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Global business leaders commit to carbon reduction

The Guardian

Business leaders from major global corporations have committed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions across a wide range of sectors, including energy, communications, building and construction.

The pledge was made at the conclusion of the UN-supported Business for the Environment (B4E) Summit in Mexico City last week, ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Cancun next month.

The energy companies agreed to work towards achieving a target of 100 per cent renewable energy production by 2050. ICT companies agreed to reduce 7.6 Gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2020, while representatives of the building sector committed to reduce emissions by 40 per cent in new buildings by 2020 and improve energy efficiency by up to 40 per cent in existing buildings.

Business leaders also called upon governments to advance international negotiations to ensure an ambitious outcome at the forthcoming 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention being organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change later this year. Those gathered in Mexico City also stressed the need for a global ‘level playing field’ that would enable these commitments and foster green entrepreneurship among and across industry sectors.

Companies acknowledged that entrepreneurial action to address climate change can play a critical role in stimulating a global economic recovery, creating new jobs and building more sustainable and resilient low-carbon societies.

UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner said, “many businesses, including those at the B4E Summit, are signaling leadership and seizing the opportunities of the climate change challenge.   

Why? Because many see rising risks to profits from the impacts of rising greenhouse gases but also an opportunity to become far more resource efficient and innovative enterprises. Governments at the UN climate convention meeting in Cancun and beyond have a responsibility to support these aims and actions by signaling their determination to set the kinds of national and global policy frameworks able to accelerate and sustain these transformations.”

Besides, said James Leape, director general of WWF-International, “civil society and business can both take a role in speaking-up so that the right policy-frameworks are put in place, as well as, in communicating the solutions which are already available. We should all recognise that international negotiations on climate are not moving at the pace needed. This business summit, held immediately before Cancun, should stimulate all governments to act in order to unleash business potential to transform our economies.” “While governments hold the key to setting the right signals and incentives, it is business that provides the solutions we need,” said Georg Kell, executive director of the UN Global Compact. “Now is the time to support the many efforts that already exist, to ensure that low-carbon innovation is shared widely and to mobilise those still sitting on the fence. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

In their declaration at B4E, business leaders agreed that in order to avoid a major climate crisis - that comprises economic, political, health, environment, safety and other dimensions - the creation of global policy and strong national legal frameworks is needed.

“We all now recognise the huge problems that climate change is posing for our societies. We should now step up, lead and be part of the tidal wave of companies that bring the solutions our societies need,” said Barbara Kux, chief of sustainability of Siemens.

Companies also recognised their role in changing behaviour and values for a more equitable future. “We recognise the role that big corporations have in changing supply chains so that small and medium enterprises can fully participate in the Green Economy,” said José Luis Prado, president of Gamesa.

“We recognise the possibility we have in changing behaviours, starting from our companies. We can walk the talk and enlist the hundreds and thousands of employees that work for our companies as solution providers,” said Magnus Kuschel, managing director of Commute Greener of the Volvo Group.

According to the companies at B4E, countries should put in place national policy instruments including:

• Financial mechanisms to offset initial costs and reallocate total costs along the life cycle of buildings

• The phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies

• Soft-loans on climate solutions and,

• Smart-grids, feed-in tariffs and buy-downs in energy that send the right signals to the marketplace.

Former U.S. Vice-President , Al Gore said, “we need the good companies to put pressure on all governments to lead by example and step up their domestic and global commitments.”

The Mexican Minister of Environment, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said, “the private sector has much to offer in the global fight on climate change. We do not want that the conclusions and recommendations of this event remain in a drawer. We want to take them to Cancun, to enrich the negotiations.”

Next month, the world’s governments will gather in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN Climate Conference. A key focus of the conference will be how a transition towards a Green Economy model can both reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions and bring economic benefits.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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