The Heat Is Online

Corporate Chiefs Demand Climate Action from G-8

Big business urges G8 global warming action
Financial Times, June 10, 2005


Leaders of some of the world's biggest businesses on Thursday increased the pressure on the Group of Eight industrialised nations ahead of a summit on global warming, urging them to set up a system of emissions trading for greenhouse gases that would extend to 2030 and beyond.


Business representatives of companies including Toyota, BP and Ford, met Tony Blair, UK prime minister, to discuss climate change. Mr Blair has made the issue one of two priorities, along with Africa, for the G8 summit under the UK's chairmanship in Scotland in July.


Steve Lennon, chair of the environment and energy commission of the International Chamber of Commerce, which represents companies in 130 countries, said: We see a global system of emissions trading as inevitable.


The business leaders called for a cap-and-trade system or similar market-based mechanism that would set limits on how much greenhouse gas countries and companies could emit and also define greenhouse gas emissions rights. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat on earth and cause climate change.


Rick Samans, managing director at the World Economic Forum, which convened the meeting, said companies were seeking certainty. All of the G8 nations except the US have ratified the Kyoto protocol, which binds developed nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels. George W. Bush, US president, has refused to set reduction targets or discuss measures to tackle climate change beyond 2012, when the the Kyoto protocol expires.


Mr Lennon said a cap-and-trade system for emissions would probably be a mixture of mandatory and voluntary schemes. The statement was signed by ABB, Alcan, BP, British Airways, BT, Cinergy, Cisco, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, EADS, EDF, Eskom, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, Petrobras, UES, Rio Tinto, Siemens, Swiss Re, Toyota, Vattenfall and Volkswagen.



Big Business Urges Urgent G8 Global Warming Action, June 10, 2005


LONDON - Big business added its voice on Thursday to a growing crescendo of calls on the governments of the world's richest nations to take urgent action to curb potentially catastrophic global warming.

The call follows a similar appeal from the world's top scientists and comes four weeks before leaders of the Group of Eight -- along with China, Brazil, South Africa, India and Mexico -- meet in Scotland to discuss the climate crisis.


"We share the belief that climate change poses one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century," said moguls from multinationals including car maker Ford, airline British Airways, bank HSBC, electricity generator EdF and oil major BP.


"We agree that the science is sufficiently compelling to warrant action by both the private and public sector, and ... action must be initiated now," the business moguls said in a statement issued in London.


While most scientists agree the burning of fossil fuels for transport and to generate electricity is a major contributor to potentially catastrophic climate change, the United States under President George W. Bush is unconvinced and antagonistic.


British Prime Minister Tony Blair has made tackling global warming, with its rising sea levels, increases in droughts and floods and threats to the lives of millions of the world's poorest people, a key goal of his 2005 presidency of the G8.



The G8 Climate Change Roundtable -- the name under which the leaders of the 23 firms behind Thursday's statement worked -- called for the summit on July 6-8 near Edinburgh to set out a global plan of action.

This plan should have a clear framework, a long lifetime, set specific targets and involve everyone from consumers to business, charities and governments.


To the dismay of environmental lobby groups, a leaked draft last month of the climate change declaration due from the summit at Gleneagles contained neither targets nor timetables.


The business leaders said governments must use public procurement to ram home the message of climate change, promote low carbon technology, share information and push for environment friendly economic growth in developing countries.


"With properly designed programs and incentives, we can unleash the power of the market to accelerate the deployment of low carbon technologies engaging both producers and consumers alike," they said.

Environmental lobby group Friends of the Earth warmly welcomed the statement.


"Just a few years ago large international business and the environment groups were on opposite sides of the fence. This statement shows just how far big business has moved. Now we are more or less on the same page," FoE chief Tony Juniper said.