Press Release

Global Leaders Launch New Alliance Focused on Climate Resilient Critical Infrastructure

  • April 24, 2020
  • 5:00 pm

ACRE Aims to Provide Global Leadership for the Climate Resilience Movement

WASHINGTON – Today, Brian Finlay, President and CEO of the Stimson Center, along with leaders from global business and organizations, announced the launch of the Alliance for a Climate Resilient Earth (ACRE). ACRE is a member-driven organization that increases collaboration and coordination between city, business and policy leaders who are grappling with the challenge of building critical infrastructure that is climate-resilient.   The group will turn existing research into policy and practice, operating as a private forum for members to share best practices, data and lessons learned and identify opportunities for collaboration.

Founding members of ACRE include a diverse range of organizations and leaders, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Council for Science and the Environment, the American Water Resources Association, Conservation International, EarthX, Wood Plc, NASA, AECOM and many others.

The announcement was made at the Resilient Cities Virtual Conference, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and hosted by EarthX and the National Geographic Society.

“The existential security threat posed by climate change cannot be faced by any one government, company, or organization alone. We must combine the financial power and technical expertise of the private sector and the resources of city and other governmental leaders with the commitment of nongovernmental organizations to increase climate resilience where people live,” said Finlay. “While the Stimson Center is proud to house this initiative, it will be a member-driven, global endeavor, designed to promote and help coordinate a growing climate resilience movement.”

ACRE’s founder and Chairman, Jan Hartke, said: “ACRE is premised on the idea that we are strongest when we work together. This Alliance will help create innovative new public/private partnerships and forge a culture of preparedness in the United States and around the world.”

“This alliance of enlightened members is an historic undertaking,” said Stan Bronson, Director of Partnerships. “ACRE is bringing together institutional investors, engineering companies, insurance and innovative technology firms, bilateral and multinational institutions, environmental, academic and civic groups.”

“ACRE is ready to meet the global challenge, especially with new forms of finance that advance resilience, security and sustainability,” observes Elise Zoli, a partner at Jones Day. “We need to mobilize capital on a scale not yet seen to invest in resilient infrastructure to advance innovation, to move capital, in a manner that delivers on the future that we all want.”

The COO and Chief Strategy Officer of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Jerry Buckwalter, agrees. “We joined the alliance because it supports our goals to develop innovative criteria and rigorous standards for resilient and sustainable infrastructure that will withstand the rising levels of anticipated disasters that are predicted over the life of these infrastructure projects.”

Scientists have warned that cities and societies must prepare for unprecedented disasters such as hurricanes, epic floods, wildfires and extreme weather events. “The increasing frequency and severity of these threats has become a matter of national security,” according to Admiral Steven G. Smith. “As societies, we cannot afford to stay in our respective siloes. We need this alliance.”

Peter Hall, Director of Sustainable Infrastructure for Wood plc, sees the need for an organization like ACRE to really drive collaboration and innovation by bringing together partners across a range of stakeholders to accelerate the collective will and resources needed to unlock resilient solutions for some of the world’s most critical challenges.  Hall said, “Moving critical infrastructure beyond what it is to what is does – is so important in the current crisis we are living through to transform and build projects that can last, benefit communities and support the SDGs.”

ACRE Senior Advisor Chris Walker sees a pattern from his past work. “Just as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development was based on the need for businesses to collaborate to better serve on the broader needs of society, the finance and insurance sectors need to be focused on mobilizing resources to lift cities and infrastructure to a higher level of resilience, where safety, security and sustainability are the pillars of a better world.”

The launch of this history making alliance on the virtual stage at EarthX demonstrates that the 50- year environmental movement still resonates with global vitality and offers hope and inspiration to our children and children’s children for the next 50 years.

ACRE is a project of the Stimson Center. Read more at www.stimson.org/project/acre/

The Stimson Center promotes international security, shared prosperity, and justice through applied research and independent analysis, deep engagement and policy innovation. Read more at www.stimson.org.

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