climate week nyc

Climate Week NYC: What It Is and Why It Is Important

Climate Week NYC occurs every third week of September, charting a global path toward improved climate action. 

Since 2009, the Climate Group has organized this week-long conference to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly, bringing together world leaders in the heart of New York City.

In particular, Climate Week NYC involves meetings and events calling for immediate, effective climate action. The event emphasizes the role of states, cities, and organizations in combating climate change, highlighting the stakes and the necessary steps. 

Climate Week NYC participants can attend panel discussions, exhibitions, and seminars to exchange ideas about global climate action. Browse further below to learn more about this annual event.

Featured in: September - Awareness Months, Days & Observances

History and Background of Climate Week NYC

new york city
Photo by Jason Krieger on Unsplash

Led by Climate Group's founders Steve Howard and Helen Clarkson, the international non-profit organization started Climate Week NYC in 2009 to promote climate action. Since it coincided with the UN General Assembly, this event turned New York City into a hub for environmental dialogue.

Climate Week NYC invited the world’s most influential leaders, civil society representatives, business icons, and the climate community to discuss climate change. Over time, the event became a significant fixture on the international climate calendar. Currently, it is the biggest global climate event, complete with an opening ceremony and event programs. 

The annual celebration includes in-person events like workshops and forums on sustainable development with international leaders. Moreover, given its scope, it has expanded beyond the wider Climate Week NYC context, with events spread across several major cities. 

In 2014, a climate march in NYC drew 400,000 participants, demonstrating the global concern about addressing climate change. That year’s Climate Week NYC also introduced initiatives like the influential RE100, which urged the world's most influential businesses to shift toward 100% renewable power. 

The event has also led to significant progress, including the historic Paris Agreement in 2015. In 2023, Climate Week NYC adopted the theme, “We Can. We Will,” reflecting determination and hope for positive action. 

Related Read: Check out our interview with Mene Liondos, a photographer urging climate action through art.

The Cause and Its Challenges

greenhouse gases from factory
Photo: iStock

The observable increase in global temperatures and extreme weather events is a concrete reality that scientists have warned everyone about1. The analysis points to carbon emissions from transportation, industry, and energy production as the prime suspects. 

For example, transportation emissions alone account for nearly a third of the total emissions of the United States2. Moreover, despite increasing wind farms and solar panels, fossil fuels contribute 82% of the world’s energy3

Still, shifting to renewable energy is a plausible solution, though there are challenges. Proponents must overcome a lack of political support, the fossil fuel industry, and resource disparity among countries.  

Additionally, people must address the social impact of the climate crisis. Its adverse effects will harm the poor communities who live near polluting industries. They are firsthand witnesses to the consequences of climate change. 

Therefore, the fight is about climate justice, a fundamental principle of Climate Week NYC.

Why Climate Week NYC Matters

  • Humans burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas has caused a severe environmental crisis. As these fuels burn, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that traps heat, leading to global warming. 
  • Our forests absorb CO2, a primary greenhouse gas. However, we are also chopping down forests worldwide. As the forests disappear, their stock of CO2 goes back into the atmosphere, worsening the problem. 
  • Climate change is happening right now. The Earth is warming, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. Those living in coastal communities stare down the prospect of losing their homes to the sea. 
  • Moreover, climate change has disrupted ecosystems and displaced animals worldwide due to changing temperatures and weather patterns. Some species might not adapt fast enough to these changes, which can drive them to total extinction. 
  • However, we can fight back by harnessing renewable energy, enhancing energy efficiency, protecting our forests, and practicing sustainable farming. But we need to act now.

Related Read: What are Greenhouse Gases?, Climate Change Facts & Statistics

Efforts and Initiatives

climate change protest
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Climate Week NYC is one of many efforts against climate change. Another is RE100, created by the Climate Group and CDP. These initiatives have secured commitments from companies like Apple and Google to use only renewable energy in their operations, setting an example for other global businesses. 

In New York City, OneNYC 2050 is a comprehensive plan that addresses climate change, equity, and democracy. The program includes initiatives such as renewable energy and community building. 

In another continent, the European Green Deal plans to make the entire continent climate-neutral by 2050. The EU is implementing policy reforms and investing in green energy to achieve this goal. 

How to Get Involved and Support Climate Week NYC

  • Support the cause by joining Climate Week events and accessing various informative panel discussions, seminars, and workshops online. Understand climate change, its harmful effects, and the possible solutions. Click here for all the events this year. 
  • Volunteer at organizations to learn from climate activists and inspire others. 
  • Donate to environmental organizations to support their work. 
  • Consider adopting sustainable living. For example, reduce your energy consumption and recycle more. Support green businesses and encourage sustainable practices. 

Related Read: How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, What Is Sustainable Living?

Conclusion

Climate Week NYC creates a forum for individuals to collaborate and devise sustainable solutions to achieve environmental justice. It also encourages us to accelerate climate action throughout the year. If you are one with the cause, let Climate Week NYC remind you to take responsibility and be part of the solution.

Climate Week NYC FAQs

1. What is Climate Week NYC? 

Every third week of September, the annual Climate Week NYC brings together global leaders, businesses, and communities to discuss climate change and present possible solutions. 

2. Who organizes Climate Week NYC? 

The Climate Group organizes Climate Week. They are an international non-profit organization working towards a clean and prosperous future. 

3. What are some key topics discussed during Climate Week NYC? 

During Climate Week NYC, discussions and events cover renewable energy, sustainable transportation, climate finance, and nature-based solutions. 

4. How can I participate in Climate Week NYC? 

Join Climate Week NYC by attending events, workshops, and conferences, or support sustainability initiatives in your community. Otherwise, engage with others through social media using the hashtag #ClimateWeekNYC.

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1

IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, In press, doi:10.1017/9781009157896.

2

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2023). U.S.Transportation Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990-2021.

3

British Petroleum Plc. (2022). bp Statistical Review of World Energy 2022.

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