United Nations Climate Action Concludes with New Era of Climate Regulation & Adaptation Breakthrough
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UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and Race to Zero and Race to Resilience Global Ambassador Michael R. Bloomberg and the United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions Nigel Topping and Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin brought together over 25 leaders from around the world for the United Nations Climate Action: Race to Zero and Resilience Forum. Taking place during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the event brought together members of the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions – including businesses, cities, regions, financial institutions, and civil and cultural leaders – to chart progress and showcase subnational actors raising the bar on net zero delivery and taking voluntary action to build climate adaptation and resilience ahead of COP27. The Forum came on the heels of the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Earthshot Prize, where Mike Bloomberg spoke about the importance of innovative and bold climate action.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed attendees by video, saying, “ultimately, the only way to protect our societies is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. That means a forty-five percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions this decade and net zero emissions by 2050.”
“Defeating climate change is one of the most daunting challenges in the history of the world,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “But when I talk with leaders from cities, regions, and businesses who are all finding innovative new ways to reduce emissions, I can’t help but feel optimistic. And if we can empower them to do more, be faster, and collaborate with national governments and the international community – the better chance we’ll have of winning the race to zero.”
In his opening remarks, Bloomberg kicked off a Bloomberg-wide countdown to COP27, announcing a 45-day philanthropic and corporate effort to catalyze climate action around the world ahead of the global climate convening in Sharm El-Sheikh in November. Bloomberg also announced the expansion of his efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition into another 15 developing countries. The announcement brings Bloomberg’s energy transition efforts into over 25 countries where there is abundant potential for solar, wind, and other renewable energy capacity and a growing demand for sustainable power production.
UN Climate Change High Level Champions Nigel Topping and Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin spoke about their release of three landmark products for businesses and investors and other non-state actors to drive breakthroughs in adaptation and resilience and push for a new era of climate regulation.
UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin said, “We are proud to launch the Adaptation and Resilience Breakthroughs today because we know that reducing climate action to mitigation or decarbonization only is a formula for failure. Adaptation, loss and damage and finance are critical urgent interventions and we need to see some ambition, scale-up and fulfillment of pledges on these fronts.”
UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping said, “Net zero targets now cover over 90% of the global economy yet global progress to limit temperature rise to 1.5C remains inadequate. We cannot rely on voluntary action alone to get us there. It’s time for a pivot where, together with the Marrakech Partnership, we define cooperation between governments, regulators and the private sector to correct market failures and provide enabling regulatory environments to dramatically accelerate transformation to a 1.5C-aligned economy.”
Photo Credits: Society & Diplomatic Review
The products released aim to accelerate ambition and drive impact and are: Adaptation and Resilience Breakthroughs, the Pivot Point Report, and the Progress Report for the Race to Resilience and Race to Zero campaigns.
Adaptation and Resilience Breakthroughs
The Adaptation and Resilience Breakthroughs present clear and measurable actionable targets and solutions needed to achieve the Race to Resilience goal of making 4 billion vulnerable people more resilient by 2030. The Breakthroughs set out for the first time an initial set of eleven measurable and high impact outcomes for international initiatives to coalesce behind, including:
Transitioning to climate resilient agriculture in order to increase yields by 17% and reduce farm level GHG emissions by 21%, without expanding agricultural frontiers.
Halving the share of food production lost, and halving per capita food waste (relative to 2019).
Smart and early warning systems to reach 3 billion people.
Mitigating 10GT CO2e per year through nature-based solutions that protect 45MHa (lands and inland waters), sustainably manage 2BnHa and restore 350Mha of land securing legal indigenous and local communities rights.
Pivot Point Report
The Pivot Point Report is a robust compilation from 40+ organizations of standards, legislation, and regulation required across committed businesses to achieve the Paris Agreement’s mitigation goal. The report provides:
An overview of the current landscape across the voluntary climate leadership initiatives, and emerging standards and regulations. From international standards such as ISO to international trade to competition law, the report maps standards, policies and regulations needed to resolve confusion, create level playing fields, align incentives and reward investment, tackle greenwash, and correct market failures.
A call to action for all non-state actors to join the Race to Zero; ratchet their policy engagement; and help inform, shape and drive the standards, policies and regulations needed to align with 1.5C.
Progress Reports for the Race to Resilience and Race to Zero
The Progress Report marks the first time the UN-backed global climate campaigns, Race to Zero and Race to Resilience, have published a stocktake of progress. The Report shows the progress of the more than 13,000 businesses, financial institutions, cities, states, and regions.. The key findings include:
The regional diversity of the campaign’s members, from regions in Korea, corporations in Brazil, SMEs in Spain, Universities in Pakistan, to wineries in Chile, that are taking action to reduce emissions this decade. Since July this year, the campaign has seen a 30% increase of members in the Asia-Pacific, the fastest growing region in that period.
Analysis of large corporations reporting progress to CDP, which shows that 50% published a transition plan nine months in advance of the requirement to do so in June 2023. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of cities and almost nine in ten subnational governments have a climate action plan and have shared it publicly.
Additional speakers highlighted the importance of adaptation, delivery, and transparency in the race to net zero.
Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said, “We need all hands on deck. And we need to make progress rapidly. Because the changes we need to see must sweep through the private sector in a matter of years and not decades. Earlier, I mentioned climate change needs to be at the center of the agenda of every nation. It needs to be at the center of every boardroom as well. With your support, we can ensure it is.”
Catherine McKenna, Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitment, said, “The Secretary-General’s been very clear. He’s concerned about action. We need more action. We see the images around the world, including just now from Puerto Rico, and so it’s really about how we match ambition with action.”
Photo Credits: Society & Diplomatic Review
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About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
About the Climate Champions
The UN High Level Champions for Climate Action from the UK and Egypt - Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin and Nigel Topping - build on the legacy of their predecessors to engage with non-state actors and activate the 'ambition loop' with national governments. Their work is fundamentally designed to encourage a collaborative shift across all of society towards a decarbonised economy so that we can all thrive in a healthy, resilient, zero carbon world.
Mahmoud and Nigel have convened a team to help them deliver on this work through flagship campaigns, targeted stakeholder engagement and leadership in systems transformation.
About Race to Zero
Race to Zero is the UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial, educational, and healthcare institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions within this decade and deliver a healthier, fairer, zero carbon world in time. All members are racing towards the same overarching goal: reducing emissions across all scopes swiftly and fairly in line with science, with transparent action plans, robust near-term and long-term targets, and annual reporting against their progress. Led by the High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action – Nigel Topping and Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin – Race to Zero mobilizes actors across the global economy in radical collaboration to decarbonise, giving national governments the confidence to go further, faster.
About Race to Resilience
Race to Resilience - the sibling campaign to Race to Zero - is a non-state actor led global campaign to catalyze a step-change in global ambition for accelerating the investment and implementation of adaptation solutions. It aims to put people and nature first in pursuit of a resilient world where we do not just survive climate shocks and stresses, but thrive in spite of them. Led by the high level Climate Action Champions - Nigel Topping and Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin - the campaign aims to increase the resilience for four billion people living in vulnerable communities, in collaboration with partner organizations from around the world, while developing tools to support them in their work. Through a partnership of initiatives, the campaign focuses on addressing the climate risks faced by urban, rural and coastal vulnerable communities and elevates the actions that businesses, financial institutions, civil society organizations and local communities are already pursuing to unlock systems transformation towards resilience.