Summit is by invitation only.

21 September 2017
Scandinavia House
58 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016




Read the UNFCCC’s article about the Summit
Read the speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the Zero Emission Summit

Zero Emissions Summit: summary of discussions, tools and press releases

Summary of Zero Emissions Summit 2017 – PDF

Press release Sustainable Westchester Zero Emissions Summit – PDF

Press release National media Sustainable Westchester Zero Emissions Summit – PDF

Zero Emissions Summit: Tools helping citizens to mitigate climate change – PDF



With current national emission targets set under the Paris Agreement global warming is expected to exceed 3° C, much higher than the well below 2° C goal agreed in Paris in 2015. It is foreseen that Parties will revise their national targets every five years. There is serious risk, however, that this process will be too slow to decrease emissions in time to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. Based on recent studies the remaining carbon budget or additional emissions allowed to stay under +2° C is 700-800 gigatons CO2 equivalent. At the current emission level (~50 gigatons CO2 equivalent/year) the available carbon budget will be used up within 15 years.

A large number of local authorities, private corporations and civil society organisations are already active in developing solutions to supplement government action. This is promising but needs to be strongly supported by citizens if it is to reach the required scale and speed. Based on studies conducted in Finland, the choices of the citizens have an important role to play in achieving at least half of the necessary emissions reductions. Citizens should be engaged as key drivers for this transformation.


This event is a kick-off for establishing International Citizen Action Network (I-CAN) that will initially target the EU, North-America, China, and India. The objective of this network of local authorities, businesses, NGOs, religious organisations, trade unions, academic institutions and international organisations will be to mobilize as large a number of citizens as possible to take action in their own life, pledging to halve their own carbon footprint in ten years and offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions. The already launched Citizens’ Climate Pledge initiative will serve as basis (see http://climateneutralnow.org/Pages/Individuals.aspx), with the first milestone to get 100 million Citizen Climate Pledges by 2020. This represents potential emission reductions of around 0,5 – 1 gigatons CO2 equivalent per year.


1.   To raise awareness about the relevance of citizen climate action in helping achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.
2.   Share best practices, success stories, plans and commitments and to demonstrate useful tools that could be applied in mobilizing consumers to make climate-friendly, sustainable decisions.
3.   To initiate International Citizens Action Network (I-CAN) and to begin a “tradition” for focusing into citizen climate actions on Zero Emission Day (originally a Canadian initiative), to stimulate discussion and outreach on citizens’ role for sustainable consumer choices. The objective of I-CAN initiative is establish teams focusing into citizens climate actions in the EU, North-America, China, and India and other countries/geographies interested in mobilizing citizens.
4.   To launch a pilot study on citizens’ increased role in climate change action at the sub-national level – first in Westchester County in New York State – with a view to expand these pilots to major cities and other municipalities nationally and internationally.


Sustainable Westchester Inc., Scandinavia House, and Global Crisis information Network Inc (GCINET), with the support of the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), Stormwarning Association and the Climate Leadership Council in Finland and the Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability in Brussels.


07:45 am – 08:15 am   Light Breakfast (Lobby to Auditorium)

08:30 am – 08:35 am   Welcome and introduction of keynote speakers /
Mr. Tapio Kanninen, President of Global Crisis Information Network Inc and Mr. Chris Burdick, Chairman of the Board of the Sustainable Westchester Inc (Auditorium)
08:35 am – 09:00 am   Opening keynote presentations
– H.E. Mr. Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland
– Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
– H.E. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh

09:00 am – 09:15 am   The status of climate change
– Mr. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization
09:15 am – 09:20 am   Greetings from Christina Figueres, Convener of Mission 2020 and former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC /
Ms. Zoe Tcholak-Antitch, Senior Advisor, Mission 2020
09.20 am – 10:15 am   Panel: Enabling and encouraging citizens for climate action in countries, cities and counties /
Moderator: Mr. Jouni Keronen, Executive Director, Climate Leadership Council of Finland, Co-founder, Stormwarning Association
– Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union
– Ms. Jennifer MacIntyre, Ambassador for Climate Change, Canada
– Mr. Bill Peduto, Mayor, Pittsburgh
– Mr. Bryan Buggey, Director, Strategic Initiatives & Sector Development, Vancouver Economic Commission
– Mr. Chris Burdick, Town Supervisor of Bedford, New York State, Chairman of the Board of Sustainable Westchester Inc.

