With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
Climate Week 2015 events are heating up all across New York City, and TriplePundit is on the ground reporting. While there's still plenty of action scheduled for the weekend and early next week, we've found plenty to see and explore already.
Can't be in New York in person? Live vicariously through us with these six things we learned so far during Climate Week NYC.
The negotiations are shaping up to be the biggest, potentially most historic gathering of global climate and environment leaders in human history. Still not quite sure what COP21 is and why it's so important? Check out our cheat-sheet here.
General Mills kicked things off before Climate Week even started: pledging in August to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent across its full value chain – from farm to fork to landfill – over the next 10 years. On the second day of Climate Week, five global companies also rose up to answer the call, making the bold commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050.
"We’re hopefully giving governments the message: ‘Business is operating ahead of current political consensus. So, please create certainty to let more businesses effectively create the low-carbon economy,’" Keith Tuffley, CEO of the B Team, a nonprofit sustainable business collective, told TriplePundit. "The more certainty they can provide on the long-term goal, the more business and investors are going to do it for themselves."
These “sub-national” governments, which span the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, say their collective climate targets could prevent the emission of as much as 7.9 gigatons of CO2 by 2030 — an amount of carbon larger than the amount emitted in 2012 by the United States, the world’s second highest greenhouse gas emitter.
“This year is such a big year on climate change,” Emily Farnsworth of the Climate Group, who oversees the RE100 program, told TriplePundit in an exclusive interview. “There are a lot of businesses that want to make bold commitments to demonstrate — ahead of the negotiations in Paris — that businesses are actually very serious about tackling climate change. And a 100 percent renewable electricity goal is one thing that can really back that up.”
With last year’s count at $52 billion, and a modest number of companies and private investors signed up, the Divest-Invest campaign aimed to triple the number of commitments from universities, companies and individuals who previously relied on oil and gas investments as part of their portfolios. The organization did far better than that assertive goal.
“To date, 430 institutions and 2,040 individuals across 43 countries and representing $2.6 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies,” says the organization. The surge translates to a 50-fold increase in divestment assets since last year’s Climate Week.
This year, the Climate Week NYC signature event takes place at the tail-end of the week: on Sept. 28, to coincide with the U.N. General Assembly. The annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative also goes down next week, so be sure to keep your eye on this page so you won't miss a beat.
Image courtesy of Climate Week NYC
Mary Mazzoni, Senior Editor, has written for TriplePundit since 2013. She is also Managing Editor of CR Magazine and the Editor of 3p’s Sponsored Series. Mazzoni’s recent work can be found in Conscious Company, AlterNet and VICE’s Motherboard. She is based in Philadelphia, PA.