A race against time and against ourselves. Against the dangerous idea that we can’t do this, that there is no way.
Unlike most races, it won’t have one winner. In this race we all win, or we all lose. Winning it requires a radical, unprecedented level of collaboration, from all corners of our world. From our cities, businesses, regions and investors. From people everywhere.
Together we’re racing for a better world. A zero carbon and resilient world. A healthier, safer, fairer world. A world of wellbeing, abundance and joy, where the air is fresher, our jobs are well-paid and dignified, and our future is clear.
To get there we need to run fast, and get faster. We need more and more people to join the race, and right now. This is not about 2050, it’s about today.
Together, we can do this. And we’re already on our way.
We are in a critical decade – and the evidence shows we are not doing enough. We can still choose a better future, in which nature and humankind thrive together. But if we are to have any hope of achieving this healthier, cleaner, more resilient world, everyone must urgently step up. It’s no longer about promising to do something at a later date. It’s about action today.
This is the decade of action – we will not be gifted another. Every fraction of a degree — every second of delay — counts. This is why Race to Zero and Race to Resilience are imperative. The momentum these campaigns are building amongst businesses, cities, regions, financial, educational and healthcare institutions is spurring greater government action, that is so critical. The UNFCCC NDC Synthesis report last week showed most countries are still failing to deliver the action required to tackle climate change. We are not on track to halving emissions by 2030 and therefore preventing catastrophic – runaway – climate change.
Kicking off the opening day of Climate Week NYC, the COP26 President Alok Sharma, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa, the High Level Champions Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz, and other global leaders will assess the growing momentum and discuss the needed gear shift by non state actors from ambition to implementation.
As a symbol of the pivot from ambition to action, today’s event will spotlight some of the recent transformational action plans from Race to Zero members across the world and showcase the impact that these pledges deliver. What possibilities have they already unlocked? What futures can they help us imagine? What change is needed now to get us back on track?
Ahead of the opening session, six renowned public figures, from the worlds of politics to science, reflect on the task before us.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland: “COP26 is the world’s best chance, possibly one of our last chances of limiting global warming to 1.5C”
Professor Saleemul Huq, Director of the ICCC: “We have entered into the era of loss and damage from human-induced climate change”
Dr Poornima Prabhakaran, Centre for Environmental Health, Public Health Foundation of India: “The climate crisis is a health crisis”
Johan Rockström, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research: “We’ve entered the last decisive decade for humanity’s future on planet earth”
Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Climate Justice activist: “We don’t have time anymore”
Paul Polman, Influencer, business leader, campaigner: “The climate crisis is the most urgent challenge facing humanity”
Across the two weeks, non-State actors offered a wide range of actions, announcements, and events across thematic areas. This included the launch of the African Cities Water Adaptation Fund, an African-led insurance commitment to provide cover for up to USD 14 billion in climate losses, and the Sharm-El-Sheik Adaptation Agenda in partnership with the COP27 Presidency.
Africa can lead the world in limiting emissions, drive climate restoration and orient Africa towards its strengths which translate into major new segments of economic opportunity, writes Jack Kimani, Founding CEO of the Climate Action Platform for Africa (CAP-A).