The presenters, policymakers, speakers, and activists present at the Climate Forward live event ended Climate Week under one common theme—resolving the climate crisis is the hardest joint effort ever put forth by mankind, but it’s necessary. Gathered in Manhattan, the event hosted Times reporters and influential leaders: Michael Bloomberg, Al Gore, Mia Mottley and Ajay Banga. Upon rotating responses, they all agreed on resolution but believed in different ways to achieve it.
The highest division was set over whether or not it's time to phase out fossil fuels, and if oil companies should be involved. While high corporate and government leaders, such as Bloomberg disagreed stating that “the world is not ready to give up fossil fuels,” Gore took an aggressive opposition—
“[Fossil fuel industries] have portrayed themselves as the source of trusted advice that we need to solve this crisis. But they are responding to powerful incentives to keep digging and drilling and pumping up the fossilized remains of dead animals and plants and burning them in ways that use the atmosphere as an open sewer, threatening the future of humanity. It’s enough already.”
In line with Gore’s statement, the International Energy Agency has stated that nations must stop approving new oil, gas, and coal projects for the Earth’s temperature to stay below dangerous levels. But oil producing nations have not shown signs of slowing down production. In order for strong transition to occur, alternatives need to be in place and give viable outcomes. Britain’s government has announced a change of regulations that will weaken recently solid environmental pledges. Along with Norway staying firm in their decisions to keep expanding production, and stating their opposition to a deadline on fossil fuel transition. Norway Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Store, believes that the transition will come from the increased investment in energy alternatives, ultimately cutting supply by demand not political interference.
“We often get caught up in the cycle of trying to move things fast; however, if you want to go further, you have to go together and that often takes time. When we don’t do a proper assessment, we see biodiversity loss, economic burdens,” stated Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, Ebony Twilley Martin.
Despite federal government hesitation, local solutions are reshaping the outcomes for cities. Reforms, initiatives, and programs are constantly being enacted in local communities to combat the increase in heat, drought, floods, and other consequences to the crisis. Creating organizations or becoming part of an existing one is just one step in furthering our efforts for change. Wednesday’s [Sept. 20th] summit has been circulating as “burning man for climate geeks,” and just one event out of 585 that graced NYC during Climate Week. The events included several conferences, summits, panel discussions, drag shows, and ice cream/ product giveaways. The summit held by United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterre only invited nations that were excited about their climate efforts, that did not include the U.S. or China. The only official from the U.S. invited to speak was Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.