New York Climate Week (NYCW) is no ordinary conference. It's a whirlwind of events, discussions, and networking opportunities where policymakers, activists, investors, founders, and corporate sustainability teams come together to confront the urgent challenge of climate change. Reflecting on NYCW 2023, it becomes evident that the conversation has shifted from mere pledges and commitments to tangible action. This year, the spotlight was on implementing promising climate tech solutions to combat the imminent climate crisis. This blog post will delve into the highlights of NYCW 2023, covering key takeaways and notable events, including our active involvement.
The Diversity of NYCW
NY Climate Week unites a diverse range of individuals, from passionate activists to affluent billionaires and everyone in between. The events vary greatly, with some calling for a formal suit and tie while others resemble captivating science fairs showcasing the latest climate technology solutions. This remarkable diversity eloquently mirrors the intricate and urgent nature of the climate crisis.
Coinciding with the UN General Assembly, NYCW acquires a global significance, amplifying the discussions and actions taken throughout the week. With nearly 600 officially affiliated side events and an estimated double the number of unofficial gatherings, NYCW is a bustling hub of climate activism and innovation. Notably, this year's rendition welcomed a heightened presence of both investors and founders, underscoring the increasingly compelling business case for climate tech. With a tenfold surge in participants and thoughtfully curated mini-conferences, NYCW 2023 bore the resemblance of a condensed COP or Davos, bringing many opportunities. We gathered together 10 key takeaways from NY Climate Week 2023, which rang the loudest.
1. Action Over Talk
Commitments are essential, but the focus must shift towards implementation. Transition action plans are now as crucial as annual reports, underlining the urgency to take concrete steps in the fight against climate change.
2. Decarbonisation Race
Corporations and governments are racing to decarbonise. Innovative solutions like green methanol-powered container ships are gaining popularity.
3. The Climate Capital Stack
Besides venture capital, discussions revolve around the layers of capital required to scale capital-intensive climate solutions. Government funding and climate-conscious investors played pivotal roles in this ecosystem.
4. Challenges in Emerging Markets and Technologies
Emerging markets and technologies face similar financing challenges, including geopolitical risks and high capital costs. Bridging this funding gap is essential for global climate action.
5. The Role of AI in Climate Solutions
Artificial intelligence is increasingly explored in effectively addressing climate challenges while questions considering it's practical implementation.
6. The Impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IRA)
The IRA had a significant presence at NYCW. The focus was on public-private partnerships and leadership from state and local governments.
7. Inclusivity and Collaboration in Climate Action
It is widely accepted now that there is a need to join forces with all stakeholders to drive the climate transition. Discussions also focused on workforce training, accessibility to federal funding, climate justice, and collaboration.
8. Fostering Creative Solutions and Collaboration
Commitments alone are insufficient; innovative financing structures, policies, and corporate strategies are vital to expedite climate action. Collaboration among diverse stakeholders is essential.
9. Going Beyond Carbon
While emissions reductions were a core focus, discussions also explored land use, conservation, and biodiversity as crucial components of climate action. Biodiversity and social co-benefits are expected to bring quality to carbon markets.
10. Navigating the Climate Event Landscape
With a myriad of events and activities at play, it becomes apparent that maintaining a sharp focus and clear agenda is of utmost importance. Amidst the bustling conversations and endeavours, having a well-defined strategy is crucial to make meaningful contributions to the climate action agenda.
1MT Nation Participation
During NYCW 2023, we actively engaged in numerous events and established connections with key partners in the climate sector. Notable highlights included our presentation on "Invest in Africa" and our participation in the Carbon Newbie Summit, where we leveraged our expertise in nature-based removal projects in Africa during the panel discussion titled "Navigating Carbon Credits: Quality Criteria, Removals, and Beyond." We also had productive interactions with esteemed organizations such as Hedera, Hub Culture, Bloomberg, Top Tier Impact, Blackrock, Mastercard, Rockefeller Foundation, Nasdaq, OpenESG, Woman in Sustainability, and many others. These engagements underscored the significance of collaboration and a shared commitment to addressing the urgent challenge of climate change.
Urgent Call to Action - We Need To Act Now
NY Climate Week 2023 was a whirlwind of action, discussions, and networking, signalling a shift from pledges to concrete climate solutions. The urgency of the climate crisis calls for collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity across diverse stakeholders. As we reflect on NYCW, it's evident that the climate community is committed to turning commitments into meaningful action, and the journey towards a sustainable future continues.
By Anete Garoza
Co-Founder and Chief Climate Officer at 1MTN