Earth Day 2022: No time for complacency

By Climate Champions | April 22, 2022

Never in the history of humankind have we been faced with such a stark choice: to act now or risk losing it all forever.

Just as there is no more room for new fossil fuel developments, there is no room for complacency. Every single person, business, institution and government has a role to play in preserving our beautiful planet for future generations.

Our part is clear. The UN Climate Change High Level Champions for Action must continue to mobilize bold climate action that jumpstarts drastic emissions reductions that keep us in line with 1.5C and builds resilience for billions of people.

With our campaigns, Race to Resilience and Race to Zero, we work with thousands of non-state actors – from cities, to businesses and banks  – to accelerate their action. We know that private sector innovation (with public support) accelerates the kind of rapid transformations we need, like nothing else.

It is therefore incumbent upon these actors to move forward with courage and decisiveness – acting in the interests of the many, and not the few. With every second of delayed action, the greater the loss: to economies, resources, profits, lives, health and jobs.

This Earth Day 2022, we look forward to the day when our campaigns cease the need to exist. For thousands upon thousands of non-state actors, which we helped mobilize, paved the way and propelled governments into securing a liveable world.

We won’t give up until we get to this point – and there’s much hope that a healthier, safer, fairer, zero carbon and resilient world is within reach.

Race to Resilience

The Race to Resilience continues to catalyze a step-change in global ambition for climate resilience, putting people and nature first.

Through a partnership of ever-growing initiatives, the campaign focuses on helping the most vulnerable, frontline communities to build resilience and adapt to the physical impacts of climate change, such as extreme heat, drought, flooding and sea-level rise, in three area types: urban, rural and coastal.

Currently the campaign has 28 Partners, representing over 2,000 organizations that are delivering action in 127 different countries.

To date partners have pledged, among other things, to make 2.3 billion people more resilient by 2030; invest nearly $4bn into resilience projects; and increase the resilience of over 100 natural systems.

Race to Zero

The Race to Zero, meanwhile, now has over 10,000 members across more than 115 countries. This includes over 7,000 businesses representing ~15% of GDP and over 530 financial institutions with over $130 trillion Assets under management. These members are taking ambitious action to – at the very least – halve emissions by 2030 and contribute beyond their own value chain to global decarbonization targets.

The Race to Zero is also working to improve its integrity in the form of its criteria consultation process. The latest – third and largest consultation yet – brings together over 150 experts from across the world, looking to drive forward the community of best practice.

In this context, over half our Partners have now been reviewed by our Expert Peer Review Group, to assess how they are progressing against the management of their members to the campaign criteria, and to identify opportunities for them to step up in leadership where relevant.

Through a new accountability mechanism, we’re also looking to develop a process to help identify how to best target support for members who are struggling, and ultimately to remove members who persistently fail to comply with the campaign criteria.

Our team

We now have close to 100 members of staff from around the world working hard to mobilize climate action across multiple sectors, from oceans and agriculture to energy and finance.

As we gear up to COP27, which Egypt is hosting, our focus this year is on rallying non-state actors to address losses and damages, mobilizing finance to Emerging Markets and Developing Economies and amplifying action across Africa.

Notable progress includes:

  • Nature & Finance: Financial institutions continue to join signatories to tackle commodity driven deforestation by 2025 whilst synergies with platforms such as Finance for Biodiversity and Make My Money Matter are strengthened.
  • Our Nature positive focus is strengthening by the day, as evident by our shared position at the Convention of Biological Diversity post 2020 Framework negotiations.
  • Glasgow Breakthroughs: The agriculture breakthrough – which aims to make climate resilient, sustainable agriculture the most attractive and widely adopted option for farmers everywhere by 2030 — has been given the green light by the UK government.
  • Shipping: Additional Signatories to the Zero-Emission Shipping by 2050 Declaration announced were announced at Our Oceans Conference: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palau, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.  This is in addition to the 14 who launched this at COP26.
  • GFANZ: UN Special Envoy Michael R. Bloomberg and co-chairs Bancolombia and BBVA announced a new Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) Country Pilot that will convene the private finance sector to support transformational climate action in Colombia. CFLI Colombia is the first Latin American CFLI Country Pilot, a program that enables a private-sector led and country-specific approach to mobilizing climate finance at scale. CFLI is a featured initiative of the.
  • Global Plastic Treaty: representatives from 175 countries endorsed a resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly (“UNEA-5”) in Nairobi to negotiate an international legally binding agreement to “end plastic pollution” by the end of 2024. The UNEP ED says it the “the most significant environmental multilateral deal” since the Paris Agreement.
  • One Ocean Summit:  Sea’ties Declaration, 30 mayors and governors of coastal cities across the world are urging national governments and the international community to intensify mitigation and adaptation measures to limit the impacts of sea level rise on coastal cities, their territories and communities.
  • The US commits $1 million in support of Race to Resilience partner initiative, Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRRA).
  • Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) Receives Contribution from the UK and Anchor Investment from the Green Climate Fund.
  • Africa: Launch of the Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance (GHA) at the Green Hydrogen Global Assembly and Exhibition set for May 17-18 2022 in Barcelona.
  • Plans in place for the 2nd instalment of the Africa Youth Conference on Climate Change to consolidate the Africa youth movement in the lead up to COY17 and COP27.


Campaign News

Introducing the Climate Champions’ Youth Fellows for 2023

As part of the Youth Fellowship programme, the new fellows will help mobilise climate action amongst non-state actors to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, in close collaboration with the UNFCCC, the Marrakech Partnership and the COP Presidencies.