Branson’s B Team calls for long-term climate goals beyond Paris

An environmental coalition of 22 business leaders including Sir Richard Branson and Unilever's Paul Polman have penned an open letter ahead of the crucial Paris talks calling for an 'actionable' global commitment of 'Net-Zero by 2050'.

The letter, signed by the business leaders who form the global non-profit ‘B Team’ initiative, calls for a long-term goal to be introduced at COP21 that would incorporate a global commitment to achieve a net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions economy by 2050.

The letter, which is being sent to Heads of State, reads: “The science, economic costs and social risks of climate change are becoming increasingly clear. We believe that securing a long-term goal in Paris should therefore be an urgent personal priority for you, as it is for all of us.

“We know this is ambitious, but it is ambition that will generate the global momentum and focus that is critical to success.”

‘It’s time’

The letter also highlights how the signatories are currently implementing strategies that will see their own companies adopt a ‘net-zero emissions by 2050’ target. Unilever, Kering and Harley-Davidson, for example, have all disclosed company-wide measures to achieve such targets.

Commenting on the letter, Virgin Group founder Branson said: “Now it’s time for world leaders to take a stand and COP21 is that opportunity. Governments must come together and sign a powerful and legally-binding global agreement that will tackle climate change and create a lasting impact.

“Business leaders should also play a crucial role in this and by making bold commitments, can start to transform their industries for the future.”

Plan B

The long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is based on scientific research stating that achieving net-zero emissions by the year 2100 will only provide a 66% chance of limiting global warming to two degrees. The B Team claims that this one-in-three chance of failure is “unacceptable, given the potential for catastrophic climate impacts”.

Back in September, a host of business leaders attended a B Team forum in New York to address how businesses can adopt the Sustainable Development Goals and act as a catalyst towards greener and more sustainable energy use and environments.

B Team Open Letter

Matt Mace

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