Business leaders call for action at climate talks

Business leaders at the World Climate Summit 2012 have called for urgent policy action by countries to scale-up and shift public and private sector investments towards a low-carbon economy.

Doha, Qatar - Business leaders gathered at the United Nations climate change talks in Qatar have called on governments to take urgent policy action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the transition to a green economy.

At the largest business, finance and government summit here dubbed as the World Climate Summit 2012 on Sunday, which coincides with the on-going UN climate talks, business leaders highlighted that successfully tackling climate change requires urgent policy action across countries to scale-up and shift public and private sector investments towards a low-carbon economy.

“This negotiations matter to us because we believe it is essential that there should be a global agreement on cutting carbon emissions in order to avert climate catastrophe,” said Giles Dickson, Vice President on environmental policies and global advocacy of the France-based power generation and transport company Alstom.

Dickson added that delaying action would be economically and environmentally disastrous as ”low carbon infrastructure, low carbon technology is the most secure and efficient form of infrastructure for the long-term.”

“A global agreement of climate change will give enormous support to the further expansion of that sector and crucially it would give support to all other sectors of the economy because their long-term prosperity ultimately depends on successful transition to low carbon and therefore more stable forms of economic growth,” Dickson said.

The summit, organised by event firm World Climate Ltd, was attended by more than 1,000 representatives from the business and government sectors, aimed at tackling issues pertaining to the on-going negotiations including financing, public-private partnership, technology transfer, solutions on energy mix, resource efficiency and sustainable infrastructure for cities.

Global Environment Facility (GEF) Chief Executive Officer Naoko Ishii said that in the Doha climate talks, governments need to find ways of engaging the business and private sector to help address the climate finance gap.

“Over the past few years, we have not seen huge success in engaging the private sector in achieving a low carbon economy. The current policy of the governments is not helpful yet for the private sector to help achieve sustainable growth,” Ishii said on Sunday.

Supported by the UN and the World Bank, the GEF is the largest financial institution of projects to improve the global environment.

World Bank’s Climate Policy and Finance Director Mary Barton-Dock said at the business meeting on Sunday that the world needs to scale-up the ambition of emission cuts offered by rich countries and to keep financing operationalized.

“Climate change needs to be dealt with as reconfirmed by many studies on the devastating effects of the changing climate, including that of the World Bank, that even we commit to make a deep cut, we are still heading towards a world that is much higher than three degrees warmer. The window to stay in two degrees is closing faster than we thought. So this is a clear call,” Barton-Dock stated.

Barton-Dock was referring to the World Bank report released last week, entitled “Turn Down the Heat” which stated that the global economy will suffer should the world continuous to rise by an average of four degrees Celsius.

She added that governments need to strengthen domestic policy frameworks in support of low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure investment.

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