Climate Week in New York: Opportunities for Leadership Ahead


Written by Rich Kassel, Group Leader, Capalino

Every September, Climate Week brings thousands of decision-makers, investors, and advocates to the City for a week of events, announcements, meetings, and commitments.  As this year’s Climate Week draws to a close, it’s worth taking stock of some of the highlights:

Of course, not all of the news was good.  Just prior to Climate Week, the Trump administration announced its intention to revoke California’s authority to set stricter vehicle emission standards as its latest effort to roll back the nation’s climate commitments. (It’s worth noting that the federal Clean Air Act allows other states to opt into California’s program, which New York and most other northeast states have historically done.  If the administration is successful in fending off the expected legal challenges, future cars in New York will average about 37 miles per gallon, instead of the 54.5 mpg expected by 2025 under the California program, costing New Yorkers millions of dollars at the pump).  And, the International Panel on Climate Change issued its latest warning, this time focusing on the global warming’s risks to the world’s oceans and fisheries.

Here at Capalino, we prefer to focus on the positives, and on the business opportunities inherent in New York’s climate and clean energy policies. 

As I have written before, New York has been throwing the ball long on climate and clean energy. 

A recent McKinsey report concluded that business leaders cannot ignore the physical impacts of climate change without increasing risk to their global infrastructure, supply chains, asset prices, and economic growth.  The report urged companies to assess, plan, decarbonize, and make “climate intelligence” a core capability.   While the report focused on the actions of companies, the advice is equally valid for cities and states.

Implementing New York’s recent steps will help ensure that New York City and State follows this approach.  Doing so should reap a win-win – first, that we will be retooling our great City and State to be more energy-efficient and competitive in years to come, and second, that we will be doing our part to lead the way to avoiding worst-case climate change in decades to come.

Energy, Environment + Sustainability Services

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