As the inaugural London Climate Action Week comes to a close, we are delighted by the outcomes and achievements of the Climate Innovation Forum which took place on Wednesday last week.
The packed plenary room was bursting at the seams, the energy was electric, the engagement intense, and the discussion directed towards one goal: how will we reach our net-zero target by 2050?
The forum attracted 504 delegates, from 19 countries, including heads of sustainability and sustainability managers from over 50% of FTSE 250 companies, 36 local UK councils, CEO’S and business leaders, investors and donors.
From the outset the Climate Innovation Forum was never going to be just about visions of a new era and statements of ambitious targets, it was always about urgent, achievable climate action.
UNFCCC’s Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad sent a powerful statement to the business community: the environment is borrowed from future generations, business as usual is no longer an option if we are to keep within a 1.5°C rise.
“This is our ultimate goal, the most important number” Mr Sarmad said, urging industry and governments to “seriously ramp up climate action and climate ambition”, ahead of COP26 next year.
18 year old Anna Taylor, co-founder of the UK Student Climate Network, called for “action, not rhetoric” from both governments and corporates to enact this change. Receiving the longest and loudest applause of the day she emphasised that young people are “desperate, angry and scared”, pushed to the brink by years of inaction, long before she was even born.
This call for urgent action was echoed by many who noted the significance of the next 18 months. Sectors need to come together, governments need to work with industry and we as individuals need to start leading this systemic change if we are to make zero-carbon THE economic growth story of the 21st Century.
It is looking increasingly likely that the UK will be hosting COP26 and we look forward to both the Climate Innovation Forum 2020 and the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2019 playing crucial roles in building momentum and enabling climate action in the run up to COP26.