Business Takes Leadership Role at COP21 Calling for Ambitious Climate Agreement
In recent years, businesses have been indirectly part of the United Nations conference on climate change (UNFCCC COP). This has mostly been as observer parties or lobbyists. But this year, during COP21, is the first time that business is showing true constructive leadership and influence within the negotiations and on the side as well.
There will be more than 180 business events during COP21 — including the event I am organizing the World Climate Summit, which was the original business summit since 2009. There will also be, for the first time ever, a business solutions gallery in the official UN zone at the COP21 venue called "La Galerie COP21."
This week, more than 350 companies with US$8 trillion in revenue sent out strong messages about an unconditional support for an ambitious Paris climate agreement.
First the first time, We Mean Business Coalition released a Business Brief to all the COP21 negotiators that aims to assist the governments meeting in Paris to finalize the new international climate agreement. Indeed, business are not doing the usual "advocacy" work, but actually proposing a set of eight key asks for an ambitious agreement. They include:
- Net Zero GHG emissions well before the end of the century.
- Strengthen commitments every five years.
- Enact meaningful carbon pricing.
- New and additional climate finance at scale.
- Transparency and accountability to promote a race to the top.
- National commitments at the highest end of ambition.
- Adaptation to build climate resilient economies and communities.
- Pre-2020 ambition through workstream 2.
Secondly, the World Economic Forum launched a letter signed by 78 CEOs calling for urgent climate action. In it, the CEOs urge: “Governments to take bold action at the Paris climate conference (COP 21) in December 2015 to secure a more prosperous world for all of us.”
The statement goes on to offer three commitments from their companies and four tools for governments to use:
- Voluntarily reduce GHG emissions
- Act as ambassadors that climate change is real and solutions exist
- Actively manage risks within their business
- Implementing a price on carbon
- A strategic action agenda to stimulate innovation
- Transparency and disclosure with regards to energy related activities
- Setting science-based targets in business planning for the development of future energy
Hastening the shift to a low-carbon economy in an economically sustainable manner will generate growth and jobs in both the developing and developed world. Delaying action is not an option.
Businesses have never been so ready to support climate action and build a global low-carbon economy. The signals this week have been loud and clear. Now let’s hope that all governments do realize that business can be a force for good and that they are ready to support a global deal on climate change with them.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
- Most Meat Will Be Plant-Based or Lab-Grown in 20 Years, Analysts ... ›
- Lab-Grown Meat Debate Overlooks Cows' Range of Use Worldwide ... ›
- Will Plant-Based Meat Become the New Fast Food? - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.
Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.
piyaset / iStock / Getty Images Plus
- No Country Is Protecting Children's Health, Major Study Finds ... ›
- 'Every Child Born Today Will Be Profoundly Affected by Climate ... ›
By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
- NASA and NOAA: Last Decade Was the Hottest on Record - EcoWatch ›
- Earth Just Had Its Hottest September Ever Recorded, NOAA Says ... ›
In December of 1924, the heads of all the major lightbulb manufacturers across the world met in Geneva to concoct a sinister plan. Their talks outlined limits on how long all of their lightbulbs would last. The idea is that if their bulbs failed quickly customers would have to buy more of their product. In this video, we're going to unpack this idea of purposefully creating inferior products to drive sales, a symptom of late-stage capitalism that has since been coined planned obsolescence. And as we'll see, this obsolescence can have drastic consequences on our wallets, waste streams, and even our climate.
- Consumer Society No Longer Serves Our Needs - EcoWatch ›
- Electronic Waste: New EU Rules Target Throwaway Culture ... ›