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Climate Frontiers Forum

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

London is the only location in the world with a critical mass of organisations working globally on a full range of climate action. These organisations are also embedded in a global centre for mainstream finance, business and technical services, technology innovation, insurance, law, media, academia, science, health, development and foreign policy.

If activated, London could become the global hub for mainstreaming climate change into economic and social development. However, at the moment London-based climate organisations are generally fragmented, siloed and only collaborate sporadically. The sum of this city could be so much more than its parts if it worked together to learn collectively, foster a common talent pool and grasp the type of “cluster” identity that has been built in sectors like finance, fashion and IT. London needs a climate analogue to IT’s “Silicon Roundabout”.

This fragmentation is a significant problem for delivering the goals of the Paris Agreement, including London’s own Net-Zero emissions target. As climate risks continue to worsen there is a need to rapidly accelerate the global economic transition to resilient, net zero carbon economies. This requires integrated problem-solving, quick dissemination of solutions and rapid learning and adjustment of what works and what doesn’t. Muddling through is not an option as we cannot afford countries repeating mistakes already made elsewhere. We need innovation and learning which delivers faster and better results than current systems.

From the week’s inception it has been E3G’s organisational objective to use LCAW as a driver to form deeper synergies between the “cluster” of globally leading organisations based in and around London. Our experience of being a co-organiser and ambassador for London Climate Action Week has confirmed the potential for a London Climate Cluster. We have discovered an even wider variety of climate action than we expected and have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and energy of everyone involved in the collaboration.

As part of our contribution to supporting stronger cooperation, E3G is organising a series of innovative events through the week culminating in the first-ever London Climate Frontiers Forum, which will address novel, controversial and complex “frontier” climate issues at London Climate Action Week and beyond. The Frontiers Forum, a public event on Friday 5 July, aims to innovate, link and broker climate action between sectors, countries and disciplines. By doing this E3G aims to:

  • accelerate problem-solving around critical “frontier” climate transition problems;
  • tackle “orphan” issues that lie at the intersection of different sectors or groups;
  • and improve learning and critical analysis of what climate solutions are working and how to replicate and scale them up.

To inform the plenary Frontiers Forum debate, E3G and partners are hosting a programme of Frontier Forum events leading up to the plenary on the Friday including sessions on: tackling the shrinking democratic space for climate action; how to understand and win national climate politics; the future of gas; financing just climate transitions; the new diplomacy of climate ambition in 2020; and accelerating learning for climate solutions. It will be a packed week with thought leaders and experts featuring at every turn, culminating in the plenary Frontiers Forum to review all the debates and conclusions at the King’s Fund on Cavendish Square on Friday afternoon – with a few well-earned drinks afterwards.

This is the first step in what we hope will become an enduring problem-solving process, convening sectors from across London to exchange views and make better use of the city’s deep capacity of organisations to systematically tackle difficult issues in the climate transition.  

After a short summer break E3G will be actively looking for new issues and partners to engage in order to build a set of new topics and ideas for London Climate Action Week 2020.