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Climate Week preview: Fusing climate action and the SDGs to the COVID recovery. Raging wildfires across the western U.S. Intentional ravaging of tropical rainforests. Flooding in Bangladesh, India and West Africa. Melting ice in the Arctic Circle. Against this backdrop, this month’s ‘Climate Week’ is bringing together global leaders to breathe life into the stalled climate action agenda. The annual smorgasbord of events, largely online this year, follows this week’s 75th meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. For U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, the gatherings are a chance to restart both the climate agenda and progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as well. With current rates of progress, the world will be 52 years late to meet the SDGs. COVID could push that back to 2092. Says Ceres’ Mindy Lubber: “This decade must be a decade of action.”
Indeed, the COVID crisis presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity, according to the International Energy Agency, to build climate action and social justice into national recovery plans. The European Union committed €550 billion (over seven years) to a “green recovery”; Democrats in the U.S. are pushing similar initiatives. A new report by America’s Pledge, founded by Michael Bloomberg and former California Gov. Jerry Brown, said a “groundswell of bottom-up climate leadership” by states, cities and companies could cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by more than one-third below 2005 levels by 2030. The real key: A re-engaged federal government. National leadership on grid modernization and electric vehicle infrastructure