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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Corporations call for action on climate change

Published: August 11, 2012


By Jack Rodolico


A satellite image of deforestation in Haiti. (NASA)

International corporations call on governments for decisive, sweeping action on climate change.

By Jack Rodolico

A group of 200 corporations says climate change threatens global prosperity and could inflict damaging “social, economic and environmental costs on the world.” Initiated by the Prince of Wales Corporate Leadership Group, the 2˚C Challenge comes six weeks ahead of the UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

The companies span the globe and represent diverse sectors of business and industry. Signatories include EBay, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Shell, BP, Nestle, Philips, Puma, National Grid, AirFrance and Rolls-Royce.

“If we take the right steps, we can secure a low carbon‐emission economy that is more resilient, more efficient and less vulnerable to global shocks,” says the Communiqué, the statement put forth by the group. “But time is short for effective action to address the threat of climate change.”

The 2˚C Challenge name refers to a goal set last year at the Cancún Climate Summit to not allow global temperatures to rise more than two degrees Celsius. But climate models show this target may already be impossible to meet.

The details of the 2˚C Challenge might look familiar – they are the very points nearly 200 nations have been hoping and promising to achieve for years. But, so far, no substantive commitments have been made on an international level.

Here is what the corporations call for:

•A carbon tax and other market-based solutions to drive investment away from fossil fuels

•Prompt and continuous transfer of money and technology to developing nations

•Public-private partnerships designed to drastically advance research, development and deployment of low-carbon technologies

•Public policy that would provide long-term market certainty

•Efforts to reduce deforestation

•Efforts to reduce emissions from international shipping and aviation

•Encouraging energy efficiency across all sectors

Again, there’s nothing new in the demands except who they are coming from. Kingfisher PLC is sort of a European Home Depot, with about 900 stores throughout Europe and Asia. CEO Ian Cheshire says world governments must work together with a sense of urgency. "I take our environmental responsibilities personally. It’s part of our corporate heritage. But a business can only do so much. Climate change is a shared global challenge, requiring a shared global solution."

The Communiqué is open for more corporate signatures over the next six weeks. Click here to see a list of signatories by continent.

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