New York Climate Week, the annual climate event held by The Climate Group, brings together international leaders from government, business, and NGOs alongside the UN General Assembly to discuss climate action, and I had the privilege of attending this year!
Coming in from California, where our sponsored bill Senate Bill 253 had just passed through the state legislature, I was excited to spread the news and educate folks about the work we’ve done over the past three years to help the bill pass and how, if signed into law, it would be setting the standard for corporate greenhouse gas transparency worldwide.
But as it turned out, I didn’t have to.
The talk of the town: Corporate accountability
I arrived in New York prepared with the same elevator pitch we’ve been using for months – a simple explanation that SB 253, which would mandate every company based in the U.S. with over $1 billion in annual revenue to report their carbon emissions publicly, would be the first of its scale in the world.
But to my surprise, every person I met not only already knew exactly what SB 253 was, but SB 253 was all anyone seemed to talk about! As soon as I introduced myself to new folks based across the country and told them that EnviroVoters played a role in getting SB 253 out of the legislature, the next word out of their mouths was “Congratulations!”
Leaders from other countries discussed how these disclosures would affect their climate action plans. Major corporations informed us that they had been eyeing the bill for months and were already planning to implement the regulations. And nonprofit leaders were thrilled by how massive a success this new legislation was and were already asking us what we were working on next.
EnviroVoters as a climate powerhouse
I was able to meet several climate champion California Senators, and they were all thrilled byEnviroVoters’ presence at Climate Week. EnviroVoters even received a huge shout-out from Senator Scott Wiener at the Energizing America: Innovating clean energy infrastructure for a sustainable future event held on the Main Stage. He credited EnviroVoters as a major reason the bill made it onto the Governor’s desk this year.
Our CEO, Mary Creasman, even spoke at Climate Week. She joined the SB 253 co-sponsors on stage at an event touting our recently passed landmark corporate climate disclosure bills at Climate Week – SB 253 and SB 261. She also participated in a fireside chat hosted by Watershed’s Head of Policy for a conversation on what companies need to know now that SB 253 is on its way to be signed.
EnviroVoters’ CEO, Mary Creasman, speaking at the Climate Corporate Accountability Press Event
The climate clock is ticking
One of the highlights of my week was witnessing Senator Lena Gonzalez be surprised with her very own Climate Clock for her work on SB 252.
The Climate Clock is a demonstration of how quickly the planet is approaching 1.5 °C of global warming, given current emissions trends. It also shows the amount of CO2 already emitted and the global warming to date.
Senator Gonzalez accepting a Climate Clock for her work on SB 252
Senator Gonzalez’s bill would have required the agencies that invest the pension funds of state employees and teachers to divest from fossil fuel companies. I was actually part of the group distracting her when the folks at Climate Clock surprised her.
I was even lucky enough to interview her, along with the two other Senators who authored the Corporate Climate Accountability package – Senator Wiener and Senator Henry Stern. Check out that video here:
As exciting as this week was, I kept thinking about what was next. Our work is still far from done, and though we’ve made massive strides these past couple years, there’s so much to do to prevent climate catastrophe.
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