Ceres Calls for Greater Ambition and Action in the Wake of Sobering National Climate Assessment

Business and governments play critical role in accelerating transition to a stronger, more resilient and cleaner economy, but action needs to go further and faster and be much bolder
Nov 15, 2023 12:20 PM ET
Campaign: Climate Change

November 15, 2023 /3BL/ - Ceres President and CEO Mindy Lubber issued the following statement today following the release of the fifth National Climate Assessment.

“The findings of the assessment are sobering and proof-positive that we need to significantly accelerate and scale up the transition already underway to clean energy and away from fossil fuels. The science, data, and facts are crystal clear: we must limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to stabilize the climate, protect our water and natural resources, and build a livable future for all. Evidence shows that a stronger, more resilient, cleaner economy is achievable. Business is already innovating and speeding up the transition at pace and scale, but we need action to go further and faster and be much bolder.”

The assessment found that on average there was a billion-dollar weather and climate disaster every four months in our country in the 1980s. By the 2010s, there was one every three weeks. This year, the United States experienced one every two weeks—setting a record for extreme weather events totaling $73 billion or more. Extreme weather now costs the U.S. at least $150 billion a year — not including the very real costs stemming from loss of life, healthcare-related, or damages to ecosystems, according to the assessment. With global greenhouse gas emissions and average temperatures continuing to rise, these numbers will continue to grow and dampen economic growth by 0.13% of GDP for every 1 degree rise in global temperature.

The United Nations also warned today that countries' climate pledges are ‘severely off track’ and will cut carbon emissions by just two percent by the end of the decade from 2019 levels, far short of the 43 percent fall needed to limit warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The assessment comes ahead of COP28 and follows the first global stocktake report which showed that the world is not on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. This starkly worded report highlighted the steps the global community needed to keep the goals in reach, including increased investment of trillions of dollars as well as the phase out of fossil fuels.

“COP28 will be a pivotal moment to raise global ambition and action. Investors and companies are already setting net zero targets, laying out transition plans, and engaging with governments, but more needs to be done to reduce methane emissions and reverse nature loss and water degradation across key sectors. And we need governments to act including implementing the historic investments of the Inflation Reduction Act, mandating corporate climate disclosure, and phasing out fossil fuels.”

As part of today’s announcement, the Biden administration also announced a new $6 billion commitment in investments to make communities—many who have been underserved and underrepresented—more resilient in the face of the climate crisis through advancing environmental justice, strengthening the nation’s electric grid, reducing flood risk, and bolstering conservation. This coming on top of the IRA’s investment in underserved and vulnerable communities, represents an unprecedented commitment to populations who have traditionally been left out of climate remediation efforts. Ceres remains committed to mobilizing private sector action on our global threats and building a more just and inclusive economy. Among our impactful initiatives include Ambition 2030 to drive emissions reductions in six high-emitting sectors; Nature Action 100 to drive corporate action on nature loss and biodiversity decline; and the Ceres Valuing Water Finance Initiative to engage companies to value and act on water as a financial risk.

About Ceres 

Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit www.ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.

Media Contact: Reginald Zimmerman, rzimmerman@ceres.org, 617-247-0700 ext. 136