Last week in New York City, government officials from around the globe, corporate executives from some of the world’s largest companies, community organizers and climate activists, and many others came together for Climate Week and the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. Over the course of multiple days filled with big events, high-level meetings, keynote speeches, art installations, and panel discussions, one thing was indisputable: This is a time for action.
So, what happens now? In this edition of the Impact Newsletter, we’re sharing highlights of Climate Week, but with a focus on the actions and impacts that will come from the events and announcements we led and were part of. Those include announcing the 2023 Earthshot Prize finalists, whose innovative projects are targeted at making a difference by the end of this decade; sharing progress being made on the ground to close coal more plants and stop the construction of petrochemical plants; and kicking off our annual Countdown to COP28. Also, hear why Mike believes this year’s COP needs to focus “on the here and now” with a goal of major emissions cuts by 2030.
As Mike said in his opening remarks at the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit, “The climate crisis is no longer some far-off menace. It’s here, right now. And the effects are only getting worse.” Keep reading to find out how we and our partners are stepping up in a moment that calls for real action.
Key data points from Climate Week
For the 2023 Earthshot Prize, 15 finalists were recognized for their innovative solutions that will make a difference before the end of the decade.
372 of the 530 U.S. coal plants have announced plans to retire or have closed. With a new $500 million investment, Beyond Carbon will work to close the rest — while quadrupling clean energy on the grid and halving gas use by 2030.
After a year of working with communities fighting to put people over pollution, Beyond Petrochemicals has stopped the construction of five petrochemical plants.
With 64 days until COP28 in the UAE, our Countdown to COP28 already includes 25 climate actions.
At this year’s Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit, speakers included Earthshot Prize Founder and President HRH Prince William, World Trade Organization Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, H.E. Dame Jacinda Ardern, actor and activist Nomzamo Mbatha, Bill Gates, Mike and others. The presentation also introduced the 2023 finalists and their cutting-edge solutions in the five Earthshots: Clean Our Air, Protect and Restore Nature, Revive Our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free World, and Fix Our Climate. The winners will be announced in November.
One of the fastest paths to meaningful climate progress is to ramp up public and private sector investment in clean energy adoption. “Turning the tide on climate change is not a technological challenge,” said Mike as he opened the Bloomberg Transition Finance Action Forum during Climate Week. “For the most part it is a financial challenge.” Leaders at the Forum unequivocally committed to accelerating action toward the net-zero transition and spoke about what was needed to identify risks and seize opportunities. Watch remarks from President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, U.S. Secretary of the Department of the Treasury Janet Yellen, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and Co-Chair of GFANZ Mark Carney, Minister of Finance of Brazil H.E. Hernando Addad, and others on the urgent need to swiftly deploy climate finance.
At Climate Week, we announced that Mike is investing an additional $500 million in the Beyond Carbon campaign. After helping to retire more than 70% of U.S. coal plants, Beyond Carbon will use the additional support to work on closing the remaining plants, quadruple the amount of clean energy on the grid, and halve gas use by 2030.
Last week also marked one year since the beginning of the Beyond Petrochemicals campaign. By bringing local organizers and activists together with lawyers, scientists, and researchers, Beyond Petrochemicals has already blocked the construction of five significant petrochemical plants in the United States. They’re putting people over pollution, and helping communities protect their health and homes from dangerous emissions.
This year’s UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, kicks off on November 30th in the United Arab Emirates. In a Politico opinion piece published on the first day of Climate Week, Mike wrote that the focus of this year’s meeting “cannot be 2050 or 2040 or even 2035. It must be on the here and now, and it must produce new action that will dramatically reduce emissions by 2030.”
One key to the success of COP28 and climate progress will be the inclusion of cities, states, businesses, and other local climate action leaders in the meeting. Last week Mike and COP28 President-designate Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber announced the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit, which will take place December 1-2 and officially bring subnational leaders into the COP program and process for the first time ever. Hosted by the COP28 Presidency and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Summit will aim to bring together hundreds of subnational climate leaders who are increasingly critical in helping national governments reach emissions reduction targets and net-zero ambitions while building resilient and future-proof economies and societies.
The announcement of the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit was among the first actions of the Bloomberg-wide Countdown to COP28, an annual effort designed to turbocharge climate progress from public, private, and civil society actors around the world before each COP. This year, Bloomberg L.P., Bloomberg Philanthropies, and our partners will countdown the days until COP28 with a series of initiatives, reports, and partnerships.