The future of the planet is at stake: the intense global climate agenda before the end of 2020

#environmental sustainability #society #climate change

One feature of note in the so-called "new normal" is the merging of the discourse on the climate and the economy, focusing all activities of the climate agenda on these two aspects, which must be intrinsically linked to ensure that recovery leads to a robust, healthy and sustainable economy. Below, we review the main climate-related events up to the end of 2020.

Despite the exceptional circumstances caused by the health and economic crisis that has resulted from COVID-19, the global climate agenda will gain particular momentum in the last part of the year with a wide range of international events, campaigns and political milestones, some virtual, in which Iberdrola will be participate at all levels.


The first appointment on the calendar will take place in the fourth week of September in New York (United States), where the United Nations General Assembly will be held with a wide range of events linked with climate action and the green recovery. In parallel, New York Climate Week is being organised, which illustrates the advances in climate action by large business organisations from a business perspective through events focusing on climate financing, solutions for moving towards electrified, emissions-free transport, with activities organised by the EV 100 coalition to which Iberdrola belongs, the promotion of renewable energies, etc.

Among the events linked to the United Nations (UN), the following stand out because of the presence of the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the level of the speakers:

  • UN Private Sector Forum. The forum will bring together leaders of governments, businesses and international organisations to try to provide solutions to the main problems on the international agenda from the perspective of sustainability and climate action.
  • UN Secretary General's High Level Event on Climate. Promoted each year by Antonio Guterres to energise the climate agenda in readiness for COP, on this occasion the Secretary General will urge the attendees to increase their pressure on their respective governments to present more ambitious climate plans before the end of 2020. In addition to government action, the role of companies will be critical in supporting greater ambition with their own examples, by setting emission reduction targets and business strategies in line with a climate-neutral economy by 2050.

From a broader perspective, the SDG Business Forum will be held, where the contribution of the private sector to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development will be highlighted and the High-Level Meeting on Ocean Stewardship, which will show how the ocean contributes to the health of the planet and how business activities linked with this area extract value in a sustainable manner through offshore wind power, freight transport, sustainable fishing, etc. In this last area, Iberdrola will formalise its commitment to the Principles for a Sustainable Ocean at the United Nations.


In October, the global coalition in support of the climate ambition We Mean Business will take place in Bergen (Norway) together with a TED macro event, TED Countdown, where visibility will be given to business solutions offered by leading companies in five major areas, energy, transport, materials, food and nature, that contribute towards a future with zero net emissions. In each field, projects and business strategies will be presented that show the link between an emission-free economy and value creation.


COP26 should have taken place in Glasgow (Scotland) during the first half of November but it was moved to 2021 because of current circumstances. However, this period will be used by the British presidency of COP26 and the High-Level Climate Champions to energise global climate action and add support to the coalition through a platform of thematic dialogues called the Race to Zero Dialogues. In these dialogues, a large number of representatives from a variety of backgrounds — companies, NGOs, governments, institutions, etc. — will contribute their vision for moving towards a zero-emissions economy from the perspective of their sector: finance, energy, industry, etc. Iberdrola is part of this initiative and will support a high level event about investments aligned with climate objectives (Climate Investment Summit) that will include the participation of leaders from business, institutions and civil society.

In the context of business involvement in the organisation of COP26, the British Presidency has established a forum for business dialogue with prominent leaders, including Iberdrola, as Scottish Power is listed as the COP26 Business Leader in the energy field. Along with these virtual dialogues, instead of the cancelled COP26, important virtual conferences with a business and investment focus will be held in London (United Kingdom), bringing together a large number of representatives of the international community.



Finally, 12 December will mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The COP21 held in that city was a milestone in the climate agenda as an agreement was reached that for the first time had binding global objectives and an innovative governance model that required countries to set targets that would be reviewed every five years and for the first time involved the private sector and civil society in global climate action.

Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in collaboration with the French government, the main global coalitions, UN Global Compact, We Mean Business, Corporate Leaders Group Europe, etc. are working on a schedule of events and commemorative celebrations that will include Iberdrola's close involvement because of the annual collaboration agreement that it has been developing for years with the UNFCCC.

Many of the activities that will take place during these months will be driven by the collaborative platform between governments and civil society known as the Marrakech Partnership. This Partnership has started a consultation process to redefine its strategies and activities and Iberdrola has been very actively involved in developing its own response to this consultation and in working with partnerships in which it collaborates to align interests.