Sobouh Rahimi

5 Major Shifts in Climate Talks: Takeaways from NYC Climate Week 2023

Climate Week NYC is a whirlwind of independent high-profile events, conferences, and forums where participants discuss topics like renewable energy, sustainable business practices, climate policy, and environmental innovation. Hosted during the UN General Assembly, the events provide a platform for leaders to announce new climate-related commitments and initiatives - while

“Burning Man for Climate Geeks” That’s how Cara Buckley of the New York Times describes late September in New York City.  Scheduled around the UN General Assembly, there are literally hundreds of events in the span of just one week. This was the second year that I attended – and this time, I came prepared. I had an itinerary packed with over forty-five panels, networking events, receptions, dinners, expos and more.

NYC’s Climate Week is my opportunity to feel the pulse of the broader climate conversation. Coming from my hometown of Houston, the world’s energy capital, I was excited to do so. I carefully listened to and jotted notes from prominent CEOs, political figures, and diplomats as they spoke about their main painpoints and reflected on their experiences.

Here, I’ve connected the dots, compiled my five main takeaways, noting the significant shifts in the climate conversation, and I’ve made them available for you in a five-part series:

How did leaders at Climate Week react to the new wave of political backlash against “ESG”? Now that Companies like Budlight and Target saw real dints in their financial reporting, the mood was tense. Read On >

Logitech’s COO described it as a race where companies “want to be first to be second.” What’s next for the companies that are already carbon-neutral? Read on >

Move over Science, let the Arts talk… or, erm, sing.

Do people listen to the science as much as we hope for? This year, the artists made their case – they have the power to transform the way we approach the climate crisis, and they want a seat at the table. Coming Soon >

"Derisking" is all the rage, but what does it actually mean?

Derisking took center stage at many of the panels at Climate Week this year, whereas it was almost unheard of before. What’s “Derisking” and what’s behind its boom? Coming Soon >

"Transition" is not enough: Time for an Energy "Revolution."

Despite the Politics, The consensus is clear: reliance on oil and gas is waning in favor of a balanced portfolio of energy resources. but some worry the transition is not fast enough. Coming Soon >


While last year’s climate week was a lot of wishful thinking, marketing speak, and yapping. This year, the discussions were vibrant, and I walked away with a nuanced snapshot of the ever-evolving landscape of the climate conversation. I was surprised to hear practical solutions to practical problems instead of farfetched ideas.

This year, leaders know that Carbon Neutrality is within reach and are yearning to go further. They are learning to balance social politics and their imperative to social and sustainable initiatives. The arts are emerging as a powerful force in mobilizing people for climate action, integrating science into their impactful storytelling. But most importantly, progress is being made in the energy transition. Major catalysts like derisking strategies and new technologies are leading an energy revolution. There is a promising shift towards meaningful action in the ongoing battle against climate change.

Many other topics covered this year inspired me, but I could not sum them up in this post.

  • Heat is no longer ignorable – some cities are creating a new role: Chief Heat Officers.
  • Supply Chain Traceability and blockchain technologies legitimize and empower waste pickers, allowing for a better circular economy.
  • There is a rising demand for business reporting on biodiversity
  • Is the water crisis being ignored? Why the UN says water cannot be commodified.


If you’d like me to explore these topics in-depth, comment below!

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