‘We are all in’: Hundreds of business signal ‘unwavering’ support to 1.5C at COP27

Hundreds of the world’s largest businesses and civil society groups have delivered a joint declaration of action to meeting 1.5C at COP27, calling on nations to “decide where they stand” in raising ambitions in order to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement.

‘We are all in’: Hundreds of business signal ‘unwavering’ support to 1.5C at COP27

Image: We Mean Business

Convened through the We Mean Business coalition, prominent corporate leaders including Sir Richard Branson, Steve Howard, Arianna Huffington, Mary Robinson and Johan Rockström have joined more than 200 businesses in signing a declaration that business and civil society is “all in” to deliver the Paris Agreement.

The declaration was made on Agriculture Day at COP27 (Saturday, 12 November) and has been signed by businesses including Nestle, Mastercard, Unilever and Holcim. The declaration tells delegates at COP27 that 1.5C is “a limit not a target”, and that negotiators should work with the private sector to avert the worst of the climate crisis.

“As climate negotiators are meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27, and global leaders gather for the G20 in Bali, the science remains unchanged: 1.5°C is a limit not a target,” the declaration states. “We must put all our efforts to stay within this limit and avoid the worsening impacts, suffering and costs that any overshoot will bring. Already at 1.2°C we are seeing the flooded villages of Pakistan, burning forests and towns of California, dried up rivers across Europe and parched fields in Somalia. Those that have contributed least to climate change are the most vulnerable to its impacts.”

Reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 would require annual reductions in emissions equivalent to the sharp drop recorded during the lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic. That was the finding of the annual Global Carbon Budget report, published at COP27, and based on research from more than 100 scientists from the University of Exeter, the University of East Anglia (UEA), CICERO and Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich, It provides an annual stocktake of both carbon emissions and carbon sinks.

According to the report there is a 50% chance that the 1.5C pathway will be exceeded in under a decade based on current emission trajectories.

Not enough progress has been made since the commitments of COP26, the businesses note. The IEA estimates that, if targets made in Glasgow were met on time, the world would be on course for an 1.8C global temperature rise by the end of the century.

Others put the trajectory at a slightly different number, most notably Climate Resource claiming the pledges would lead to 1.9C of warming. This is a more optimistic reading however. Climate Action Tracker (CAT) published a new analysis during COP26, stating that they are likely to result in 2.4C of warming.

We Mean Business reiterates that its coalition of organisations remains committed to reaching 1.5C through net-zero targets and energy solutions, but questioned whether world leaders would join them.

“Our commitment to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact is unwavering. Thousands of companies, unions, investors, cities, states and regions are committed to 1.5°C, and already taking science-based climate action: delivering clean energy solutions, developing innovative finance mechanisms, and building the resilience of vulnerable communities.

“National leaders must demonstrate solidarity and decide where they stand. Decisions taken in the coming days will define our ability to build an equitable and resilient global economy. They will reverberate around the world and down the generations. There can be no excuses for backsliding on the commitments made a year ago.”

Indeed, there a number of roadblocks currently being discussed at COP27, mainly around loss and damage and how payments and funding can be set up.

Loss and damage has been one of the key sticking points of previous climate summits and the topic has been a focal point at COP27, with developing nations calling on rich economies to provide dedicated funding. But what exactly is loss and damage, and what breakthroughs have been delivered during the first week at COP27?

Read edie’s big explainer on the topic here.

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