Global Alliance Urges G8 to Act on Climate Change

G8 leaders need to speed up negotiations on a global agreement on climate change policy to go beyond the Kyoto Protocol, according to a broad alliance of international businesses. The alliance, which represents several hundred companies from three continents, met in to discuss growing concern at the lack of political urgency to avoid dangerous climate change.

The G8 countries include Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the United States of America, Canada (since 1976) and Russia (since 1998). The European Commission is also represented at all the meetings.

The Kyoto Protocol has set the limits for greenhouse gas emissions up to 2012. A successor agreement is needed to drive emission reductions beyond 2012, but to date negotiations have proceeded slowly. Members of the alliance are concerned that unless a successor agreement is finalized by 2009 there will be a policy gap that will affect business planning and investment in low-carbon technologies and products, with potentially significant environmental and social consequences.

“The business community has recognized the seriousness of climate change and is ready to act,” said Ric Brazzale, of the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy, speaking on behalf of the alliance. “We urge the leaders of the G8 to create the political momentum needed to deliver the long-term, international policy framework that will enable business to plan, invest, develop and deploy low-carbon technologies and products. “A sense of urgency is vital because any delay in reaching an agreement will exacerbate the security threat posed to the world’s economies by climate change.”

The alliance has issued a Call to Action to G8 host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to all G8 plus 5 leaders calling on them to agree now in Heiligendamm to maintain continuity in the legally binding frameworks underpinning the carbon market; agree in December 2007 at the global climate negotiations in Bali to conclude negotiations on such a global agreement by 2009; and agree during 2007 on elements of a stable long-term market framework for low-carbon technology development and deployment.

The alliance behind the Call for Action represents more than 20 climate-change related business organizations and initiatives. Several hundred companies are represented by the alliance, from across three continents and in sectors as diverse as energy and water supply, transport and logistics, retail, telecommunication, electronics, insulation manufacturers, chemicals, media, care and foods products, finance industry, health and personal care products, pharmaceuticals, law firms and service providers in the field of renewable energy and emissions trading.

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