Climate Action

Climate leaders discuss multifaceted climate action at the Climate Innovation Virtual Forum 2020

The Climate Innovation Virtual Forum, in collaboration with London Climate Action Week, convened more than 3,000 participants to shape the debate for a green recovery.

  • 02 July 2020
  • Rachel Cooper

The Climate Innovation Virtual Forum, in collaboration with London Climate Action Week, convened more than 3,000 participants to shape the debate for a green recovery.

Nick Mabey, CEO of E3G – the founding partner of London Climate Action Week - opened the Virtual Forum calling for events to be more than just meetings of minds and sharing of ideas - they must drive action, shape our ambition and ensure we Build Back Better.

Whilst Nick said “we need to work out how to make Build Back Better a reality, not an objective” this would only be possible if it becomes the ‘common goal’, commented the COP25 Climate Action Champion, Gonzalo Muñoz.

With only 24 hours to digest the UK Government’s “build, build, build” recovery strategy, the opening panel dived into a heated discussion on how this would impact a ‘green recovery’.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, called the commitment to net zero ‘essential’, emphasising the need for cross-sector collaboration, whilst Alok Sharma’s Chief Scientific Advisor, John Loughhead, tried to highlight the strategy’s ‘green’ and ‘clean’ credentials.

Rounding off the morning sessions: a 'Climate Leaders Live Interview’ the IEA’s Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol. Like Emma Howard Boyd, Dr Birol was confident that multilateralism and cross sector collaboration does hold the key to a net-zero future.

“We need to build a bridge between the energy and climate communities.”

After the break – in which participants could schedule in meetings with one another through the AI-based application, the sessions resumed with 3 short presentations on the industries, technologies and innovations we should scale for a low-carbon economy.

One thing was clear from EDF’s presentation, the right energy strategy would ensure we stay on the net-zero pathway but that funding for low-carbon ‘breakthrough’ technologies – like Zenobe Energy’s own battery tech – must grow.

In a second 'Climate Leaders Live' interview, Nik Gowing was joined by Tom Rivett-Carnac, Founding Partner of Global Optimism and chief advisor to COP21 president, Christiana Figures. Tom reiterated Sir John's point about the urgency of time but was excited, positive and optimistic of the future we will rebuild, claiming the tools are there, the objective is set, so how do we make this a reality?

The Virtual Forum closed with a panel on the importance of finance and investment for a sustainable recovery. Once again, the ‘how’, the ‘what’ and the reality became the panels major focus with Catherine Howard, CEO of ShareAction, saying many institutions still have a rather large 'gap to close' between rhetoric and reality.

"There is a real need for the finance sector to be held accountable. We will not achieve the Paris goals without mobilising finance – it has a critical role to play."

We would like to thank our Industry Partners, EDF Energy and Zenobe Energy, as well as our Institutional Partners, expert speakers and of course to our Chair, for their invaluable contribution.

Climate Action's launched its Roadmap to COP26 Digital Event Series, designed to help maintain momentum and drive commitments on climate action from business and governments at a time when climate and environmental diplomacy has been put on hold. You can view upcoming digital events here.