Key Takeaways from Bloomberg Green Festival: Day 3

Five Key Takeaways

Bloomberg Green Festival, Day 3

By Chelsea Hoon & Mark MIller, Bloomberg Live

The Bloomberg Green Festival is a true thought leadership experience operating at the crossroads of sustainability, culture, food, technology, science, politics and entertainment. Built to foster solutions-oriented conversations, the five-day festival features a mix of panels, presentations, fireside chats, and interactive elements. Focused on core issues of climate action, the Green Festival is a celebration of the thinkers, scientists and practitioners leading the way in the climate era.

Click here to view video of today’s event. 

Day 3 speakers included the following:

  • Herman Bulls, Vice Chairman, Americas, JLL
  • Gina McCarthy, President and Chief Executive Officer, NRDC
  • Rostin Behnam, Commissioner, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Bob Litterman, Chairman of the Risk Committee, Kepos Capital
  • Mary Schapiro, Vice Chair for Global Public Policy,, Bloomberg
  • Ezgi Barcenas, Global Vice President of Sustainability, AB InBev
  • Mindy S. Lubber, CEO & President, Ceres
  • Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer, Mars
  • Neil Murray, Global CEO, Corporate Solutions, JLL
  • Thomas Jonas, Co-Founder and CEO, Nature’s Fynd
  • Dr. Kristian Edwards, Founder, BLK + GRN
  • Sarah Paiji Yoo, CEO & Co-Founder, Blueland
  • Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 
  • Kara Hurst, Head of Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon
  • Miguel Veiga-Pestana, SVP, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, RB
  • James Gowen, Global Supply Chain Operations and Chief Sustainability Officer, Verizon
  • Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director Earth System Science Center, Penn State University
  • Nigel Topping, COP26 High-Level Champion for Climate Action   
  • Lindsay Levin, Founding Partner, TED Countdown and CEO, Leaders’ Quest


Bloomberg moderators included:

  • Lisa Abramowicz, Co-Host, Bloomberg Surveillance 
  • Nat Bullard, Chief Content Officer, BloombergNEF
  • John Fraher, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg
  • Mallika Kapur, Deputy Global Editor, Bloomberg Live
  • Chris Rovzar, Editorial Director, Bloomberg Pursuits
  • Aaron Rutkoff, Executive Editor, Bloomberg Green
  • Jess Shankleman, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
  • Alix Steel, Anchor, Bloomberg Television

Five Key Takeaways from Day 3

The Bloomberg Green Festival began Day 3 with a focus on the role of policy, power, and law in climate action. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, President & CEO, NRDC, spoke about the intersection of systemic inequality in America and climate change saying the two issues aren’t unrelated. The Black community and people of color are most at risk from the changing climate, she said. “If we neglect to think about that, we won’t invest in transportation,” more energy-efficient housing, and other clean energy projects, she said. McCarthy served under President Barack Obama and, when asked about the climate policy rollbacks we’ve seen under the current administration, she maintained, “what we really lost is time, and in a climate crisis that’s the biggest loss we can have.” 

Earlier this month federal regulators who oversee commodities markets released a report, the first of its kind, which outlined how climate change poses significant risks to U.S. financial markets. Bob Litterman, Chairman of the Risk Committee at Kepos Capital LP., spoke at Bloomberg Green about it. Litterman noted, “capital is flowing toward the old economy, not the new low carbon economy.” “Financial markets need regulators, policy makers and congressional support to change the situation,” he said. Rostin Behnam, Commissioner of  the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, added, “we need to start to think about climate change as a real challenge to financial markets, and we need to be better prepared.”

Bloomberg Green featured some of the world’s leading sustainability experts on how Covid-19 has affected how they are thinking about investing in sustainability. Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer, Mars, told Bloomberg Senior Executive Editor John Fraher, the initial stages of the pandemic “got everyone thinking about the supply chain.” There was this intense focus on “can we keep running?” he said. Mindy Lubber, CEO, Ceres, which focuses on the world’s sustainability challenges said, “Covid showed us what systemic risk looks like — how it disrupts human life, resources and the economy.”

In a discussion on coalition building to combat climate change, Christiana Figueres, who led the U.N. process resulting in the 2015 Paris Agreement, said the pact “needs to be implemented and it needs to be implemented in a timely fashion.” She compared the twin crises facing the world — the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing climate change — and noted that there is no vaccine to solve the climate challenge. “If we do not manage to reduce our emissions by one half over the next 10 years,” Figueres said, we will walk into a world of constant, exponentially increasing physical destruction, economic destruction, impoverished health, and human misery — not the world we want.”

Echoing that theme, Kara Hurst, Head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, which has created the Climate Pledge, along with Global Optimism, said, “We are no longer in the timespan where we can make incremental changes. We just need to make leaps and bounds.” The Climate Pledge calls for reaching net carbon neutrality by 2040. James Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer, Verizon, said companies and individuals should not wait for governments to take action first. “If we sit around and wait for things to be legislated or regulations to be put in place, we wouldn’t really move the needle very fast,” he said.

Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director Earth System Science Center, Penn State University, offered a bracing assessment of the environmental challenges we face right now, today. The giant fires burning in the American West and the extremely active hurricane system currently underway are all signs that climate change has altered our lives. “We are literally watching the effects of climate change play out in real time,” Mann said in an interview with Bloomberg Green Executive Editor Aaron Rutkoff. 

Mann also expressed concern that the timeline of effects of climate change seems to have accelerated. “It is alarming that we are seeing this this early,” he said. “What it tells us is that we do have a crisis on our hands.” He cited President Donald Trump’s continued climate denial as a major threat to progress. And if he is re-elected? “In that event, extraplanetary exploration would become ever more important,” Mann said. “I don’t think this planet can survive another four years of Donald Trump.”

Bonus Key Takeaway from Day 3

As part of the GREENTECH FESTIVAL, which started today in Berlin, Nico Rosberg, founder of the festival and a former Formula 1 world champion, kicked off a SW!TCH GREEN segment highlighting some of the world’s most inspiring people leading the way on protecting the environment. Bloomberg Green is the media partner for SW!TCH GREEN. Speakers included Dr. Jane Goodall, Robert Redford, Ellen MacArthur, Sundar Pichai and others. It concluded with an appearance by Sting. He recounted his 1988 trip to the Amazon rainforest where he spent time with the Kayapo, a people who were experiencing the effects of fires and development. The Kayapo chief, Sting said, warned him, “Look, what’s happening in my village with all the burning, one day will happen in yours.”

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