RECAP: UN Climate Action Summit Calls for Increased Action

Action against climate change is needed now more than ever. Scientists recorded the past five years as the warmest on record. Sea levels are rising; carbon dioxide levels are at a record high; ice caps are disappearing; natural disasters are multiplying with increased intensities. Governments, businesses, and organizations are under pressure to mitigate these effects. World leaders convened at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday to present their plans to address this climate crisis.

As heads of state gathered at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, the United Nations invited them to address efforts their countries are taking to meet the goals of the 2016 Paris Agreement. Many countries are behind on the voluntary targets they set to limit global warming to below 2C; only a few participating countries are on track to achieve their own objectives. The Climate Action Summit called world leaders to take more aggressive, concrete action to combat global warming. 

What happened during the UN Climate Action Summit?

Even before the dignitaries met in Manhattan, the summit began with an enormous call for collective action. The Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20th, was one of the largest environmental protests in history. Millions of youth protested for accountability and increased climate action. Although climate change is already felt by many, younger generations will bear the lasting effects if world leaders fail to reduce emissions. With the Climate Strike, their collective voices expressed the urgency and importance of immediate action.

Several world leaders seized the opportunity to unveil new climate action plans. Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted India’s new campaigns in renewable energy, water conservation and management, and the reduction of single-use plastic. The remaining participating countries agreed to increase efforts. Although agreeing to intensify efforts, large pollutant contributors, such as China, failed to provide additional details of their plan.

During the last day of the UN Climate Action Summit, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for increased efforts and outlined the repercussions of climate change. “The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win,”Guterres urged. Youth climate activist Greta Thunburg captured headlines with an emotional speech about the failed efforts of world leaders. “People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg told the gathered audience, “and all you talk about is money and eternal fairy tales of economic growth. How dare you?”

Overall, the summit sparked urgency and encouraged extra efforts to reduce emissions but concluded without the commitments for major countries that will be necessary to offset a climate emergency.

Lime Energy’s Impact

For the past twenty-five years, Lime Energy’s work has helped tackle the climate crisis. Through energy efficiency, Lime Energy has saved 3,000 Gigawatt Hours (GWh) of electricity consumption. This savings is equivalent to removing of 450,415 passenger vehicles off the road for one year, avoiding consuming 238,714,189 gallons of gasoline, or avoiding burning 2,319,227,439 pounds of coal. By providing energy-efficient solutions to our utilities and their small business customers, we hope to create a more sustainable, greener future. 

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