Climate summit 2014 poster
Climate summit 2014 poster

When United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced his Climate Summit, he stressed that it would be “a solutions summit, not a negotiating session.” He challenged leaders from governments, businesses and civil society “to raise the level of ambition through new and more robust action on climate change” and to increase political commitment for a major climate agreement in 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in New York for the Climate Summit, on 23 September, and the massive People’s Climate March two days earlier. SEI came with two key partnerships that it helped found: the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), and the New Climate Economy project.

Established in 2012 by seven countries, CCAC is the only global forum dedicated to tackling short-lived climate pollutants – substances that remain in the atmosphere for a relatively short time, from a few days to 15 years, but are powerful drivers of near-term atmospheric warming.

Scientific research led in part by SEI has shown that proven measures to reduce SLCPs – in particular, methane and black carbon (soot) – could, if widely implemented, reduce global warming by 0.5°C by 2050, save more than 2 million lives, and achieve multiple development benefits. CCAC has also undertaken to phase out high global-warming-potential hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which could reduce warming by another 0.1°C. The Coalition now has 11 initiatives focused on a wide range of SLCP sources: from brick kilns, to livestock, to municipal solid waste, to the oil and gas industries.

At the Climate Summit, CCAC presented five action plans challenging governments, businesses and civil society to raise their ambition in specific sectors, and it facilitated a work session on industry and SLCPs. CCAC also held its High-Level Assembly in New York on the eve of the summit, encouraging all its partners to take bold actions for the climate.

Making the economic case for action: the New Climate Economy

The New Climate Economy project, meanwhile, which SEI helped design, and in which SEI led research on energy, as well as projects on China, air pollution, and urban development, has been instrumental in debunking the notion that growth and climate action are incompatible.

Released a week ahead of the Climate Summit, the project’s flagship report, Better Growth, Better Climate , not only shows through in-depth analysis that not only shows that economic growth and climate action can go hand in hand, but also outlines how countries at different stages of development can do so. At the Climate Summit, the New Climate Economy report was the centrepiece of a thematic discussion on climate, health, and the economic case for action.

“The Climate Summit is timely,” said SEI Executive Director Johan L. Kuylenstierna, who attended the discussion. “It will inject energy into the climate negotiations leading up to Lima and Paris, and serve as a link between the climate and broader Sustainable Development Goals agenda. SEI is very pleased that the New Climate Economy report receives prominent attention, as it provides clear recommendations to key economic decision-makers on how to merge climate and growth agendas.”

Learn more about the Climate and Clean Air Coalition »

Learn more about the New Climate Economy »

Learn more about the UN Climate Summit »