We must keep the Paris Agreement a priority

Tomorrow we face a new stress-test for implementing the Paris Agreement.

Published: 20 Apr 2017
Author: Peter Bakker
Type: Insight

Finance ministers and central bank governors from twenty of the world’s major economies (the G20), will meet in Washington DC to explore economic cooperation for 2017 and beyond.

Climate change will be a crucial part of their discussions.

The business voice must be clear and resounding. Companies must strongly urge all G20 actors to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement – starting with the finance ministers tomorrow, and continuing on to the G20 leaders meeting taking place from 7-8 July.

The business case remains clear. Addressing climate change is the biggest business opportunity for the foreseeable future, and the transition to the low-carbon economy is unstoppable.

Taking action on climate is a critical part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When we take action on climate, the impacts go far beyond just Goal 13 – their ripples positively impact goals related to health, communities, hunger, energy and cities, just to name a few.

And achieving the SDGs will drive innovation, growth and development that generates up to 380 million jobs worldwide while creating at least US$12 trillion in business value per year by 2030.

Addressing the climate challenge is essential to unlock these opportunities.

Businesses get it. Forward-thinking companies are committed to delivering a low-carbon world, teaming up under collaborative platforms like Mission2020, which brings together institutions, governments and the private sector to take action towards peaking global emissions by 2020.

Since 2015, over 500 companies with combined revenues of more than USD$8 trillion have made over 1,000 commitments to climate action through the We Mean Business platform.

Many are going 100% renewable, implementing science-based climate targets and collaborating across sectors through the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi) to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon world. The scope of LCTPi has the potential to deliver 65% of the reduction in emissions needed, while stimulating $5-10 trillion in investment and supporting 25-45 million person years of employment. 

These actions help to show global leaders that business is committed to keeping the Paris Agreement and its 2°C objective high on the international agenda. Together, businesses must continue this work and call upon the G20 finance ministers to follow our lead.

Even the strongest communities and economies can’t survive on a dead planet. This week’s meeting in DC is the next step in continuing the right trajectory.

Finance ministers and central bank governors are the gate keepers. Together, they have the power to help unlock the trillions of dollars that are needed to implement the Paris Agreement and create jobs around the globe. Business urges them keep climate action on the agenda.

Forward-thinking businesses are calling all leaders to:

  1. Introduce effective economic mechanisms for transitioning to a low-carbon world, including carbon pricing
  2. Understand and account for climate risks across every aspect of business and society
  3. Implement the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) Recommendations to disclose and address all climate-related financial risk at the business and national levels

Addressing climate change is central to strengthening communities around the world, maintaining a well-functioning global economy, supporting global peace and security, and to worldwide development and success.

This is an opportunity to change the course of the future – now is not the time to be silent. Business, governments and civil society must raise their voices together.

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