EIA at New York Climate Week – a time for key actions to tackle runaway global warming

As New York City buzzed with actions and meetings for Climate Week, EIA campaigners were on the ground to amplify word of our work on methane, plastics and fossil fuels.


Marching in unity

EIA campaigners Tim and Kim on the march (c) EIA

Alongside 75,000 individuals, representing a diverse coalition of NGOs, citizens, trade unions, indigenous communities, policy-makers, scientists and doctors, EIA marched with a resounding demand for immediate action to address the root cause of the climate crisis: the end of fossil fuels.

The aim was to put pressure on world leaders gathering in the city during the week for the United Nations General Assembly.

The UN Environment Programme has found that the world’s governments plan to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5C.

Urgency hangs in the air and it is imperative that countries unite to cease the expansion of new fossil fuel production and to phase out existing production, all while accelerating the deployment of renewable energy solutions.

This was the message made loud and clear in New York last Sunday – and also around the world with more than 700 global actions organised in 65 countries.


UN Climate Ambition Summit

The New York Climate Ambition Summit gets under way (c) EIA

At the UN Climate Ambition Summit, EIA followed the addresses of nations and stakeholders.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres opened the summit with a reminder that “humanity has opened the gates of Hell” and that current climate action falls significantly short of the colossal challenge at hand. He emphasised the justifiable anger of the world’s poorest nations about inadequate ambition, insufficient climate finance and surging costs to combat climate impacts.

It’s worth noting that not every country had the opportunity to speak; the UN withheld the platform from the US, UK, Norway and Australia due to their failure to demonstrate tangible progress toward ending fossil fuels with a just transition while ramping up climate finance.


Sending the message from the streets (c) EIA

Those leaders who were given the floor echoed the unquestionable truth that the use of fossil fuels is the root of climate change. This was an historic moment for the UN – never before had this message been sent so emphatically.

For example, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Kausea Natano, highlighted the growing momentum for addressing climate change through multilateral efforts, including the development of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to complement the Paris Agreement and ensure a just global transition.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro emphasised the critical need to leave fossil fuel resources untapped beneath the Earth’s surface and called for compensation for those countries which make this courageous choice.

He stressed that meeting climate objectives also requires “extinguishing the chimneys” in major contributors such as China the UK and US and further highlighted the global elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and the allocation of financial resources to safeguard vital carbon-rich regions such as the Amazon.

President Gabriel Boric of Chile spotlighted the need to combat corporate greenwashing and to ensure that major corporations adhere to the rules of sustainability.


Engaging in conversations

Tim being inspirational during the townhall meeting (c) EIA

EIA’s engagement extended beyond the march. Throughout the week, we participated in multiple side events that revolved around the critical topics of methane emissions, plastics and fossil fuels.

EIA Senior Lawyer Tim Grabiel took the stage at a townhall organised by the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative to share his lessons from the journey towards making the Plastic Treaty a reality.

His experience was inspiring proof that change can happen faster than we imagine, with NGOs showing the way to address critical issues.