COP21: Business Sector Calls for Stronger Climate Goals
In a letter submitted on December 9th by business organizations representing hundreds of global and local corporations, private sector leaders called for a strong long-term objective in the Paris Climate Agreement.
The private sector has an interest in getting a clear message from governments about their commitments to a low-carbon economy. The letter specifically states that the private sector needs “an agreement that provides a clear direction of travel and confidence that we will advance to meet it. This requires a clear and specific long-term emissions goal well before the end of the century coupled with a five-year ambition mechanism that begins around 2020.” The group, including the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the We Mean Business coalition, reinforced this message, arguing that clear commitments from governments are necessary to speed up the solutions developed in and by the private sector.
Earlier this week, as ministers started discussions in the COP21 High-Level segment, the coalition called for strong targets to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 and avoid dangerous climate warming. Members of B Team, a coalition of chief executives for climate action, challenged governments to limit the cap on temperature increase to 1.5°C, a temperature advocated by small islands states and low-income countries that are more vulnerable to climate change.
“We just need governments to set some rules” said Sir Richard Branson, co-founder of the B Team coalition, so companies can have a clear signal that supports their aim for carbon neutrality by mid-century. “Give us a goal and we will make it happen,” he said.
Business leaders framed their demands in terms of net zero emissions by 2050, a goal companies have acknowledged and set for themselves. This helps keep the pressure on governments to reach a strong agreement. As the coalition suggested, even economies like the United States that are highly dependent on fossil fuels have reached a tipping point and are moving towards greener energy sources, reinforcing the call for strong emissions reductions.
COP21 negotiations are expected to conclude on Friday December 11th.