World Business Leaders Issue "Call" for New Climate Treaty

World Business Leaders Issue "Call" for New Climate Treaty

Business leaders from around the world issued a manifesto Tuesday advocating an international climate change treaty that will offer certainty, jump start investment and help rev up the ailing global economy.

The group issued “The Copenhagen Call” today on the last day of the World Business Summit on Climate Change, an event that started Sunday with an all-star cast exploring how a future treaty can be crafted to encourage business action.

“Business wants a global deal on climate change that is long, loud and legal: Climate policy must create clear long-term certainty on incentives, targets and time lines for unleashing the private sector strategies and investments needed to make a low-carbon economy possible,” Steve Howard, The Climate Group’s CEO, said in a statement.

On Sunday, Al Gore and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon challenged attendees to push governments to reach an agreement on cutting emissions.

"We have to do it this year. Not next year. This year," Gore said. "The clock is ticking, because Mother Nature does not do bailouts."

Ban encouraged businesses to adopt "The Copenhagen Call," which includes six tenets vital to a climate change treaty that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol, such as establishing a pathway to reach GHG reduction targets in 2020 and 2050 that will limit temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius or less. The statement supports global emissions reductions of at least 50 percent by 2050.

The Copenhagen Call, which was presented by the Copenhagen Climate Council, a group formed to raise awareness of the December climate treaty talks, also advocates unified emissions measurement, reporting and verification standards that will lead to mandatory reporting. It wants financial incentives to help finance low-carbon technologies, such as the harmonization of national and regional carbon markets and using public funds to spur private investment.

The statement further pushes for provisions in the upcoming treaty related to the transfer of low-carbon technologies to developing countries, climate change adaptation funds, and forestry protection financing.

The Copenhagen Call was delivered to Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, who are charged with carrying it forward over the next six months leading up to the international negotiations in December.   

Some have in recent days expressed criticism or disappointment of the conference and the Copenhagen Call. For example, Oxfam called the summit a missed opportunity for the worldwide business community to offer specific and ambitious targets: The Copenhagen Call, for example, acknowledges emissions “must fall by at least half of 1990 levels by 2050” but offers no additional goals.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth complained polluters hijacked the conference because representatives from carbon-intensive companies such as Shell and Duke Energy were in attendance.

Photo credit: CopenhagenClimateCouncil/PeterSørensen ©.