As it happened: New York sparkles with vows of climate action

A bumper week of green announcements comes to a head as Climate Week NYC enters its last day

United States President Barack Obama addresses the conclusion of the 10th plenary meeting of the High-level plenary meeting of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda

US President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations plenary hall at the summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (credit: UN photo)

By Alex Pashley in London

– Watch Climate Week’s Signature Event live
– Climate pledges rain in as UN general assembly continues
– World leaders rally around zero-carbon goal
– Brazil pledges emissions cuts as UK doubles climate finance

– Comment: UN General Assembly offers ‘last chance’ for climate leadership 

1638 BST: That’s all for our coverage now. 

The discussions continue on on Climate Week’s live channel.

So to recap:

  1. Fossil fuel subsidies in the sights. Michael Bloomberg to OECD’s Angel Gurria slam the paradox of making emissions cuts, while continuing to subsidise bumps for coal, oil and gas.
  2. India’s environment minister reminds sustainable development demands an end to conspicuous consumption.
  3. A carbon price is vital. Pricing pollution “changes [the] rationality of how we do business”, and will incentivise clean investments, says World Bank’s Jim Kim.
  4. Don’t miss the forests for the trees in misreading Paris agreement, Todd Stern says. Deal won’t be wholly legally binding, nor will pledges stop warming to 2C, but we’re on track to a new climate regime.

1621 BST: Laurence Tubiana, France’s ambassador for climate change

The outcome of the Paris summit will be “broader” than what emerges from the UN climate change secretariat, Tubiana tells Climate Week.

It will reflect the unprecedented mobilisation of cities, states, regions, and businesses, which the French COP presidency now calls the ‘Paris Alliance for Climate Action’. Nor is there time to wait until 2020 when the agreement comes into force. Much is already afoot.

Now this needs to be reflected in inputs in the negotiating text. The final round of interim talks resume in just under a month.

Though there is a “sea change” of difference between this year and Climate  Week 2014. Building support for a zero-carbon long term goal yesterday is one example. So is Brazil’s emissions pledge committing to decarbonisation. Nothing would have expected this two or three years ago, Tubiana says.



1607 BST: Top business leaders talk innovation in a low carbon world

High-level speeches give way to a panel boasting BT’s Niall Dunne, IKEA’s Steve Howard, Philips’ Bill Bien, and Siemens’ Jan Rabe.

France’s top climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana is up next, with heads of Canadian province Quebec and south of the border, Vermont, leading the next panel.

1550 BST: US top climate envoy, Todd Stern: the stars are aligned Envoy of US secretary of state John Kerry says “the stars are more aligned for a historical universal agreement than they have ever been”.

Critics that point out climate pledges not currently sufficient to cap warming to 2C, or the legal nature of a likely Paris deal won’t be wholly binding are “missing the forest for the trees”, Stern tells Climate Week.

Paris has great chance to get a durable climate regime. Though regular reviews to deepen emission cuts, clear monitoring, reporting and verification of countries’ emissions, and ‘forward-looking differentiation’ underpins that. “Let’s get started… let’s keep our eyes on the prize.”

1542 BST: Gurria: costs of inaction far higher than any of us could responsibly justify The OECD can help countries navigate this low-carbon transition to ensure we remain on course.

1540 BST: Gurria: hit carbon hard with a price on pollution “We know its ugly face. So let’s put a price on it.” For interests groups hanging on to dear life, to their privileges they’ve accumulated over time, fight them we must. Paris summit can’t be like another round of trade negotiations. We don’t have time to wait for another ten years.

1537 BST: OECD chief Angel Gurria: Time for a climate reality check Fossil fuel subsidies lowest value is $200 billion a year. IMF much higher.

“We are spending double what we need to find to fight emissions,” says Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development secretary-general in impassioned plea.

Coal easiest to replace economically and technically. Coal isn’t cheap. “Let’s not mortgage away tomorrow”. Untitled-4

1532 BST: Jim Kim finishes: Please, take us to a world where we’re not apologising to our grandkids

1529 BST: Jim Kim: 3 key points to New York’s business community Ramp up renewables: Solar costs plummeting in Africa, but need to work out how we ensure baseload power. Ditch fossil fuel subsidies. Put a price on carbon “changes rationality of how we do business”. Untitled-3

1526 BST: World Bank chief Jim Kim If we don’t take aggressive action in trying to lift the billion out of extreme poverty, we’re in for more fragility, more conflict, more problems in the world.

On the other hand, there are enormously promising lucrative possibilities for private sector in developing countries. “Perceived risk just perceived.”

“We have no hope for extreme poverty… unless we tackle climate change.”

1523 BST: Javadekar: Talks down carbon markets, talks up tech transfer

You can’t pollute, then pay bills ‘free of sins’. We need green credits.

India needs critical technologies to make energy cleaner to mitigate climate change. Shouldn’t be ‘prohibitive in cost’.

