Co-authored with Tasfia Nayem
Climate change is threatening both human health and economic growth. A recent World Bank report, finds that 800 million people, or half of the population of South Asia, will experience a moderate to severe decline in living standards, exacerbating poverty and inequality, if climate change is unabated. Climate change will also have harmful macroeconomic effects, with the report projecting a 2.8% decline in India’s GDP by 2050.
The upcoming Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) focuses on catalyzing climate action to stave off the worst impacts of global warming in South Asia and worldwide. GCAS is a three-day event in San Francisco from September 12th to 14th that brings together leaders acting on climate change around the world.
To preview the summit, NRDC along with the State of California, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and the ClimateWorks Foundation recently hosted the first public event in San Francisco. The speakers included Ms. Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board; Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General of TERI; Mr. Siddarthan Balasubramania from ClimateWorks; as well as Ms. Annie Notthoff and Ms. Anjali Jaiswal from NRDC. The briefing and roundtable focused on India’s role at the summit and provided new details about summit in early September.
What is the Global Climate Action Summit?
In addition to bringing national leaders together, GCAS aims to highlight the importance of subnational actors – including states, regions, cities, businesses, investors, and citizens – in achieving targets under the Paris Agreement. GCAS will showcase local-level progress to encourage learning and build global partnerships, proliferating climate action around the world. Leaders will also make new commitments at GCAS to advance climate goals and avoid dangerous climate change.
What does the Global Climate Action Summit focus on?
GCAS encourages climate action with a special focus on five key challenge areas:
- Healthy Energy Systems: aims to emphasize the clean and equitable shift to decarbonized energy and transportation.
- Inclusive Economic Growth: highlights business leadership, green jobs, and the economic opportunities that come with promoting clean technology.
- Sustainable Communities: demonstrates potentials in infrastructure, including green buildings, cities, and communities.
- Land and Ocean Stewardship: focuses on the role that forests, food, lands, and other ecosystems play in mitigating climate change and making our world more resilient.
- Transformative Climate Investment: spurs innovation and accelerates transformation needed to reach a climate-friendly future.
Who is convening the Global Climate Action Summit?
GCAS is convened by Governor Jerry Brown of the State of California, Patricia Espinosa of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Anand Mahindra of the Mahindra Group, and Michael Bloomberg, who serves as the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action.
Many partner organizations are also coming together as part of the summit. Over 500 affiliated events are scheduled throughout the state, ranging from tours of green businesses to important discussions related to climate and equity. These events amplify GCAS activities by providing additional arenas for global actors to explore specific climate challenges, solutions, and opportunities.
NRDC is partnering with GCAS on planning and hosting several affiliate events, including on India. NRDC, TERI and partners are planning a dialogue event focused on India and other nations that highlights progress on climate action. The discussion will focus on programs and initiatives on healthy cities, clean energy, and super pollutants. The dialogue will also feature electric vehicles and climate resilience.
Cities and states are engines of change. The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this September is a major opportunity to accelerate global momentum on climate change. Strong action now can deliver major reductions and increase resilience to protect human health and economic growth from the worst impacts of climate change.
This blog is co-authored with Tasfia Nayem, NRDC-Stanback Duke University Summer Fellow.