Environmental leaders are set to convene in California next month for a Global Climate Action Summit celebrating achievements in sustainability — and hopefully, laying the groundwork for new ones. This will be the convention’s inaugural meeting, and for its launch, it’s landed speakers ranging from Al Gore to Jane Goodall to discuss ecological solutions.
The Global Climate Summit will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco between September 12 and 14. This meeting has been in the works for a while, initially announced last summer at the Global Citizens Festival in Hamburg, Germany, through a video message from California Governor Jerry Brown.
“Come join us: entrepreneurs, singers, musicians, mathematicians, professors, students,” he says in the video. “We need people who represent the whole world, because this is about the whole world and the people who live here. We have to do something, and we can do it.”
Brown is one of the six co-chairs for the summit, alongside China’s top climate representative Xie Zhenhua, entrepreneur Anand Mahindra, and UN representatives Patricia Espinosa, Jayathma Wickramanayake, and Michael Bloomberg. These organizers will help coordinate hundreds of affiliate panels and workshops for the week of the convention, so that more people in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond can participate in the conversation. The summit will also be livestreamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
There are five core topics up for discussion, which will inform the summit’s panels. Those topics are healthy energy systems, inclusive economic growth, sustainable communities, land and ocean stewardship, and transformative climate investments. The summit is calling them “key challenges,” and the goal is to inspire debate on issues within those categories, such as the best ways to restore forests or decarbonize transportation.
To lead these discussions, the Global Climate Action Summit has enlisted nearly three dozen industry leaders and politicians. Here’s a partial list:
- Jane Goodall, chimp expert
- Al Gore, former U.S. vice president
- Frank Bainimarama, prime minister of Fiji
- Anne Hidalgo, current mayor of Paris
- Ahmed Aboutaleb, current mayor of Rotterdam
- Mae Jemison, NASA astronaut
- John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of State
- Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever
- Dr. Maria Neira, WHO director of public health and environment
- Andrea Mitchell, NBC/MSNBC reporter
- Dave Matthews, musician
- Alec Baldwin, actor
The event itself will strive to meet sustainability standards by providing free electric bikes and scooters to attendees — and the entire city of San Francisco on a “free ride day” on September 13. In addition to this zero emission travel option, the summit will offer composting and food donation collection, reusable dishware, locally sourced food, and verified carbon offset programs to counter the guests’ international flights.
By the end of the Global Climate Action Summit, the organizers hope to have inspired new ideas and strategies to help countries around the world reach the targets of the Paris Agreement.
“Cities, states, businesses, university leaders, and other organizations all came out to affirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement… and to say to the world, we can do this,” Bloomberg said in a press conference last year. “And the truth of the matter is, I think we can.”
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