Why should we think of profits when this is going to be a disaster. Green Climate Fund could finance it?

1520 BST: Javadekar: ‘Paris a festival of celebration because world is walking new forward’

All countries are taking action. But everybody is equal.

“We need climate justice because poverty is the biggest pollutant”

1513 BST: Javadekar: India to release climate pledge on October 2 (Gandhi’s birthday)

“Father of nation” said we must return planet back to future generations as we received it. Untitled-2

1513 BST: Javadekar: throw away throwaway culture

Current consumption levels require 6 planets. We need to scale back our conspicuous consumption.

Catch word is “sustainable development – India is showing the way”.

1507 BST: Prakash Javadekar, India environment minister

“I’m an eternal optimist. I’m confident Paris will be a success. We will enter into a new regime which will take us into real climate justice also.”

1507 BST: Bloomberg: Cities can galvanise national action

“One thing to give campaign speech. Another to see results. In cities you see results, got to move it up the chain” to national level.

Compact of Mayors will join up with the Compact of States and Regions to boost reporting of sub-national emissions.

1503 BST: Bloomberg: Compact of Mayors goes from strength to strength

Enhanced greenhouse gas inventories for cities. 175 cities joined, home to 250 million people covered.

“Not just something we invent and never turn into action, this is actually something you have to perform. There’s a real economic impact if you’re at the top of the list than at the bottom of the list.”

1500 BST: Bloomberg: backing clean energy attracts employees

“Clean energy not altruistic, just good business.”

“Young people want to work for businesses that are environmental leaders.”

That gives us edge over our competitors, founder of news company Bloomberg LP says.

1457 BST: Michael Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities-Climate Change takes the stage

Funnel fossil fuel subsidies into clean energy. “You get what you pay for. And we are paying for a hotter climate, hotter planet, and possibly a disaster for humanity.”

Fossil fuel subsidies amounted to $540 bn in 2014, according to the IEA, whereas bumps for renewables were less than a quarter of that at $120 bn. Untitled-1

1450 BST: Christiana Figueres, UN’s top climate chief is in fine fettle as she introduces Michael Bloomberg

“Hey – is this an exciting week or what? Woo! I can barely stay on message. I am so excited with what’s happened.”

1448 BST: John Kufuor, President of Ghana and Ban Ki-moon Special Envoy on Climate Change speaks on behalf of UN chief:

“I count on you to innovate and elaborate. You are part of the first generation that can end extreme poverty in all its forms and the last to avert the worst impacts of climate change. We need all hands on decks at this critical moment in history.”

1442 BST: CEO of the Climate Group Mark Kenber takes stage

“What a week it’s been,” he says. Leadership from business and countries “tremendous”.


1439 BST: And we’re off Climate Week NYC (#CWNYC) live feed begins as more institutions sound out climate announcements

1438 BST: Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group calls for end to fossil fuel subsidies

Green group lends its support to the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communiqué.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, CLG’s director said: “Our members, leading businesses from across the world, are being loud and clear, end perverse fossil fuel subsidies now for the benefit of sustainable and low carbon economic development.

“They recognise fossil fuel subsidy reform as an important climate-change mitigation policy with clear economic, social and environmental co-benefits.

“The international community should increase efforts to phase-out subsidies to fossil fuels through policy transparency, ambitious reform and targeted support for the poorest.”

1434 BST: Six major US banks back strong Paris deal

Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo call for “leadership and cooperation among governments” in tackling climate change. Here’s the statement.

An estimated $90 trillion will be invested over the next 15 years in urban infrastructure and energy, they say. Their institutions are collectively “committing significant resources toward financing climate solutions” and add that “clear, stable and long-term policy frameworks are needed to accelerate and further scale investments.”

“Financial institutions have a critical role to play in financing the transition to a low-carbon future,” said Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres and director of its $13 trillion Investor Network on Climate Risk, which published the statement.

“As U.S. negotiators enter climate talks in Paris, they can say with confidence that the business and financial community in this country is ready for government leadership to address climate change.”

1430 BST: Good morning to all stateside.

There’s been a salivating stream of announcements over the past week in New York.

Sustainable development goals were adopted on Friday, Pope Francis gave a trio of high-profile speeches, and China stumped up a ‘game-changing’ $3.1 billion in climate aid as it sealed another bilateral deal with the US.

Over Climate Week, the full scale of fossil fuel divestment pledges was revealed, blue chip companies pledged to go 100% renewable and cities backed LED street lights.

World leaders now mingle in Manhattan at the UN’s general assembly. They have moved on from a climate focus yesterday to other geopolitical matters – but the topic could still get a mention. Here’s the running order.

Meanwhile, a top line-up gets under way shortly at Climate Week’s headline event. India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar, UN cities envoy Michael Bloomberg and the chiefs of the OECD and World Bank will give 10-minute addresses. Watch it here.

I’ll be bringing you all the announcements, comments and reaction as they happen. Stay tuned.

Read more on: Breaking News | Climate politics | |