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Opening Ceremony - Helen Clarkson

Climate Week NYC: Uniting the world on climate action

26th September 2022 7 min read

This year’s Climate Week NYC, run by Climate Group, marks the first time we’ve been back in person since 2019 – and the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to Getting It Done was palpable. World leaders gathered in the Big Apple to drive forward efforts on climate action.

The theme for this year’s week was Getting It Done, with events focusing on how collectively businesses, governments and the climate sector can call for the meaningful contributions still needed to halve carbon emissions by 2030 and to be on a path to net-zero by 2050.

Below we’ve listed some of the highlights.

Major announcements

From new reports to groundbreaking initiatives, this year’s Climate Week NYC was jam packed with high profile announcements to help inspire even more commitment on climate action.

  • During the Climate Week NYC Leaders' Reception, Matt Damon and Gary White, Co-Founders of Water.Org, and Kara Hurst, Vice President Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, extended their partnership to provide access to safe water for 100 million people.
  • National Grid kicked off Climate Week NYC 2022 by introducing a model to develop and deliver a large-scale, clean, and fossil-free energy hub across the entirety of Long Island.
  • Climate Group launched a new zero emission road transport leadership commitment, EV100+, aimed at phasing out the heaviest and most polluting vehicles on the road. 
  • Speaking at the UN General Assembly at Climate Week NYC, COP26 President, Alok Sharma, underscored the need for further, faster transitions in key sectors including energy and transport.  
  • Nigel Topping and Mahmoud Mohieldin released a report to reflect on the progress made across their two major climate campaigns - Race to Zero and Race to Resilience - ahead of COP27. 
  • GSK and Microsoft, in collaboration with the Centre for Health and Disease Studies, launched an innovative new project to help accelerate the elimination of mosquito-borne disease in Nepal.
  • Adam McKay, who directed last year’s climate-change satire Don’t Look Up, donated $4 million to the Climate Emergency Fund and joined its board of directors.
  • Oliver Wyman and Climate Group published a new report, Getting Going, which provides a toolkit for driving corporate climate action, identifying a framework of four core enablers to drive real-world progress. Watch this video for a report explainer with Simon Glynn, Co-lead, Climate and Sustainability, Oliver Wyman.

For more about our announcements, visit our media portal.

Opening Ceremony

The importance of keeping climate at the top of the geo-political agenda was the running theme of the Opening Ceremony (September 19) and a host of influential speakers from government, business and the non-profit world shared their thoughts.

"A commitment is the first step you must take, not the last.” - Climate Group CEO, Helen Clarkson

Climate Week NYC began with the Opening Ceremony in the auditorium of the Times Center with business and world leaders in attendance. Our CEO Helen Clarkson set the pace and tone of the week, urging the need to move the conversation away from doom and gloom and onto the impactful efforts to address climate change. What works is showing the positive impact that results from the work that's been done. She added that: “We must say no to fossil fuels, and yes to renewables and energy efficiency at scale.”

  • Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization spoke with CNN Anchor Bill Weir, host of the Opening Ceremony. He warned that: “We need to pull trillions of tonnes of carbon out of the air. The private sector is playing a key role in developing climate solutions”.
  • In a discussion on leading business in a changing world, Laura Corb, Senior Partner at McKinsey, North America said: "The path to net zero will not be a straight line, but disruption can accelerate progress."
  • President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband spoke to the need for climate justice and equity in a conversation with Bill Weir. He said: “We have more resources in the world than any other time in human history, so we have less excuses for not using those in the most equitable and sustainable way."

Watch the Opening Ceremony

The Hub Live

Climate Group hosted The Hub Live (September 20-21), a series of 18 forums, discussions and workshops over the subsequent two days, bringing together the expertise and influence of public and private sectors. The events shone a spotlight on the clean energy revolution, the future of buildings, heavy industries, electric vehicles, finance, and food and communications. They provided a platform for people to participate in a variety of critical topics and to discuss different solutions to sector-specific challenges. We heard from a variety of inspirational speakers and participants including:  

  • Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor of California
  • Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer, Google
  • Catherine McKenna, High-level Expert Group on the Net-zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities
  • Abbie Dillen, President, Earthjustice
  • Rt Hon Alok Sharma, President for COP26 and a Minister for the Cabinet Office, Government of the UK
  • Sophia Kianni, Founder and Executive Director, Climate Cardinals
  • Jim Andrew, Executive Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo

