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September 30, 2021

Climate Week NYC Focuses on Resilience, Sustainability and Decarbonization

By Diana Alexander

Last week was Climate Week NYC, hosted by the Climate Group, the annual event—largely virtual again this year—featured sessions with businesses, governments, and other organizations to discuss how to accelerate climate action and assess progress. The series of events was held alongside the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Both events create global opportunities to accelerate climate action ahead of the 26th Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow this coming November.

The weeklong events focused on resilience, sustainability, and efforts around decarbonization to achieve net zero goals by 2050. Key speakers and panelists discussed the following:

•       How the U.S. infrastructure package may provide the necessary investment to design and build resilient infrastructure;

•       How both public and private sectors will need to collaborate for a cleaner future; and

•       The importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) disclosures.

In conjunction with this week, there were several other virtual events held:

•       The Brookings Institution convened the “American Leadership in Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals” virtually on Monday. SDGs are 17 connected global goals designed to be a blueprint for a more sustainable future for everyone. The goals were identified in 2015 by the UNGA and are expected to be achieved by 2030.  SDGs address sustainability, equity, and inclusion. Investors are becoming increasingly educated on SDGs and ESGs. Analysts describe that if companies want to be seen as competitive in this market where investors are focused on risks and opportunities related to climate change, they need to showcase forward-looking goals for 2030 and 2050, not just historical accomplishments. Companies must align sustainable development goals with their corporate strategies to be competitive.

•       S&P Global hosted “Plotting the Net Zero Journey: What we need to do by 2025” on Wednesday.  A live survey reported that the greatest obstacle to transitioning to a low-carbon economy is “social and political will”. 

Coinciding with Climate Week NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul announced two major green energy infrastructure projects that will power New York City with wind, solar and hydropower. The two projects are:

•       Clean Path NY (CPNY) to be developed by Forward Power, a Joint Venture between Invenergy and Energy RE and the New York Power Authority; and

•       Champlain Hudson Express (CHPE) project developed by Transmission Developers, Inc. with Blackstone, and Hydro-Quebec.

The project awards are awaiting approval by the New York Public Service Commission; if approved the projects are expected to invest $460 million “to create pathways to green energy jobs, support public health, advance capital improvement projects, realize habitat restoration and improve the environmental footprint of buildings in disadvantaged communities,” according to NYC’s Office of the Mayor.

Diana Alexander is ACEC Director of Private Market Resources.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.


September 30, 2021



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