Businesses lay out key Paris proposals to avoid ‘zombie’ scenario

The business community has released a set of ambitious proposals they wish to be included in the final Paris agreement, as a climate think-tank sets out the three possible scenarios that will arise from the talks.

We Mean Business, a coalition of influential businesses and investors controlling assets worth $19.5trn, yesterday (24 November) sent a briefing to the key negotiators for the forthcoming COP21 talks, highlighting the eight key text proposals that the business community wants to be included in an ambitious global climate agreement.

Mark Kenber, chief executive of The Climate Group and working on behalf of We Mean Business said: “While climate change is one of the greatest risks we face, tackling it is also one of our biggest economic opportunities. Businesses are already coming together to find innovative ways not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to create new jobs and secure sustainable economic growth at the same time.

“We stand ready to work with the UN and both national and local governments to deliver on our promise to future generations that we will keep climate change in check. We look forward to the negotiators responding positively to our proposals.”

The eight proposals call for amendments and inclusions to the current draft text for the negotiations in Paris.

1) We Mean Business calls for net zero emissions before the end of the century by providing long-term strategies for decarbonisation up to 2050.

2) We Mean Business calls for the commitments by businesses and governments to be strengthened every five years starting from 2020.

3) We Mean Business calls for the implementation of carbon pricing which it feels is needed to ‘harness the power of business to tackle climate change’.

4) We Mean Business calls for additional climate finance, on top of the $100bn Copenhagen pledge, to be sourced through direct international support towards climate resilient investment.

5) We Mean Business calls for transparent reporting to reassure businesses and investors that government will be held accountable for commitments and actions.

6) We Mean Business calls for assurance that commitments are more than just words and that pledges will be implemented ‘at the highest end of ambition’.

7) We Mean Business calls for a long-term global adaption which signals that all actors must build climate resilient economies and communities.

8) We Mean Business calls for technical solutions to be scaled-up using high level champions and events to build on initiatives and promote new efforts.

We Mean Business hope to implement these changes through government collaboration in order to turn the Paris agreement into a ‘catalytic instrument’ for the real economy. Both the UNFCCC and the French Government have welcomed business involvement in the talks.

Business Brief: Shaping a catalytic Paris Agreement

Zombie nations

If the talks were to go ahead with the current draft text, climate diplomacy think-tank E3Gthere are three likely outome scenarios; ‘Le Zombie’ ‘Comme ci, Comme ca’ and ‘Va Va Voom’.

Le Zombie is the result of unambitious talks promoting tactical deals rather than an enduring regime with the outcome lacking precision. This outcome is highly unstable and likely to collapse in the future.

Comme ci, Comme ca places emphasis on strategic guidance from key Western leaders. The agreement includes guarantees on financial support but needs constant nurturing and adaptions to survive but will not be able to drive political momentum on climate action beyond Paris.

Va Va Voom is driven by leaders across all countries and sees major components of the deal outlined along with enough clarity to keep the world on track to 2°C. This agreement champions future action setting new negotiations talks for 2020 to deliver unstoppable momentum to drive climate change into the mainstream.

Liz Gallagher, E3G’s climate diplomacy programme leader said: “We need an ambitious but honest agreement. Paris won’t be the ultimate conclusion but must accelerate climate action to keep us within a stable climate. What matters at COP21 is not just the details in the text, but what happens after; how governments, companies and cities transform their futures.”

E3G COP21 Political Scenarios – Outlining the Political Dynamics for a Climate Agreement in Paris

The UK’s Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Lord Nick Bourne has previously stated that governments “ought to feel the pressure from businesses” to achieve a global climate deal. It seems that businesses are finally turning the screw.

Matt Mace

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