The following is from the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen that was held the last few days.

As global business leaders assembled at the World Business Summit on Climate Change, we call upon our political leaders to agree an ambitious and effective global climate treaty at COP15 in Copenhagen. Sustainable economic progress requires stabilizing and then reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Success at COP15 will remove uncertainty, unleash additional investment, and bolster current efforts to revive growth in a sustainable way.

By addressing the magnitude of the climate threat with urgency, a powerful global climate change treaty would help establish a firm foundation for a sustainable economic future. This would set a more predictable framework for companies to plan and invest, provide a stimulus for renewed prosperity and a more secure climate system. Economic recovery and urgent action to tackle climate change are complementary – boosting the economy and jobs through investment in the new infrastructure needed to reduce emissions.

Business is at its best when innovating to achieve a goal and the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is vital to our common social, economic and environmental future. At the Summit we agreed that this will require 1:

1. Agreement on a science-based greenhouse gas stabilization path with 2020 and 2050 emissions reduction targets.

We support the scientific evidence of the IPCC’s 4th. We are concerned that some recent scientific evidence suggests the problem may be worse than many of the IPCC estimates.

An effective global climate treaty must establish an ambitious goal and set emission targets that protect us and future generations from the risks of climate destabilization. Limiting the global average temperature increase to a maximum of 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels would entail abatement of around 17Gt versus business-as-usual by 2020.

This will require an immediate and substantial change in the current global greenhouse gases emission trend: it must peak and begin to reduce within the next decade. Longer-term targets must be informed by the evolving science, but the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report indicates that global emissions must fall by at least half of 1990 levels by 2050.

We believe that working to reduce emissions now is less costly than delaying our efforts. There is nothing to be gained through delay. The deepest reductions should initially be made by developed economies though global emissions reduction will require all nations to play a part.

Emissions reduction at this scale will profoundly affect business, and business is already taking action to drive down greenhouse gas emissions. We are ready to make those changes and support ambitious political decisions to address the climate challenge wherever we operate. If policies are well designed and implemented, the benefits of early action will outweigh the short-term adjustment costs. This early action can only be achieved by setting an ambitious 2020 target.

2. Effective measurement, reporting and verification of emissions.

Achieving and tracking greenhouse gas emissions reduction is vital to measuring convergence towards the objectives of an effective climate treaty. As businesses we can set an example by contributing to a unified, coherent and reliable measurement, reporting and verification discipline leading to mandatory reporting. Accounting for the emissions we are responsible for will provide the basis for emissions reduction beyond what may be required by regulation and allow our performance to be properly judged and rewarded by investors and the public.

3. Incentives for a dramatic increase in financing low emissions technologies.

To promote effective, efficient, equitable and ambitious action to address climate change the world will need to mobilize the scale of investment necessary to achieve the emissions reduction required. Properly established, an international carbon market framed around ambitious reduction targets can enable both cost-effective abatement and create the carbon price stability to drive the deployment of technologies that will deliver large-scale emissions reductions.

The first steps to establishing a global market will be to enable linkage between national and regional carbon markets. An international agreement will help secure investor confidence in the carbon market, and national actions will help generate new financial flows for climate investment.

The new climate treaty must “push” the development of new technologies through the use of public funds to leverage private finance in early stage demonstration and deployment. This will require policy measures that create clear, predictable, long-term incentives to stimulate private investment and enable the global diffusion of capital and technology.

4. Deployment of existing low-emissions technologies and the development of new ones.

The private sector is already the source of over two-thirds of the world’s investments in clean technology innovation, and is the most effective source of know-how and technology dissemination and transfer. Many low-technologies already exist and can significantly reduce global emissions. Significant emissions reduction can be achieved through energy efficiency, much of it with positive financial returns. Standards and regulations are the best way to achieve this. A new treaty must support deployment of low-carbon solutions by encouraging incentives for public and private purchasers to choose the lowest emissions infrastructure and technologies and for investors to account for climate risk in their decisions.

Government and business must work together to ensure that all nations have equitable access to new clean energy technologies and other innovations by, among others, working with developing countries to improve the infrastructure required for effective deployment.

An effective global climate treaty must provide the means to fund research, development and the deployment of new clean energy technologies. Pricing can help “pull” these technologies through the innovation chain, generate revenue and enhance the flow of investment to developing countries. Governments should strive to end the current perverse subsidies that favour high-.emissions transport and energy infrastructure and promote deforestation.

A shift to a low-carbon economy, supported by private sector participation and government, has the potential to drive the next generation of technological innovation, address the environmental and economic challenges that climate change presents, and contribute to global development.

5. Funds to make communities more resilient and able to adapt to the effects of climate change.

We recognize that adaptation is as important as mitigation in an effective global climate treaty. Adaptation planning will require a holistic and long-term planning perspective, which will require different levels of activity at the international, national and local levels. Businesses will be responsible for building much of the infrastructure needed to protect us from climate impacts. An effective global climate treaty will mobilize funding that supports public private partnerships to enhance development, adaptive capacity, climate resilience and management of risk.

6. Innovative means to protect forests and balance the carbon cycle.

Because a significant proportion of the CO2 reduction required by 2020 comes from the sequestration of carbon in forests and agriculture lands, an effective climate treaty must facilitate such sequestration. If emissions reductions targets are to be met, there is an immediate need to protect forests and enhance carbon sequestration. The private sector can play an important role in reducing deforestation, particularly in developing countries, through mechanisms structured to value conservation.

We believe these elements should form the core of the international climate change treaty agreed at Copenhagen. As business leaders we stand ready to innovate and operate within the framework established through that treaty and national policies.

