ensure that delegates and speakers can join irrespective of any restrictions at the time. This will allow far more businesses, citizens and politicians across North America and the world to join, says a press release. In an election year for the United States, and the first year of the climate decade, this will allow for a stronger focus on whole US and international participation in the program.
The approach will ensure that should the situation in September limit the scale of physical events, a full program can still happen through a virtual platform.
The organisers say the decision is even more critical given that COP26, the annual UN hosted national climate summit, is to be postponed until 2021. It will ensure that the growing momentum seen over the last few years from campaigners can continue, with forward looking climate leaders able to demonstrate that 2020, a year of huge government intervention, can still deliver huge climate action.
Climate Week NYC is run in association with the United Nations and the City of New York. It brings together national, state and regional government leaders, businesses and the broader climate sector to accelerate climate action. Last year, over 350 events took place throughout New York City as part of the official program, which brought together political announcements, business leadership events, and grassroots activity.
Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, commented: “We have made the decision that we cannot afford to cancel or delay the important conversations, commitments and negotiations that need to take place. The decision to postpone COP26 to 2021 was undoubtedly the correct thing to do to allow diplomatic negotiations to take place at a time when they can be given the right level of focus. We believe that Climate Week NYC has an important role to play in supporting that process at a time when it will be needed most.”
“The sweeping international pandemic has been upmost in our minds as we have made this decision, especially as New York City and New York State have suffered so severely in recent weeks. However, necessity is the mother of invention and through technology, we can not only deliver Climate Week NYC in 2020, but also showcase what a truly successful virtual offering can look like.”
“Every year we say, “For New York, For the World,” and this year will be no different. NYC will be hosting an even greater global effort in tackling climate change. We believe in a just transition; climate action must be carried out in a way that protects livelihoods. The Coronavirus pandemic how shown how our global community is willing to care and able to change.”
Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor of New York said: “We are leading the nation with our aggressive efforts to make New York more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Week NYC brings experts and stakeholders together to advance our collective goals to make the state cleaner and greener. We are committed to building on our ambitious clean energy agenda to protect the environment, create new jobs for the future, and combat climate change.”
Daniel Zarrilli, NYC’s Chief Climate Policy Advisor, said: “As New York City is focused on an immediate public health crisis, we cannot lose sight of the looming climate crisis and the threats to public health and well-being that it will cause.
“Looking toward September, New York City is proud to again serve as the global host for Climate Week – this year being done with an innovative, digital-first approach. We applaud The Climate Group for taking this creative action as we adjust to new realities in a way that still pushes forward the collaboration necessary to confront our climate crisis. Here in New York City, we remain committed to ending the age of fossil fuels and investing in clean energy climate solutions as part of our world-leading Green New Deal climate policy. Taking on the fossil fuel industry, getting our emissions to net zero, building greater resiliency citywide, and making sure all New Yorkers have a fair opportunity to thrive — these may not be easy, but they are necessary if we are to secure a livable future for the next generation.”
Basil Seggos, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, said: “Climate Week NYC is a critical opportunity to bring together scientists and policymakers from around the world to advance our collective efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has shredded the premise that government can ignore science. Climate change is an irrefutable scientific fact and New York communities have already experienced its wrath in the form of flooding and severe storms. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is advancing its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the critical work of the Climate Action Council, to establish the pathway to a zero-carbon future.”
Alicia Barton, President and CEO of NYSERDA said: “This event illustrates the existential threat climate change poses to us and how only through a collaborative effort will we ensure a cleaner and greener planet for generations to come. We have witnessed Governor Cuomo’s resolute and unwavering leadership through the COVID-19 crisis, and it is that same leadership that New York and others around the world who will gather for Climate Week 2020 are demonstrating each day to ensure we are advancing clean energy solutions to meet our climate goals.”
Visit www.climateweeknyc.org or follow #ClimateWeekNYC to receive regular announcements and keep up to date with Climate Week NYC 2020.