The Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit & Race to Zero & Resiliance Forum 2022
Photo Credits: Society & Diplomatic Review: Panelists Olugbenga Olubanjo, Founder and CEO, Reeddi, The Earthshot Prize Finalist, 2021; Dr. Sebastian Groh, Founder and CEO, SOLshare, The Earthshot Prize Finalist, 2021; Gator Halpern, Co-Founder and President, Coral Vita, The Earthshot Prize Winner, 2021; Earthshot finalists/winners
Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted the first-ever United Nations Climate Action: Race to Zero and Resilience Forum convened heads of state and leaders from cities, regions, businesses, and investors to mark progress and turbocharge climate action ahead of COP27. The forum, held on the afternoon of September 21 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, brought together heads of state, government and civil society leaders, philanthropists, business executives, and grassroots climate activists to bridge the gap between government leaders and non-state actors to ensure the fulfillment of climate pledges and commitments, and drive the urgent, radical collaboration needed to deliver on climate goals around the world.
Select speakers and special guests included: Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone; Josh Amponsem, Climate Lead, Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Sekou Andrews, Poetic Voice; Xiye Bastida, youth climate activist and Co-Founder, Re-Earth Initiative; Sarah El Battouty, Global Ambassador for Race to Zero and Race to Resilience; Paul Bodnar, Global Head of Sustainable Investing, BlackRock; Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance; Sagarika Chatterjee, Director of Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Nili Gilbert, Chair, Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero; Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute, and UN Messenger of Peace; Linda-Eling Lee, Head of ESG and Climate Research, MSCI; Mindy Lubber, CEO and President, Ceres; Catherine McKenna, Chair, UN Secretary-General’s High-level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitments; Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, High-Level Climate Action Champion, COP27; Lina Osman, Head of Sustainable Finance, West, Standard Chartered; Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, IIGCC; Mary Schapiro, Vice Chair for Public Policy and Special Advisor to the Founder and Chairman, Bloomberg LP; Alok Sharma, President of COP26; H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt, and President-Designate of COP27; Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Günther Thallinger, Board Member, Allianz SE; Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal; Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities; and Shemara Wikramanayake, CEO, Macquarie Group.
The forum addressed key hurdles to climate progress, including access to data, the mobilization of capital, fostering collaboration between federal and non-state actors, ensuring transparent monitoring of climate commitments, and establishing accountability for a just, resilient net-zero future. Speakers and guests also examined the progress being made through the races and explore what more is needed from all stakeholders to create a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient economy in the lead up to COP27 in Egypt and beyond. This discussion included the participation of Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt & President Designate of COP27 and other actors of the COP27.
The Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns were launched ahead of COP26 to rally leadership and support from actors outside of national governments to build momentum towards a healthy, resilient, zero carbon economy and to spark a step-change in global ambition for climate resilience. This year, both global campaigns have sought to harness the momentum built in the run-up to COP26 and translate their members’ robust commitments into rapid implementation. To date, over 11,000 non-state actors from across 116 countries have joined Race to Zero, committing to meeting the Paris goals and halving global emissions by 2030. These include 8,000 businesses, 1,000 cities, and 500 financial institutions – including well over two-thirds of FTSE 100 companies. In parallel, Race to Resilience now comprises 28 Partners, representing over 2,000 organizations, delivering action in over 100 countries.
Gator Halpern, one of the founders of Coral Vita, which was the winner of The Earthshot Prize joined a panel with other finalists. It is prediected that ocean warming and acidification are set to destry over 90% of reefs by 2050. Coral Vita was the winning solution for the 2021 Earthshot Prize Revive Our Oceans category. Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern found a way for coral to grow on land to be replanted into oceans by using an innovative commercial model to fund the ecosystem-scale restoration and incorporating cutting edge methods for the coral to grow up to 50 times faster than in nature.
Olugbenga Olubanjo from Nigeria is the founder of REEDDI. He is one of the finalist in the 2021 Earthshot Prize. Olubanjo discussed how his company ensures that the poorest communities get access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy by also protecting the enviornment and galvinising local communities and businesses too. It is estimated that almost a billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity. Reeddi, with operations based in Nigeria uses its' energy capsule, an optimized lithium battery, readily available in vending machines, to power energy-poor communities.
Dr. Sebastian Groh, founder of SOLshare found the work's first peer-to-peer energy exchange network based in Bangladesh. Homes with a rooftop solar panel sell any excess electricity into a microgrid network where others can buy it. SOLshare's 117 solar grids have already helped more than 10,000 people in remote communities whilst also reducing emissions by 30%.