Whether through action or inaction 2021 will be an historic year as the world faces up to the triple crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest recession in a century and the accelerating climate crisis. How we collectively respond to these interlinked challenges at the global, national and local level will determine our prosperity and security for decades to come.
London Climate Action Week 2021 (LCAW 2021) will provide an opportunity to take the pulse of global climate action in this critical year by engaging with leading decision-makers, thought leaders, businesses, activists and engaged citizens who are working to shape a Green, Fair and Resilient recovery and chart a Road to COP26 in Glasgow.
Now in its third year, LCAW is continuing to grow through leveraging the huge depth and breadth of London’s climate actors and their global networks. Providing an open and inclusive platform for global debate, problem-solving and Whole of Society Action as well as engaging Londoners in how to build a Sustainable and Fair London.
This year sees over 170 events building on collaborations from earlier years and charting new and exciting frontiers in climate action.
The recent G7 in Cornwall showed how climate change is now entangled with broad geopolitical debates. The Chatham House Climate Conference will dissect how this impacts the road to COP26; from the role of China to making the UN system fit for a climate-changed world. But COP26 needs to address the needs of the vulnerable, not just the interests of the powerful. At the Climate and Development Agenda Stocktake, senior policymakers from developing countries will discuss whether COP26 preparations are delivering for their citizens.
COP26 cannot just be about diplomatic agreement, it also needs to show real action. A host of leading figures will be joining the three-day Climate Innovation Forum to outline how the UK can walk the talk at Glasgow by meeting its climate targets at home. The UK COP26 Presidency has made “making coal history” a top benchmark for success and events hosted by the Powering Past Coal Alliance will show how this is being achieved around the world.
UK business will showcase its climate commitments at an event with COP President Designate Alok Sharma and the UN Global Compact will explain how businesses can align with a net zero and resilient future. The very public debate around the credibility of climate commitments being made by businesses, cities and investors will be dealt with head-on by the UN Climate Champions and “Race to Zero” team at “Getting Net Zero Right”.
Climate action doesn’t take place in a vacuum. The shape of the COVID-19 recovery will underpin the context for action at COP26 and determine countries’ ability to deliver the goals agreed there. Events will discuss whether the world is actually “building back better” and what more needs to be done to lay the foundations for a “decisive decade” of climate action.
For the UK, the launch of the UK Cities Climate Investment Commission will bring together the UK’s major cities to outline the clean and resilient investment they need to build back from the COVID-19 crisis. The gap in investment needed by the global cities responsible for 70% of energy-related GHG emissions will be revealed by the launch of the City Financing Index, and Green Horizon Perspectives will address how to mobilise more private finance into green, far and resilient recoveries. London’s key role as a hub for global engagement is exemplified by the African Climate Foundation‘s presentation of a new vision for climate-aligned development on the continent, and The Third Pole will be hosting a distinguished panel discussing climate cooperation and recovery in Southeast Asia.
London Climate Action Week has always been about how every sector, and every individual, is vital in delivering transformational climate action. The inaugural Schools Climate Summit exemplifies the power of LCAW to spark bold sector-wide initiatives, uniting London’s 3500 schools as a collective force for change. The week will also see the launch of Grantham Research Institute’s latest review of global trends in climate litigation; charting the wave of legal action which has revolutionised government and business decision making this year. Finally, building from an initiative at LCAW 2020, there will be the launch of a new international charter on climate action for professional bodies and learned societies that aims to enhance the role of professionals across the economy in accelerating the climate transition.
Solving climate change requires innovation and broad societal engagement. Just before LCAW, the EarthShot Prize will announce details of its first awards for global environmental innovation, which will be held in London this autumn. Multiple events at LCAW will explore how to ensure more inclusive action including the showcasing of Female Cleantech Entrepreneurs and how to increase diversity in climate action.
Despite the difficulties of COVID-19 LCAW retains its focus on arts and cultural events and this year sees the preview of a new climate-themed pop musical. COVID-19 has also raised the profile of mental health issues there are some pathbreaking events looking at the mental health burden of climate change and how to address feelings of climate despair.
LCAW aims to drive global change but also help put London’s own house in order and involve more Londoners in climate action. The Mayor of London has set a highly ambitious goal for reaching net zero by 2030, which will be addressed by “Countdown to Net Zero” at the Centre for London. London’s school children will be engaging their MPs across the capital to call for more climate action, and there are also a large range of community events being held across London including in-person opportunities to engage in environmental projects and activities.
These are some of the highlights of LCAW 2021, but there is far more to discover. We hope you enjoy the diversity, richness and inclusivity of LCAW 2021 and look forward to welcoming you in person and online next year to follow up on the results of COP26 and help deliver the climate action, collaboration and inspiration the world needs.
E3G is excited to be hosting a variety of events in this year’s LCAW. Read details of our programme.