Google, World Bank and EU Among Key Players Pledging Climate Action at One Planet Summit
The summit was hosted as part of Climate Week NYC by French President Emmanuel Macron, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg to mobilize finance behind climate action, according to a press release.
It also comes as world leaders are gathered in New York for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and follows a harsh UN address by Macron Tuesday during which he said he would refuse to negotiate commercial deals with any country that did not join the Paris agreement.
Macron did not mention Trump by name Wednesday, but alluded to his actions during his remarks.
"The Paris agreement was supposed to be dead because of one decision," Macron said, according to Bloomberg News.
But the summit wasn't just to rally verbal support for Paris in defiance of Trump.
"We are not here just to speak but to be accountable," Macron said. "Here we will see what is working and what is not working. What we need is action."
Several business leaders announced pledges designed to help lower global greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reported.
The world's largest asset manager BlackRock promised to help craft an investment fund to finance renewable energy and low-carbon transport in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The World Bank pledged to launch a $1 billion platform for developing battery storage technology.
Google, meanwhile, said it would launch a tool to measure greenhouse gas emissions from traffic and use Google Earth to measure the solar capacity of world cities.
Bloomberg announced that he would help organize a Wall Street Network on Sustainable Finance to encourage more climate and environment financing in U.S. markets, according to a press release provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Political leaders also stepped up to the plate.
The European Commission promised 25 percent of the next EU budget, 320 billion euros, to climate initiatives, according to the same press release.
The EU also joined with France and New Zealand to launch the Joint Pacific Initiative for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Resilience to the tune of 20 million euros.
In total, more than 40 business and civic leaders gathered to report on the progress of 30 initiatives announced at the first One Planet Summit in December 2017, as well as to pledge new commitments.
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By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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