Business leaders call on UN to develop legally-binding framework to tackle climate change

| December 20, 2007

Senior executives from 150 global companies have signed a communiqué to the United Nations calling for a comprehensive, legally-binding framework to combat climate change.

Led by The Prince of Wales’s UK and EU Corporate Leaders Groups on Climate Change, which are developed and run by the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry, the communiqué was submitted at the end of November – days ahead of a two-week UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia to discuss international carbon emission reduction measures after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

As of November 2007, 174 states have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

The only major economy that does not support the Kyoto Protocol is the US.
Citing “very serious global social, environmental and economic risks” from climate change, the group states “the benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs of not acting.”

The communiqué goes on to state: “The shift to a low-carbon economy will create significant business opportunities,” and argues that a “sufficiently ambitious, international and comprehensive legally-binding United Nations agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” is essential in providing “business with the certainty it needs to scale up global investment in low-carbon technologies”.
But most significantly, the business leaders argue that “the overall targets for emissions reduction must be guided primarily by science”.

This is in contrast to the argument that has previously been made by some parts of the business community that it is concerns over competitiveness and cost that should set the limit of emission cuts.

The Bali Communiqué was sent directly to the 130 Environment Ministers that will be attending the Bali conference

Communiqué signatories from the telecoms and IT-related space include, Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin; René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG; Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia and Simon Beresford-Wylie, CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks; Zouhair A. Khaliq, president and CEO of Mobilink Pakistan; Simon Lewis, group corporate affairs director of Vodafone; Hideki Komiyama, president at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, as well as representatives from Sun Microsystems, Cable & Wireless, O2 and Symantec.

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