CEOs managing $1.2trn demand climate action

Chief executives of 43 companies have published an open letter to world leaders, calling for an "ambitious climate deal" in Paris 2015.

The company leaders, including representatives from AkzoNobel, Ikea and BT, said the private sector was willing to play its part, but added that “clear policy signals from the world’s leaders” were needed to transition to a low carbon economy.

“This initiative being launched today is a significant commitment in efforts to combat climate change,” said Ignacio Galan, a signatory and chairman of utility giant Iberdola.

As businesses, we have the obligation to contribute to sustainable development by fully integrating the environmental dimension in our strategy and management.”

All of the signatories – including Volvo, Unilever and HSBC – pledged to reduce their carbon footprint, raise awareness of climate change and incorporate climate risks into their business plans.

“Delaying action is not an option,” said the letter. “It will be costly and will damage growth prospects in the years to come.”

The letter is designed to put pressure on government officials ahead of a spring meeting of a World Bank group in Washington from April 17-19.

 Around the world
The climate-change plea comes the day after the US Environmental Protection Agency released official figures, revealing that American emissions took a 2% jump in 2013. That surge was reportedly fuelled by a growing economy, falling coal prices and a cold winter. 

However, on a broader timescale, emissions fell by 9% since 2005, and earlier this year, the Obama administration announced plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2025, compared to 2005 levels.

EU leaders have also pledged to slash emissions by 40% by 2030, while the UK has a legally binding target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

Figures released by the International Energy Agency in March, revealed that 2014 could have been a turning point for climate change efforts, as global emissions stalled without a economic recession for the very first time.

Brad Allen

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