10.15 am – 10.30 am   Coffee break and demonstration of existing tools (Lobby to Auditorium)
10.30 am – 11:50 am   Businesses, NGOs, religion (Auditorium)
10.30 am – 11:00 am   Keynote presentations
– Success cases from Finnish businesses: Mr. Henrik Ehrnrooth, Chairman of the Board, Climate Leadership Council in Finland, Pöyry, Otava
– Using business to invent individual action: Ms. Anne-Maria Salonius, CEO, Bank of Åland, Finland
– Coordinating NGOs for citizens climate action: Mr. Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director, CAN International

11.00 am – 11:50 am   Panel: Inspiring citizens’ action /
Moderator: Mr. Joseph Carvin, Executive Director of OneWorld, Board Member of Sustainable Westchester Inc
– Mr. Ben Banerjee, Co-founder of Swiss Impact Investment Association, Member of Board of Councillors of EastWest Institute
– Climate Neutral Now, Speaker from UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
– Ms. Mari Pantsar, Director, Sitra -The Finnish Innovation Fund
– Mr. Joseph Robertson, Global Strategy Director, Citizens’ Climate Lobby
– Monsignor Tomasz Grysa, Deputy Head of Mission, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

11.50 am – 12:00 am   Conclusions and next steps;
– Mr. Kai Mykkänen, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development, Finland

12.00 am – 01.00 pm   Lunch break (Auditorium)

Afternoon sessions

01.00 pm – 02:00 pm   Plenary session: Practical cases of implementing citizens’ action /
Moderator: Mr. Tapio Kanninen, President of Global Crisis Information Network Inc
– Mr. Chris Burdick, Chairman of the Board of the Sustainable Westchester Inc
– Dr. Liisa Rohweder, Secretary General, WWF Finland, Chairman of the WWF Global Arctic Program
– Ms. Tuija Kalpala, Commercial Development Manager, Neste, North America
– Mr. Fredrick von Schoultz, Deputy Mayor of Porvoo, Finland and Joseph Carvin, Board Member of Sustainable Westchester Inc
– Mr. Teemu Kirjonen, General Manager, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Finland

02.10 pm – 04.00 pm   Parallel workshops to share best practises and planning next steps

Working Group No 1- Coordinating Westchester’s Environmental Efforts for Maximum Impact /
Moderator: Mr. Bob Elliott, CEO of Sustainable Westchester Inc (Auditorium) – see more detailed description of the Working Group No 1 at the end

Working Group No 2 – Launching “International Citizens Action Network” (I-CAN): Concept, structure, discussion / Moderators: Tapio Kanninen, President of Global Crisis Information Network Inc and Jouni Keronen, CEO, Climate Leadership Council and Co-Founder of Stormwarning Association in Finland (Fifth Floor Conference Room)

04.00 pm – 05.00 pm   Conclusions from workshops and next steps /
All modeators of previous sessions (Auditorium)
05:00 pm – 08.00 pm   Reception and demonstration of existing tools /
Opening remarks by Mr. Veijo Komulainen, Consulate General of Finland (Volvo Hall on 2nd floor)

Working Group No 1- Coordinating Westchester’s Environmental Efforts for Maximum Impact: Sustainable Westchester sees this conference as a launch pad for discussion on how to best promote a coordinated and comprehensive grassroots effort in Westchester that mobilizes business, the public sector, not-for-profits and citizen groups to take action to measure, reduce and offset our collective carbon footprint. The afternoon session will seek to generate a Westchester based conversation on how best to achieve these goals.

For more information email info@gcinet.org.