Catch up on sessions from The Hub Live

Under2 General Assembly 

The Under2 Coalition’s General Assembly was also held during Climate Week NYC. It had an overarching focus on Getting It Done and looked at the different approaches members – state and regional governments – are taking to emissions reduction. This includes efforts to reach net zero by 2050 at the latest, the deployment of alternative energy sources, accessing climate finance and the roll out of nature-based solutions. The session was broken down into four panels, to give members the chance to hear views and updates from speakers in states and regions across the world.

Read more about the Under2 General Assembly

Local communities take part in the action

Climate Week NYC is all about communities and businesses getting involved in Getting It Done. This year was no exception with over 400 inspirational events taking place in New York City and around the world. With climate action showcased in a variety of different ways from policy debates, workshops and plays to concerts and exhibitions, there was something for everyone. Highlights include:

  • Marketplace of the Future, an expo of organizations working in the climate space, showcasing everything from compost, carbon capture, and renewable energy, to demonstrate what a sustainable future could look like  
  • Iconic buildings lit up green to show support for the week including the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and One Bryant Park
  • Climate Group staff kicked off the fourteenth Climate Week NYC by visiting the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and ringing the opening bell to mark the occasion
  • Doconomy launched ‘The 2030 Forecast’ in Times Square in Manhattan, showing the public the national weekly greenhouse gas emissions data in real time
  • The Nasdaq Times Square billboard featured imagery from Climate Week NYC and local environmental justice groups, broadcast to thousands of people

“We are so close to a tipping point we can see our reflections in the rising water.” - UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell

Nasdaq 2
Climate Group rings the Nasdaq opening bell

Catch up on the week with these media highlights

  • Follow Canary Media’s analysis and coverage of all the action at Climate Week NYC via the dedicated news hub on their website.
  • Take a look through Climate Week NYC’s official digital magazine, filled with sustainable tips, exciting events, and engaging thought-pieces.
  • Listen to our CEO Helen Clarkson on the TEDx London podcast Climate Curious on ‘How we go beyond greenwashing’. In the conversation, she shares how big business can be at the forefront of climate action if they up their pace, scale and urgency.
  • ABC News Chief Meteorologist, Ginger Zee, spoke live from the Javits Center's one-acre rooftop farm, about some of the exciting initiatives taking place in New York City this week.
  • Broadcasting live from New York City, AccuWeather covered key moments from across the event, including an exclusive interview with Climate Group CEO, Helen Clarkson.
  • NY1 covered the week and interviewed Adam Lake, Head of Climate Week NYC to discuss what to expect at the week long event.

Thank you for joining us for Climate Week NYC 2022 to learn, act and get it done.

Thank you also to all of our sponsors for making Climate Week NYC 2022 possible:

The Estée Lauder Companies, Headline Partner; McKinsey Sustainability, Opening Ceremony Partner; Hitachi, Ltd., The Hub Live Partner; PwC, Executive Series Sponsor; The Climate Pledge, Climate Leaders’ Reception Sponsor; ENGIE Impact, Platinum Sponsor; L'Oréal, Platinum Sponsor; AB InBev, Platinum Sponsor; Oliver Wyman, Research Partner; Nexans, RE100 Leadership Awards Sponsor; Johnson & Johnson, Gold Sponsor; KPMG LLP, Gold Sponsor; Unilever, Gold Sponsor; Google, Gold Sponsor; Siemens, Gold Sponsor; Capgemini, Gold Sponsor; National Grid, Gold Sponsor; Lloyd's Register Foundation, Gold Sponsor; Hydro-Québec, Gold Sponsor; Nike, Silver Sponsor; PepsiCo, Silver Sponsor; Ørsted, Silver Sponsor; Oatly, Silver Sponsor; Bain & Company, Silver Sponsor; General Motors, Silver Sponsor; 3M, Silver Sponsor; Transdev, Silver Sponsor; IndigoAg, Silver Sponsor; ROCKWOOL Group, Silver Sponsor; GSK, Silver Sponsor. See all Sponsors & Partners of Climate Week NYC 2022 here.