Six international business organisations have called on political and business leaders meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos to set more ambitious emission reduction targets.
In a statement sent to government leaders today, the business
organisations said emission reduction targets in the order of 50 to 85 per cent by 2050 were needed, as well as interim targets, in order to keep global temperature rises below 2°C and to get the
international business community to sign up to a low carbon future.
It is the contention of the six organisations – The Climate Group, Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), Carbon Markets & Investors Association (CMIA), Clean Economy Network, Combat Climate Change (3C) and Copenhagen Climate Council – that last month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
fell far short of what many businesses needed to encourage their investment in low carbon solutions
They have offered some praise for the Copenhagen Accord – for getting all emitting nations, including the US and China, to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the first time – but they say it will only be a success if it spurs a “race to the top” for more ambitious climate action at all levels of national, state and municipal government.
The six organisations – which claim to work with more than 200 leading multinational businesses, from all continents – called for the acceleration of private sector investment in low carbon products, services and infrastructure through innovative finance
and market mechanisms.
They point out that the UN predicts that the private sector will need to provide more than 85 per cent of the estimated US $200 billion (£124 billion) annual investment required to help meet global emissions reductions in 2020. Therefore, they say, limited public finance needs to mobilise considerable flows of private capital through carbon markets and other innovative way of leveraging private sector finance.
They also call for the urgent implementation of a ‘technology mechanism’ that drives innovation, development and transfer – without it, they suggest there is the substantial climate risk of ‘lock-in’ to high-carbon technology and infrastructure, and the financial risk of needing to engineer a rapid shift away from such assets.
The Climate Group ceo, Steve Howard, who is also chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Climate Change, said: “Smart business knows that taking climate action makes good business sense; it is prudent risk management and creates significant opportunities.
“Because industry is the primary driver of jobs and economic growth – and also for cutting global emissions – governments must give business the right tools and incentives to do the job at the scale and speed we need to safeguard our future climate, security and economic prosperity.”
Today’s statement to government calls for more public-private dialogue in the on-going climate talk so that politicians (and their negotiators) can better understand the needs of business.
It also calls for the conclusion of a comprehensive, international agreement by the end of this year.
The call to action from international business groups comes just days before the deadline for governments to register national emissions targets as part of the the Copenhagen Accord.
Although the UN’s top climate change official, Yvo De Boer, made it clear last week that the January 31 cut-off was being regarded as a “soft deadline”, the statement from the business groups today urged all countries to meet it.