Signed by firms including BT, John Lewis, Coke, Mars, IKEA and Marks & Spencer, the letter calls for the Prime Minister do three specific things:

  • Seek a strong global climate deal in Paris in December which limits temperature rises to below 2°C
  • Set an ambitious 5th carbon budget to drive forward UK emissions reductions
  • Establish a long-term framework for investment in the low-carbon economy

“We are some of the businesses that will help create the UK’s future economy,” said the letter, published in Wednesday’s Financial Times.

“We want this economy to be energy efficient and low carbon. Failure to tackle climate change could put economic prosperity at risk. But the right action now would create jobs and boost competitiveness.”

Carbon budgets

The Climate Change Act, which established a target for the UK to reduce its emissions by at least 80% by 2050, also called for five-yearly carbon budgets.

The first four carbon budgets, leading to 2027, have been set in law, with gradually increasing targets for emission cuts. The Committee on Climate Change will publish its advice to government on the fifth carbon budget in December 2015.

Green growth

Campaign group WWF welcomed the letter as a sign that British businesses were ready to “step up”.

WWF-UK chief executive David Nussbaum said: “From construction and energy to retail, the best British enterprises know that green growth is the future. 

“They take on board that it’s no longer credible to base a sustainable economy on fossil fuels, so the Government should put us on track for a low-carbon world.” 

 Full text of the letter and list of signatories

Brad Allen

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