Companies Call for Climate Action

LEADERS of almost 200 major multi-national corporations around the world have called for tougher action on climate change from the world’s governments.

The 2°C Challenge, initiated by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, calls on governments attending the Durban event to take decisive action on climate change, because it threatens to “undermine global prosperity and inflict significant social, economic and environmental costs on the world.”

Shell, Unilever, Tesco, Johnson and Johnson, Ricoh, Cemex, Proctor & Gamble, Nedbank, Vodafone, EDF Energy the Lloyd's Banking Group and Vale are among the companies endorsing the "2°C Challenge Communique", which is calling for leaders at COP 17 to agree a robust, equitable and effective agreement on climate change.

The corporations say their goal in releasing the communique is to influence governments ahead of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, in six weeks time.

Corporate leaders warn in their communique that: "Time is running out to keep global warming under 2°C and, if they fail to act, governments "risk permanent damage to their credibility.

"The window to stabilise global warming to less than 2°C, as agreed in Cancun, has almost closed. The International Energy Agency has shown that CO2 emissions in 2010 were the highest on record, and are still rising. While there are examples of strong policies and actions to prevent dangerous climate change, with current progress we will cross the 2°C boundary."

They argue that without a global deal "business will have insufficient clarity or certainty of action to invest to its full potential.” They call for the right action that would "secure a low carbon-emission economy that is more resilient, more efficient and less vulnerable to global shock," they assert.

Truett Tate, Vice Chairman, Lloyds Banking Group, said, "Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues of our time. Effecting change will require a concerted effort between businesses, governments as well as individuals. Lloyds Banking Group remains firmly committed to the important role it can play in this area, from financing renewable energy to helping our customers transition to a low carbon economy."
Despite a lack of support or encouragement form some governments and other setbacks this week, the corporate leaders urge governments to take "immediate action at the national level," in the effort to curb climate change without having to wait for a new international treaty to be in place.

Among the actions that corporations are asking all national governments to adopt are:

  • Help for businesses and consumers to cut emissions by using energy more efficiently
  • A carbon price sufficient to drive necessary emissions reductions
  • Effective adaptation programmes
  • Increased funding for innovation, investment and low-carbon development
  • Targeted regulation and procurement, together with new thinking on intellectual property rights to encourage low-carbon innovation
  • Action to conserve and increase forests and other land-based carbon sinks
  • International agreement to establish and maintain strong institutions including a reformed Clean Development Mechanism and a Green Climate Fund that is operational
  • An end to fossil fuel subsidies

Many of the corporate leaders signing up to the communique have strong connections to their home governments, leading to hopes that through these links persuasion can encourage those governments to work harder for a deal in Durban and take more unilateral action.

The communique will be left open for signatures throughout the Durban meeting and up to the Rio+20 summit next year, which will mark 20 years since the original Earth Summit.

Picture of low water in the Hoover Dam by pbody reproduced under CCL.

Friday 21st October 2011

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