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Climate Diplomacy Project Coordinator, Camilla Munkedal, shares her thoughts on what’s required to accelerate global climate action

September 19, 2018

Next week’s Climate Week NYC 2018 will convene businesses, governments, academic institutions, and civil society organizations to demonstrate once more the importance of non-state action for limiting the rise in average global temperatures below 2˚C. It will do so by showing what’s been done, how it’s been done, and why we need to be doing more.

Taking place just 10 days after the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Climate Week will pick up many of the same themes. One particular event to do this will be the ‘Accelerating global climate action post-GCAS’ panel discussion at The Hub on September 25 hosted by ClimateWorks Foundation.  This event will feature expert speakers from Mission 2020, The Climate Group, WWF, CISL, and the We Mean Business coalition. The diversity of strategies of such a range of organizations may beg the question: what is the most effective strategy for accelerating global climate action?

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to think about this question in some detail as part of a small team developing a new ‘Climate Diplomacy’ program for the Under2 Coalition. Based on this experience here are my thoughts on what’s essential for accelerating action:

1. Provide compelling evidence

To accelerate global climate action, the first crucial step is to continue producing and disseminating evidence, especially to those outside the ‘climate bubble’. We must continue raising the point that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is higher than at any point in time in the past 400,000 years;[1] that continued rise in global emissions may lead to dangerous scenarios;[2] but also, that tangible solutions are already out there.[3]

2. Lead by example

Evidence must be followed by action, and here leading by example is crucial. Leading by example is when the state of Telangana in India embeds energy efficiency building standards into its building approval system[4], it’s when Shenzhen in China converts all 16,000 of its busses to electric vehicles[5], and it’s when Acre in Brazil implements a ground-breaking forest conservation law that maintains 86% of its original forest cover[6]. Leading by example fosters the political and economic confidence that we need so urgently to accelerate global climate action, and it provides new solutions that can be shared with others.

3. Form coalitions

If leading by example is the crucial second step, forming coalitions it the third. Coalitions such as the Under2 Coalition, the Alliances for Climate Action, and We Mean Business help spread the stories of climate action and they enhance collaboration among non-state actors. By giving a voice to individual actors, coalitions help secure finance and enhance political will for accelerating climate action.

4. Work ambitiously

Alongside providing the evidence, leading by example, and forming coalitions, the final important lever is to work ambitiously by using existing frameworks to exert pressure on those that have committed to act. The new Under2 Climate Diplomacy program we’re seeking to implement aims to achieve this level of ambition by increasing intelligence sharing among sub-national governments, by improving collaboration between different types of non-state actors, and by putting in place structures that will enable sub-national governments to engage more effectively at the national and international level. In laying out these objectives, the Climate Diplomacy initiative has the ultimate goal of building the political confidence of individual countries to significantly ratchet their Paris Agreement NDCs in 2020 and 2025.

This is an ambitious goal - but accelerating global climate action has to be.



How can each of us, as individuals, get involved with accelerating climate action?

This year marks the tenth Climate Week NYC, and as the largest Climate Week event in the world, will bring together people from all over the world to take climate action. This year, Climate Week NYC is going even further to engage with local businesses and the community within the five boroughs of New York City, as well as around the world. Climate Week NYC is set to attract increased interest in 2018 because of the fact it falls ten days after the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, providing us an opportunity to take the commitments and conversation from those leading the charge to a wider audience.

As part of that journey, Climate Week NYC is launching the 10 Things campaign. Taking the baton from GCAS, 10 Things will launch on September 14th at the end of the summit. We will release each of the 10 Things, one a day, until Sunday 23rd September – the day before Climate Week NYC opens. On the launch of Climate Week NYC, we will promote all 10 Things throughout the week, including a compilation video showing the best pieces of content from the ten days of the campaign. Share your thoughts with the #10Things hashtag all over social media!

#1. Travel

Sustainable tourism covers a broad collection of things that people can do to limit their impact on the planet, from how you travel, to where you travel, to what you do when you’re there. This could coincide with a specific list of 10 Things looking specifically at sustainable tourism in NYC. How can we make travel more sustainable? Share your thoughts with the #10Things hashtag all over social media!

