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The Climate Group is a non-profit organization that works internationally with businesses and sub-national governments to accelerate climate action. It aims to address climate change through renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects and campaigns, with an overall goal of urgently achieving a world of under 2°C warming and greater economic prosperity for companies and citizens. Launched in 2004, the organization now has offices in the UK (headquarters), the United States, India and China.
The Climate Group says it is one of the world's first business and government alliances working to create solutions to climate change that are compatible with economic growth.
It acts as the secretariat for the Under2 Coalition, an alliance of state and regional governments around the world that are committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero levels by 2050. As of 2017, the Under2 Coalition brings together over 205 governments from 43 countries, representing 1.3 billion people and almost 40% of the global economy.
The organization's business initiatives "RE100", "EP100" and "EV100", which are run as part of the We Mean Business coalition, aim to grow corporate demand for renewable energy, energy productivity and electric transport, accelerating the transition to a zero-emissions economy, while helping leading businesses to reduce carbon emissions, be more resilient and increase profits.
Other projects past and present include the LED "LightSavers" global trials which took place in cities such as New York City, Hong Kong and Kolkata; the Climate Principles project, under which financial institutions (including Credit Agricole, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Swiss Re, F&C Asset Management and BNP Paribas) agree to consider climate change when structuring their service and product offerings; the States and Regions Alliance, designed to encourage state, provincial and city government climate change initiatives; and numerous publications assessing and promoting the potential value of low carbon technologies and policies.
It has partnered on initiatives and reports with organisations including the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSi), International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), CDP, the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, the United Nations Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Office of Tony Blair and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development.
The Climate Group hosts international summits and events, including Climate Week NYC in New York City, a week-long global forum promoting global climate action, and the India Energy Access Summit in New Delhi.
The Climate Group was created in 2004 by ex-CEO and founder Steve Howard to encourage major companies and sub-national governments to take action on climate change. To join, a company or government had to sign the organization's leadership principles. Former UK prime minister Tony Blair has supported the group since launch and has appeared at a number of the organization's events.
The Climate Group's international network of States and Regions included a number of prominent leaders of sub-national governments that have been or are involved in its policy work in developing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These include or have included Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond; Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones; Prince Albert of Monaco; former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger; former Premier of Manitoba Gary Doer; former Premier of Quebec Jean Charest; former Premier of South Australia Mike Rann and President of Poitou Charentes, Segolene Royal. In successive years Schwarzenegger, Charest and Salmond each received The Climate Group's international climate leadership award from Co-Chair Mike Rann. Its network has included over 80 of the world's largest companies and governments (including, for example, the City of New York, Miami, Los Angeles, the State of California, most Canadian and Australian provinces and the City of London).
In 2011, Mark Kenber, previously deputy-CEO, took over from Steve Howard as CEO. He resigned from the post in 2016.
In 2017, Helen Clarkson became CEO.
The Climate Group states that it functions independently of any corporate and government entities. It funds its work from a variety of revenue streams. The organization's 2007-2008 annual report indicates that over 75% of its funding is from philanthropic donations, foundations and other non-governmental organizations, as well as from the philanthropic HSBC Climate Partnership.
Until recently, business and government members paid to be members of The Climate Group, and that funding accounted for approximately 20 per cent of the organization's operating budget. Many of its programmes are carried out in partnership with members, whose sponsorship is often the primary source of revenue for those individual programs. The Climate Group states that overall strategy is driven by staff - sometimes in consultation with members - and approved by its board, and that there is no link between membership and governance of the organisation.
In 2007, HSBC announced that The Climate Group, along with WWF, Earthwatch, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, would be a partner in the HSBC Climate Partnership, and donated US$100 million to fund joint work - the largest-ever single corporate philanthropic donation to the environment. The results of this program can be seen in HSBC's 2010 Partnership Review, and HSBC's Clean Cities film of December 2010. The Clean Cities film specifically outlines some of The Climate Group's achievements enabled by this program, including LED pilots in New York, clean technology finance in Mumbai, consumer campaigns in London and cutting employee carbon footprints in Hong Kong.
The Climate Group publishes research reports that seek to highlight the opportunities that clean energy can provide in terms of both economic growth and decreased emissions. Some include:
The Climate Group spearheads and supports several projects, campaigns and summits. They include:
The Climate Group acts as Secretariat to the Under2 Coalition and works directly with government signatories and partners of the Under2 MOU to drive net-zero ambition and action. The Under2 MOU is a commitment by sub-national governments to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions toward net-zero by 2050. Central to this is the public commitment by all signatories to reduce their GHG emissions by 80-95% on 1990 levels, or 2 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent per capita, by 2050. As of 2017, the Under2 Coalition brings together 205 governments from 43 countries representing 1.3 billion people and almost 40% of the global economy who have committed to reduce GHG emissions towards net-zero by 2050.
This project aims to accelerate widespread adoption of LED (light-emitting diode) lighting technology. The programs aim is for LED lighting to represent 25% of the global indoor and outdoor lighting market by 2020, reducing electricity use and costs -- and associated CO2 emissions -- by 50-70%. Demonstration projects are now operating in many cities across the globe including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kolkata, London, New York and Sydney.
Convened by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, RE100 is a global initiative to engage, support and showcase influential companies committed to using 100% renewable power. Companies gain a better understanding of the advantages of being 100% renewable, and benefit from peer-to-peer learning as well as greater public recognition of their ambitions and achievements as they work toward their goals. As of 2017, a total of 100 companies have committed to the campaign.
EP100 showcases global businesses committed to doubling their energy productivity (EP). EP100, which The Climate Group serves as the Secretariat for, offers a forum for sharing best practices and showcasing the leadership of companies making progress toward bold, public commitments on energy productivity.
EV100 is a global initiative bringing together companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and making electric transport the "new normal" by 2030. The transport sector is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change, accounting for 23% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Electric transport offers a solution in cutting millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, as well as curbing transport related air and noise pollution.
Climate Week NYC, founded in 2009 as a partnership between The Climate Group, the United Nations, the UN Foundation, the City of New York, the Government of Denmark, Tck Tck Tck Campaign and CDP, takes place every year in New York City. The summit takes place alongside the UN General Assembly and brings together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase global climate action. Climate Week NYC is the collaborative space for climate-related events in support of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2017, there were 140 events across New York City as part of Climate Week NYC.
The Climate Group's States and Regions Alliance was underpinned by a recognition of the important role that sub-national governments are playing in tackling climate change on the ground. The UN Development Program estimates that 50-80% of actions required to take limit global temperature rises to two degrees will need to arise from sub-national levels of government. The Climate Group argues that while global negotiations continue to prove difficult, its State and Regions Alliance members, as well as other sub-national governments, play an essential role in building a global climate change deal from the bottom-up.
Through its States and Regions program, The Climate Group brought heads of sub-national governments together in events such as Cancun's China Day and Climate Leaders Summit 2010. Agreed statements arising from these events, signed by the organization's members, include the Copenhagen Statement of 2009 and the Cancun Statement of 2010. The States and Regions program also facilitated partnerships between developed and developing nation sub-national governments, giving rise to projects such as assessment of regional vulnerability to climate change impacts.