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Climate Week NYC — Decarbonizing has become big business

Posted Sep 22, 2017 by Karen Graham
If one theme predominated in Climate Week NYC this past week, it is the consensus that decarbonization will become big business simply because companies with large market share would rather get rid of fossil fuels than put their market share at risk.
Climate Week NYC - 2017 was held at the same time the UN General Assembly was in session.
Climate Week NYC - 2017 was held at the same time the UN General Assembly was in session.
U.S. Department of State
This was the first Climate Week NYC gathering since President Trump announced the United States would leave the Paris Climate Agreement. There was very little in the way of protest — but a lot of enthusiasm.
Climate Week NYC 2017 was launched at a high-profile Opening Ceremony on Monday, bringing together global climate leaders to demonstrate how a combination of state, city and business commitment will continue to deliver the Paris Agreement.
One of many big initiatives to come out of the meetings, conferences, and candid discussions was the formation of EV100.
US President Donald Trump caused outrage when he withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris clim...
US President Donald Trump caused outrage when he withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord
SCOTT OLSON, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
EV100 Initiative rolled out in NYC
This newest initiative will focus on helping businesses commit to 100 percent renewable targets to help the environment.
EV100 was launched in partnership with The Climate Group this week at Climate Week NYC. The launch includes 10 founding members — Baidu, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Heathrow Airport, HP Inc., IKEA Group, LeasePlan, METRO AG, PG&E, Unilever and Vattenfall.
EV100 has a different focus than EP100, which is a global, collaborative initiative of influential businesses that pledge to double their energy productivity. EV100 is looking to bring together companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).
The members of EV100 will each commit to transitioning from diesel and petrol, or gas powered vehicles to electric vehicles, and installing battery charging infrastructure by 2030. And by setting timetables for the initiative at a global level, this will help drive massive rollouts, reduce costs, and make electric cars more affordable more quickly.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee addressed a crowd from the launch of the EV100, saying, "I flew 2,500 miles to give you one message: Donald Trump cannot stop the United States from becoming the leader in fighting climate change."
The Parker Project asks -  How can we enable #EVs worldwide to support a future power system based o...
The Parker Project asks - "How can we enable #EVs worldwide to support a future power system based on renewable energy?"
Parker Project
Florida hit by hurricane fuels initiative
There was quite a bit of discussion on the devastating effects Hurricane Irma had on Florida's electrical grid, with some groups warning that Florida could lose its creditworthiness in the future if the extreme weather events continue to batter the state.
Inslee had a slightly different view during the launch of EV100, suggesting that the multinational corporations supplying cities and states have concluded global dominance comes from addressing climate change.
"It's a real win-win as we switch over from the internal-combustion engine to electric engines," said Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson. She cited employee satisfaction and maintenance savings as reasons for building out charging stations and purchasing electric cars.
Michael Lightfoot, chief corporate affairs officer of car-leasing concern LeasePlan, said he looks at the movement as a matter of business continuity, saying "customers want to drive something green everywhere they go." Lightfoot pointed out the low maintenance appeal of EVs, saying maintenance will be an excellent marketing tool in business models.
Utility trucks head for the Florida Keys as part of a massive effort to restore power following Hurr...
Utility trucks head for the Florida Keys as part of a massive effort to restore power following Hurricane Irma
Gaston De Cardenas, AFP
Climate Change is a new marketplace
Looking at climate change as a marketplace, rather than a killer of markets is an exciting concept, and company executives were rushing to get on board.
"We have set a corporate goal to reduce emissions 20 percent by 2030," said Mike O'Connell, who heads PepsiCo's supply-chain work, at a TriBeCa coffee klatsch heralding better efficiency in trucks.
Notable applause came from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who co-hosted the event launch of EV100, despite being visibly shaken from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean. In describing the total devastation in his Caribbean territory, he said, "Do I come to the climate change talks and try to thump the table to tell people we've got to do something about it? May we speed things up so we have fewer hurricanes in the future."
There was no table thumping to be seen. Instead, corporations essentially said, "We're in, and we can define the terms." And a number of partnerships were born this week, like the $4 million Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) effort among U.N. members and companies.
America's deteriorating infrastructure costs each American family an estimated $3 400 per year
America's deteriorating infrastructure costs each American family an estimated $3,400 per year
JUSTIN SULLIVAN, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File
Tom Cochran, CEO of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, talked about the work being done by the Alliance for a Sustainable Future, in which cities join up with partners such as JPMorgan and AECOM to finance and build climate-ready infrastructure. He also painted Trump as an irritant: "He's in, he's out, he's tweeting, God knows what else. It really doesn't matter."
All in all, when the last meeting is held on September 24, and everyone goes home, this year's Climate Week NYC gathering will be a starting point for a brilliant business model — Climate Change as a new marketplace, where everything from the electrical grid to EVs and charging stations, and improved energy storage batteries to greener infrastructure will be part of the new market initiative.