  • Record a video about how your next trip will be more sustainable
  • Tell us about the most sustainable holiday you've ever taken
  • New Yorkers - tell us how we can travel around your city in a more sustainable way
  • Post this image on your own social media accounts to spread awareness

#2. Fashion

Coming at the weekend following New York Fashion Week, we are focusing on things that people can do to take climate action through the clothes that they wear. If you are looking for inspiration, why not try these?

  • What are your tips and tricks on washing your clothes without hurting the environment?
  • What’s your favorite piece of vintage clothing? Show us by tagging it #10Things and #ClimateWeekNYC!
  • Take a selfie in your favorite sustainable clothing! Tag us at #ClimateWeekNYC and#10Things!

#2. Food

Changing the way we eat is one of the easiest ways to help the planet, and we want to know what steps you are taking. If you are looking for ideas, why not try the below?

  • Take a picture of your favorite sustainable meal or snack and use the tag #10Things to show us!
  • Join the conversation – are you a chef or skilled home cook? Tell us how we can make better use of our leftover food and scraps at #10Things
  • What’s your favorite climate-conscious restaurant? Tag them at #10Things and show them some love.

Eat for Climate Week is raising awareness about the climate benefits of shifting to a more plant-rich diet. In celebration of Climate Week NYC, restaurants all over New York City will be showcasing delicious and climate-friendly dishes. Be sure to stop by one of the many participating restaurants!


Cafe Clover (West Village)

Terri (Midtown, Wall Street)

Ladybird (East Village)

Avant Garden (East Village)

Mother of Pearl (East Village)

PS Kitchen (Midtown)

Spring Natural Kitchen (Upper West Side)

Spring Street Natural (East Village)

Oaxaca Taqueria (Multiple locations)

Martina (East Village)

Bareburger (Multiple locations)


Avant Garden (Williamsburg)

Rip’s Malt Shop (Brooklyn Heights)

Oaxaca Taqueria (Multiple locations)


The Bonnie (Astoria)

Macoletta (Astoria)

#4. Water

Water makes up 72% of the Earth's surface but climate change threatens our water supplies and the ecology of our oceans, seas, lakes and more in a myriad of ways. We want to know your advice on how we can all do our bit to save water at #10Things - but if you're looking for ways you can get involved yourself why not try these:

  • What are your favorite water-safe, non-polluting products? Give them a shoutout using the #10Things tag!
  • Show us your favorite speedy-shower playlists by tagging them at #10Things
  • Send us a video of you tending to your garden (whether on your balcony or on the ground) using recycled water using #10Things
  • How can we all help clean up the Hudson and other bodies of water around us? Join the conversation at #10Things and #ClimateWeekNYC

#5. Plastic

Today will provide an opportunity to showcase the simple things that individuals can do to reduce their impact on the planet. We'd love for you or your business to highlight the action that you're taking to reduce plastic packaging and products, as well as what specific things we can all cut out to reduce waste. Tell us how you're putting down the plastic at #10Things by:

  • Snap a shot of your keep-cup and show us how us you’re putting down the plastic at #10Things!
  • Video your low-plastic packaging grocery haul and share with us on #10Things
  • Shout-out your favorite local low-plastic grocers, cafes, diners and businesses on #10Things and #ClimateWeekNYC!
plastic not fantastic

#6. Lighting

We will be looking at the simple steps that can be taken to reduce the carbon footprint of lighting your home or office. We're shining a light on the benefits of LEDs, as well as exploring the impact that changing how we light our homes, offices and streets can have on the planet.

  • Video your office going dark after the lights are switched off and share with us at #10Things!
  • Shine a light on some of the chicest ways to style an LED – what are some of the coolest eco-friendly lighting designs you’ve ever seen? Share on #10Things
  • Did you know lighting accounts to roughly 25% of our electricity bills? How can we maximize the impact of the lighting we already have and make it more efficient? Share your tips and tricks at #10Things

#7. Health

Today focuses on the how being active can help make a healthy planet too. Whether it be walking, cycling or jogging instead of less sustainable forms of transport, this is an opportunity to raise awareness of the health benefits of climate action. We will also be reaching out to organizations that have a focus on the health implications of climate change on the population.

