Climate Week 2015: The Main Events

Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S. coincides with a week of festivities in New York dedicated to saving the planet.

The Climate March in New York in 2014
Climate Week 2014 was memorable for the huge turnout for the Climate March in New York. Credit: South Bend Voice, via Flickr

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A year ago, hundreds of thousands of protesters snaked their way through midtown Manhattan as part of the pivotal People’s Climate March, the centerpiece of Climate Week, an annual collection of climate-focused protests, conferences and panels in New York.

This year’s Climate Week—the seventh—kicked off over the weekend. More than 100 events fill the official calendar, which coincides with the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, where world leaders will adopt a new set of development goals. Pope Francis’ speeches to both Congress and the UN, a climate rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to coincide with the Pope’s tour, and the state visit of China’s President Xi Jinping are not officially part of Climate Week, but are timed just about perfectly to round out the excitement.

Here is InsideClimate News’ handy guide to the events that will make news during Climate Week:

Note: All times Eastern. Some events will be live-streamed. Click on links for more information.

Francis Fever

Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S. will include  his speeches to Congress and the UN, a meeting with homeless people, a visit to a prison and presiding over Catholic masses in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.

Pope Francis to Address Congress

At the invitation of Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the Pope will address both House and Senate members, and then make  a public appearance outside the Capitol Building.

Thursday, 9:20 a.m.

Climate Change Rally on the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

An estimated 200,000 people are expected to gather on the National Mall in support of Pope Francis’ call for climate action.


Pope Economics/Pope Ecology

A panel discussion on the significance of the papal encyclical on climate change and the pope’s call for drastic changes in lifestyle, production and consumption to avert environmental catastrophe.

Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m.

Pope Francis to Address United Nations

The Pope will speak to gathered world leaders ahead of the UN’s official adoption of a new development strategy to guide its agenda for the next 15 years.

Friday, 8:30 a.m.

United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

International Conference on Sustainable Development

Stakeholders from government, academia, the United Nations, international agencies, NGOs and grassroots organizations will meet at Columbia University to discuss the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Wednesday, 9 a.m.

The Role of Business in Advancing Global Goals

Global business leaders, policy makers and key influential voices will discuss how to support the Sustainable Development Goals through 2030, as well as how to accelerate the transition to a thriving and just Net Zero emissions economy by 2050.

Thursday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

70th General Assembly of the United Nations, Summit to Adopt the Post2015 Development Agenda

Leaders from 193 countries will commit to 17 development goals that aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and combat climate change. The new goals will shape the UN’s agenda through 2030.

Friday through Sunday

Conferences and Panels

Corporations and Climate Adaptation: Innovation in Emerging Economies

A discussion of the innovative techniques corporations around the globe are developing to save their businesses from the impacts of climate change.

Wednesday, 8:30 to 10 a.m.

REV4NY Exchange

State and city officials and renewable energy leaders meet to discuss the transition to a clean, resilient and affordable energy system in New York.

Thursday and Friday

Climate, Data and Journalism

How journalists can identify and use climate data in their storytelling.

Thursday, 1 to 5:30 p.m.

Call to Action for Christian Leaders: Preparing and Responding to Natural Disasters

Because catastrophic floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, and extreme heat and cold events are happening at an increasing rate and intensity, churches discuss the need to be ready to help when calamity strikes.

Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Urban Innovation for Livable Cities

A forum to explore how Denmark and New York City are turning climate-related risks into opportunities for creating environmentally and economically sustainable, vibrant and livable cities.

Friday, 1 to 7:30 p.m.

Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

An annual meeting for policymakers, heads of state, NGOs, and business leaders to discuss solutions to the world’s pressing problems, from climate change to education.

Saturday through Tuesday

Social Good Summit

A two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world.

Sunday and Monday

Women Speak: Climate Justice on the Road to Paris & Beyond

A look at how important women are to the fight against global warming. Speakers include policymakers, human rights advocates, indigenous groups and environmental leaders.

Tuesday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Activism & Arts:

Rainforest Walk through Times Square: An Augmented Sound Experience

An augmented reality project that allows cellphone users to walk through New York and experience the soundscapes of the Amazon Rainforest.

Wednesday, walks begin at 3 and 5 p.m.

Music for a Sustainable Planet

String musicians will perform a musical interpretation of what is at stake with climate change, and the solutions available to combat it.

Thursday, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Under One Sky – Dag Hammarskjold Park

Activists will gather in a park across from the UN in a show of support for the new Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change.

Thursday, 6 p.m.

Global Citizen Festival

A music festival that aims to draw attention to poverty and environment issues. Tickets are free, but must be earned by engaging in activism, such as writing to members to Congress and signing petitions. Headliners include Pearl Jam, Beyonce, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran.

Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.