Global business poised to push governments on climate deal

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 20 May 2009

Business leaders are joining the momentum to tackle climate change when they meet at an international summit in Copenhagen from Sunday.
Around 800 senior executives from major companies including Coca-Cola, Shell, Bayer and Unilever will attend the World Business Summit on Climate Change from 24 – 26 May.
International aid agency Oxfam – whose International CEO Jeremy Hobbs will speak at the event – says the Summit must deliver a loud and clear message to governments that the private sector will support the bold decisions necessary to avert catastrophic climate change.
Oxfam Australia climate change spokeswoman Julie-Anne Richards said businesses would discuss how their firms could help solve the climate crisis through innovative business models, new partnerships and the development of low-carbon technologies.
The outcomes will be sent in a call to action to world leaders negotiating the UN international climate treaty, which will be concluded in Copenhagen in December.
“This is the time that big business must talk as one international voice to political leaders. We anticipate – for the first time – that they will call for emissions targets, and for money on the table to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change and pursue low-carbon futures,” Ms Richards said.
“These are make-or-break issues. We want to see the private sector leading on stronger action on climate change. The outcome matters to millions of poor people around the world who are already suffering first and worst from the impacts of climate change.
“This is not rocket science. It is in companies’ interest to tackle climate change to ensure the security of their own markets and supply chains. It is also in their interest to call for a fair and safe global climate deal in Copenhagen to ensure the stability and sustainability of the future world economy.”
Ms Richards said the Summit’s ‘Copenhagen Call’ must acknowledge that developed countries should cut emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 and provide funding for developing countries to reduce their emissions. Overall global emissions need to be cut by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050.
“The funding required globally for developing countries to adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions is estimated at US $150 billion (AUS $193 billion). The private sector could partner with governments to help reduce the high cost of technology for developing countries.
“The US bail-out of AIG showed that finding money when it’s needed is not the problem – finding the political will to do so is the obstacle. These are the numbers that will make a difference – anything less will be a golden opportunity blown.”
Oxfam will also sound warnings against harsh intellectual property regimes that would make it difficult for developing countries to access low carbon technology, and voluntary agreements to cut emissions across specific sectors of industry, rather than cuts across the board.
To interview Julie-Anne Richards or Jeremy Hobbs, please call Laurelle Keough on 0409 960 100.