The time is now for businesses to commit to action against climate change
In just over a month, governments, business leaders and civil society groups from around the world will pour into New York City to join in the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, convening on September 23. Participants are expected to make public commitments on how they plan to respond to climate change, building up a drumbeat of consensus and catalyzing action toward a global deal next year at the UN climate change negotiations in Paris. Ahead of September’s summit, CDP is working to ensure that the business voice is heard in these crucial conversations.
September’s meeting will set the tone for the next 16 months in the lead-up to Paris, and it is of utmost importance that we set ourselves up for success throughout this process. Governments are taking action, but it’s not enough. Currently, we are not on track to reach an agreement in 2015 that will effectively limit global warming to below 2°C — the level that leading scientists agree we must achieve.
To move the needle toward a place where consensus becomes possible, it is crucial that the business community step forward, stake their claim in this discussion and drive political will toward achieving an ambitious agreement. Businesses must lead through action, and commit to taking steps that will directly shape the discussions at the Climate Summit.
Importantly, it is directly within businesses’ best interest to take these steps. Extreme weather patterns are already disrupting the operations of major companies,making the effects of climate change difficult to ignore. This is just the short term. In the long term, these impacts will be magnified through damages to facilities, supply chains and power supplies that will threaten global water and food security. Each of these factors increase the cost of doing business and add dangerous uncertainty to the marketplace.
For businesses to continue to thrive, it is crucial to have a comprehensive regulatory framework. Aside from insulating companies from climate-related risk, a framework such as this would present tremendous opportunity for businesses to innovate and gain a competitive edge in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
These issues get at the very heart of why we have launched our CDP Road to Paris 2015 project, urging businesses to commit to a set of practical initiatives ahead of September’s summit that will help drive consensus and action toward an agreement in 2015. The six initiatives CDP is asking companies to endorse range from putting aprice on carbon emissions, to developing a strategy to procure electricity from renewable sources, to providing climate change information in mainstream filings, and more. I encourage you to visit the project site, read about these initiatives in full and learn about the various ways that businesses can become involved in shaping conversations at the summit.
Many companies are already leading the way on responding to climate change — it’s time to make that leadership public. Commit to steps that will lead toward an ambitious agreement in 2015, and call on your governments to come forward with the ambitious national contributions that will form the basis of the 2015 agreement. By bringing business and policy together, we can meet the challenges climate change presents head on, and ensure a prosperous, sustainable future.