  • Send us a picture of your bike, skateboard, longboard, flippers – or any other way you get your workout whilst getting from A to Z!
  • What are your favorite outdoor workouts to do with friends? Can you recommend tai chi in the park? A jogging club? Outdoor yoga? Give your group a shoutout at #10Things!
  • Got sustainable gym-wear? Show us on the #10Things tag, or give the brand a big shoutout!
  • What are your favorite healthy recipes which use seasonal, local ingredients? Tell us on #10Things

#8. Electric Vehicles

To coincide with the New American Roadtrip's arrival in St Louis, Friday will mark our focus on electric vehicles. While there will be a focus on the role that electric vehicles play in tackling climate change, we will also be looking how those who don’t drive can use electric vehicles, such as electric taxis and the electric public transportation. 

  • One of the biggest switches we can all make to our daily lives is using electric transportation – have you got an electric car? Do you use an electric scooter? Show us at #10Things
  • Take an electric bus or taxi? Video your daily commute and tell us why you use electric transportation on #10Things
  • How are you making your business go greener? Are you converting your fleets to electric? Tell us at #10Things
  • Will you be at the #newamericanroadtrip event in St. Louis? Take a video and show us! Tag it #10Things!

Watch this space - the last 2 Things will be revealed each day this weekend! 


The Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern MP, Prime Minister of New Zealand; President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Costa Rica; President Hilda Heine, Marshall Islands; and President Martín Vizcarra, Peru have all been announced to speak in the first session of the Opening Ceremony on September 24. They will be joining President Jovenel Moïse, Republic of Haiti, who was announced earlier this year.

Each of these leaders is passionate about climate action. 

Prime Minister Ardern has pledged for New Zealand to reach zero net emissions by 2050; President Alvarado Quesada has committed Costa Rica to be the first fully decarbonized country in the world; President Heine, as well as pledging the Marshall Islands to reach zero net emissions by 2050 is also the convenor of the High Ambition Coalition and President of the Climate Vulnerable Forum; President Moïse is a regional leader in electrification and President Martín Vizcarra this year signed South America’s first specific framework law on climate change.

The Climate Group’s CEO, Helen Clarkson, said: “To have so many government leaders who are also world leaders on tackling greenhouse gases together, at one time and in one place is incredible. They demonstrate what it means to ‘step-up’ on climate action and are an inspiration to the rest of the world. This is what Climate Week NYC is all about and a fitting moment for its 10th year.”

This unique gathering of leaders comes at a critical time for global climate action.

These national leaders will be joining Governor Jerry Brown, State of California and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, both of whom were present at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco just ten days prior, for the first session of the Opening Ceremony.

Climate Week NYC is the time and place where the world gathers to showcase climate action and discusses how to do more. It is run by The Climate Group, in coordination with the UN and the City of New York. It involves over 100 events taking place across the five boroughs of NYC.

It will also feature addresses from senior business figures including Jake YamashitaCEO of RicohJens BirgerssonCEO of ROCKWOOL Group and Francesco StaraceCEO of ENEL. Additionally, Helen Clarkson and Joan MacNaughton, CEO and Chair of The Climate Group respectively. Joining them will be Stephen Badger, Chairman of Mars Inc., Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, Nathaniel Bullard, Global Head of Executive Insights at Bloomberg NEF, Fleming Voetmann, VP of the International Copper Association and Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, will all be taking the stage during the Opening Ceremony.

There will be over 80 speakers, ranging from national leaders to CEOs, policy experts to sustainability campaigners at events organized by The Climate Group alone, during Climate Week NYC.

The Opening Ceremony will be live-streamed on The Climate Group’s Facebook page. 

For more information on the Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony, please get in touch with Adam Lake at


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