Climate Week NYºC: A Clean Industrial Revolution Planned

September 20, 2010 Updated: July 31, 2016

NEW YORK—Government, big business, and NGO representatives gathered Monday at the opening to Climate Week NYºC to discuss their hopes to work together to spur a clean industrial revolution. Panel discussions and conferences will take place all week to address the world’s environmental woes and excessive carbon emissions.

There is a growing market in green technology and public and private investors are working together to cut carbon emissions while hoping for financial returns. HBSC, a sponsor of Climate Week NYºC, released a report that the market for low-carbon energy and efficiency projects is expected to triple to $2.2 trillion by 2020.

“We need to agree on the principles of the future global architecture for financing climate change,” said Andrew Steer, special envoy on Climate Change for the World Bank. “The sums of public money will never be enough. Scarce public funds must catalyze larger private funds.”

Financial giant Goldman Sachs is investing in green technology and advising other businesses on environmentally sustainable strategies. “We face the challenges of investing today for returns that will benefit many people who aren’t even born yet,” said Tracy Wolstencroft, global head of Environmental Markets for Goldman Sachs.

For a successful transition in the global economy, investors need to overcome a resistance to change according to Wolstencroft.

Swiss Re, the founding sponsor of Climate Week NYºC, is a leading reinsurance company that has been carbon neutral since 2003. The company worked during natural disasters such as the floods in Pakistan and wild fires in Russia to transfer the cost of damages from public to private funds.

“Insurance is not the universal solution to all the challenges of climate change, but it is part of the answer to adapt to it,” said Matthias Weber of Swiss Re.

As the U.N. General Assembly meets this week to discuss progress of the Millennium Development Goals it developed 10 years ago, the Climate Week NYºC participants are building momentum for the U.N. Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico, slated for November.

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, hosting organization for Climate Week NYºC, closed the discussion with a vision of the quiet streets of the 2020s, with electric cars fueled up at wind-powered stations, street lighting coming on at just the right time so as to minimize wasted power, 5 billion years of solar energy in reserve, and green technologies that can’t even be imagined yet part of daily life.