Businesses urge policy makers to heed IPCC report warnings

A coalition of companies from around the globe is urging policy makers to take a number of actions in line with the science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Welcoming the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, 90 UK, EU and international companies, including, Acciona, Coca-Cola Enterprises, EDF Energy, Shell, Tesco and Unilever are demanding a proactive policy response to climate change risk through The Trillion Tonne Communiqué, set up by the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group.

According to the IPCC report, global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. It found that emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.

However, it would be possible, using a wide array of technological measures and changes in behaviour, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the report finds.

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group deputy director Eliot Whittington said: “This latest report from the IPCC is the one that many businesses have been waiting most eagerly to read – here is the latest scientific analysis of the solutions that we can employ to limit the stock of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the consequent climate change.

“The report contains some stark home truths about the scale of the challenge and the progress we’re making to date. Rather than slowing and declining, greenhouse gas emissions are rising at a faster rate than ever before and no country has plans in place that are sufficient to keep warming below the globally agreed limit of 2°C”.

Whittington said that many leading businesses are well aware of the need for a “collective wake up call”, adding that the Trillion Tonne Communiqué has already been signed by more than 90 companies from five continents.

“Specifically, the signatories urge policy makers to take a number of significant actions in line with the science of the IPCC, including setting a timeline for phasing out greenhouse gas emissions before the end of the century, designing a credible strategy to transform the energy system, and creating a plan to manage reliance on fossil fuels, especially coal,” added Whittingham.

However, the IPCC’s report warns that only major institutional and technological change will give a “better than even chance” that global warming will not exceed the two degree threshold.

Co-chair of the report Ottmar Edenhofer said: “Climate policies in line with the two degrees Celsius goal need to aim for substantial emission reductions.

“There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business-as-usual,” he added.

Leigh Stringer

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