Reducing the emissions that until now have been so linked to our economic growth and betterment will be an enormous, unprecedented global challenge but will also provide significant opportunities for sustainable growth, development and innovation. Acting together, we owe it to future generations to meet this challenge. Now is the time to create the foundations for long term, low carbon prosperity. We are willing to work with government to do so.


Presented by the Copenhagen Climate Council, informed by discussions with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development; 3C; the World Economic Forum Climate Change Initiative; the U.N. Global Compact and The Climate Group, and deliberations among participants at the World Business Summit on Climate Change, May 24-26 2009.

1. The views expressed here have been informed by discussions at the World Business Summit on Climate Change. They do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants.

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3 thoughts on “THE COPENHAGEN CALL”

  1. tim maguire says:

    Pretty ironic running this article right after running a study that shows these initiatives will cause substantial damage (9 jobs lost for every 4 created) to the economy and to society.

    Let me guess. 100% of these companies are hoping to get government contracts?

  2. admin says:

    I don’t know if they are trying to get government contracts but I can bet that they want to be in a position to not lose those 5 jobs!!

    There is a certain amount of sound logic for a businessperson to get on board the train rather than getting run over by the train or laying new track so that the train doesn’t hit you.

  3. G8: Chemical Industry proposes effective tools for climate protection

    With climate change topping the agenda of the G8 summit in L’Aquila, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), hosted in Rome this week by the Italian Parliament and the Italian Government, has published a global report on the carbon life cycle analysis of chemical products. This report, with independent analytical work done by Mc Kinsey, reveals that greenhouse gas emission savings enabled by the chemical industry are more than double the industry’s emissions. The chemical industry can bring effective climate protection and help this December’s Copenhagen negotiations on climate change to deliver.

    How will the world succeed in limiting the increase in temperature to 2°C in order to mitigate the impact of climate change on our societies? Significant measures have been taken which are supported by the use of chemical products enabling climate friendly solutions.

    An appropriate climate protection toolbox
    The G8 members have agreed to observe that temperature target. It is now time to use an appropriate climate protection toolbox. The publication of the report “Innovations for Greenhouse Gas Reductions”, made in connection with the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate meeting in L’Aquila, shows how chemical products may provide efficient tools for a sustainable development of mankind with respect to its environment.

    ICCA President Christian Jourquin, CEO of Solvay, said: “This study highlights the vital role of the chemical industry as enabler of solutions to decarbonise the global economy by making products that save energy and create a net emission reduction along the chemical value chain.”

    Analyses were carried out for over 100 individual chemical product applications. The report found that for every unit of greenhouse gases emitted directly and indirectly by the chemical industry, this industry enabled 2-3 units of emission savings via the products and technologies provided to other industries and consumers. In other words, products of the chemical industry enabled greenhouse gas savings 2-3 times greater than their emissions.

    Significant emission savings in everyday life
    To limit the increase of temperature, chemical products are, then, a tool of choice. They meet our everyday needs. Compared to non-chemical alternatives, they increase CO2 savings most of the time while having comparable functions. The most significant emissions savings by volume were found to be from building isolation materials (such as expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene or polyurethane), agrochemicals, lighting, plastic packaging, marine antifouling coatings, synthetic textiles, automotive plastics, low-temperature detergents, engine efficiency, and plastics used in piping.

    Such savings are not possible by chance. They are the consequence of the innovation driven by the chemical industry to produce more with fewer resources. Innovation is a tradition in the chemical industry to reduce dependence on energy and limited resources. It is a way to meet the needs of a growing population whose appetite for land, food, heat, light, mobility and water is not limited. Chemistry plays a role in these matters that helps at the same time to reduce GHG emissions in absolute terms.

    Technical tools for political decision
    How can this report help G8 decisions to be implemented? This report provides global sound data and an analysis conducted by McKinsey & Company on the global chemical industry’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions through the lifecycle of chemical products and the difference they make in the applications they enable. The Öko Institut, a leading independent environmental research and consulting institution in Europe, conducted a critical review of the analysis and reviewed the calculations.

    These data and analysis show where the GHG reductions would be the most significant and where they could even be enhanced provided an adequate legislative framework is implemented. Improved building codes, quicker return on investment for climate friendly solutions, promotion of research and development to curb CO2 emissions, all these are solutions where chemistry already helps. The report also shows some CO2 reductions that could be individually seen as limited but that can play a big role when compared with the big figures of the owners of such tools (green tyres save approximately 8 litres of gasoline per 150 000 kms, which is limited for one owner, but huge for all owners taken together).

    Alain Perroy, ICCA Council Secretary, said “The McKinsey 2030 scenarios show that the chemical industry has substantial potential to help the world further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both through greenhouse gas emissions savings in its own production and through its products. If industry, policymakers and other stakeholders take steps to facilitate emissions reductions and fully utilize chemical products, the study suggests the ratio of emissions savings to emissions could increase to more than ‘4 to 1’ by 2030.”

    A G8 commitment for Copenhagen?
    G8 countries may be more targeted by the considerations of this report. They have a huge innovation capacity that need to be preserved to go on delivering more climate friendly solutions. In terms of climate change negotiations, that means that carbon leakage (Carbon leakage is the migration of industrial production, GHG emissions and jobs into non-regulated regions with higher carbon intensity) must be avoided. But the report also stresses the huge potential there is in developing countries that need to modernize their economies to reduce their emissions.

    This report is also a way to help the Copenhagen negotiations to deliver workable and effective solutions. Based on data and science, the report is the opportunity to reach a constructive consensus.

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