By: Lucy Kessler, YCELP RA
Kicking off Climate Week 2017, Dan Esty, the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy (YCELP) moderated a panel titled “Unstoppable Force” that explored the role of states, cities, and businesses in implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The panel featured a power-house combination of business executives and government representatives including Jerry Brown, the Governor of California; Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Québec; Stephen Badger, Chairman of the Board of Mars; Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington; and David Ige, the Governor of Hawaii.
Climate Week takes place alongside the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and features climate-related events in support of the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Climate Week Summit provides a forum for international leaders from business, government and civil society to highlight global climate action. Esty’s panel did just this – showcasing the “bottom up” strategies that are delivering transformative change across the country and the world.
“At a time of significant geopolitical shifts and changes in US leadership, there is a clear opportunity for subnational governments and business to step forward and lead,” Esty reflected. Indeed, many states, cities and businesses have stepped up and committed to implement climate policies and are supporting international initiatives such as the Renewable Energy 100 commitment (RE100) and the “We Are Still In” campaign, now including over 2,300 entities. “Not only are ‘we still in’”, remarked the Chariman of the Board of Mars, Stephen Badger. “We are all in,” he stated, demonstrating his company’s commitment to climate action.
This high-level dialogue explored how government and corporate leadership on climate are already making a difference, and why global partnerships are key to accelerating jobs, prosperity and innovation.
Norm Ornstein, Political Scientist and Resident Scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, and author of One Nation After Trump, summarized the panel, discussing how climate action is good for people, the economy, and the environment.