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Climate Week NYC 2023: A Vital Opportunity to Bolster Climate Action and Improve Lives

September has arrived, and New York City has again become the epicenter of pivotal climate discussions. Climate Week in New York City — happening alongside the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, and the Climate Ambition Summit — provides vital opportunities to bolster cooperation, ambition, and implementation ahead of COP28.  

These gatherings come on the heels of an exceptionally scorching summer, with July 2023 earning the unfortunate distinction of being the hottest month ever recorded. Recent extreme events have cast a glaring spotlight on what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned; climate change is leading to irreversible impacts to nature and communities.   

In the face of these alarming impacts, EDF recognizes how this year is especially pivotal for advancing climate action. In the same breath however, we must tackle other pressing social challenges, many of which are deeply connected to or exacerbated by the climate crisis. That’s why EDF is tracking all of the below events happening in New York City this week:  

  • The UN General Assembly, guided by its theme of Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability, focuses on global financial architecture reforms and the urgency to cut emissions and achieve climate justice.  
  • The SDG Summit is a pivotal moment to review, reflect, and reignite action on SDGs. Convened by the President of the General Assembly, the SDG Summit marks the half-way point to the deadline set for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN SDGs, or Sustainable Development Goals, are a set of 17 goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. 
  • The UN Secretary-General’s Climate Ambition Summit is dedicated to accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels, while forging potential partnerships critical to advancing our shared climate goals in the lead up to COP28. 
  • Climate Week NYC unites civil society, businesses, nonprofit organizations and government for over 400 events and activities around the city centered on climate action. 

These may all seem like very different events, but they’re tackling deeply connected issues: from decarbonization and resilience to poverty alleviation to forest conservation to food security. The most critical conversations will happen in the in-between, exploring the solutions that address multiple crises at once.   

Flags fly outside the United Nations building in New York City

The most critical conversations will happen in the in-between, exploring the solutions that address multiple crises at once.   

All these events occurring simultaneously in New York City create the perfect moment for attendees to continue the nuanced, interconnected conversations that advance us toward achieving both Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the Paris Agreement.   

The Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) complement each other, sharing climate and sustainability objectives centered on people. The SDGs include climate targets like promoting renewable energy alongside expanding access to reliable energy and sustainable agriculture alongside ending hunger. These align with many Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. To ensure a just transition and equitable future, we must prioritize sustainable development pillars. Neglecting these goals could undermine climate action.  

EDF’s approach to climate action is firmly rooted in this intersectional ambition, along with our commitment to science, clear-headed economics, meaningful partnerships, community engagement, and strategic advocacy.  

As we track the conversations between, EDF will be in New York City hosting events and convening discussions across four key priorities:  

  • A Just Transition to Clean Energy: Reducing our over-dependence on fossil fuels by developing and deploying the technologies that unleash zero-emissions fuels now, is critical for achieving an effective and safe energy transition for people, prosperity and planet. EDF will take part in several events focused on the opportunities and benefits of slashing methane emissions globally, the solutions for driving down climate pollution from jet fuel and heavy-duty trucks, and the innovations transforming clean energy infrastructure, complemented by the dialogue with actors involved to promote inclusion and social impact.
  • A Just Transformation to Advance Resilient Food Systems: The climate crisis demands we reimagine how we cultivate, harvest, and raise the food we consume, with an eye toward promoting human health and climate stability. EDF is hosting conversations with farmers, corporate leaders, and policymakers to discuss farmer-centered solutions to reducing animal agriculture emissions.
  • Accelerated Climate Action: The business case for climate action grows stronger each day, with more accessible clean energy and new policy incentives. But while over 900 of the world’s 2,000 largest companies have set climate goals, the vast majority don’t have concrete plans to implement their pledges at the speed and scale needed.  To help companies go further and faster, EDF is launching the Net Zero Action Accelerator with actionable business pathways from Deloitte, Oxford Net Zero, Race to Zero, We Mean Business, and more. This one-stop-shop climate hub equips leaders within companies with science-backed, industry-specific guidance to supercharge action.  
  • No Net Zero Without Nature: Respecting and restoring the natural world, including our forests, lands, and oceans, can support communities and address the impacts of climate change. EDF will be uniting our partners from Indigenous organizations and environmental non-profits to discuss how Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities can lead the way in making the voluntary carbon market an important tool for tropical forest conservation.  EDF will also host workshops for companies to learn how to set—and achieve—nature and biodiversity goals, alongside ambitious climate targets.

Find our full calendar of Climate Week NYC events here

Climate Week NYC is not merely a gathering of the climate-minded; it is a resounding reminder that the climate crisis impacts far more than our future. Its effects are rippling across our systems, economies and communities right now 

Connecting the dots and discussions at these events through the themes of investment, implementation, and collective action will be critical to set the right agenda ahead of COP28 in Dubai in December. This year’s UN climate talks will be pivotal: The first Global Stocktake (GST) will also come to an end at COP28 – providing an assessment of progress, and a guide to scale ambition to get where we need to be. How we move forward must be informed by an intersectional view of our overlapping crises, looking at the gaps as opportunities for solutions. 

The solutions that will secure a livable climate for the future must also improve lives today. 

To achieve a just transition and equitable future, we need to see commitments to several pillars of sustainable development, including reduced inequalities, access to decent jobs, access to affordable and reliable energy, and gender equality. This is our moment to come together, connect the dots, and act to shape a vital Earth for all, today and tomorrow.

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