Bolstering the case that fighting climate change isn't just sound environmental policy, but that it's good business policy as well, a group of over 100 of the world's largest investors have released a policy statement urging strong action to prevent global warming. Leading the call was economist Lord Nicholas Stern, who said "building a low carbon economy creates opportunities for investment in clean technologies that promise to transform our society in the same way as...electricity or railways did in the past." Here's specifically what the policy statement recommends:
- A global target for emission reductions by 2050, based on a 1990 baseline, of 50-85%
- In developed nations emission reductions of 25-40% by 2020, and 80-95% by 2050.
- Developing country action plans that deliver measurable and verifiable emission reductions.
- Government support for energy efficient and low carbon technology.
- Measures that support the move to an effective global carbon market.
- Revisions to the Clean Development Mechanism to ensure real, permanent and verifiable emission reductions.
- Public financing mechanisms that leverage private sector finance for investment in developing countries.
- Measures to reduce deforestation and promote afforestation.
- Support for adaptation to unavoidable climate change impacts.
Business & Science Align, But Politics Prevents Action
So pretty much what scientists and many environmental policy specialists have been saying repeatedly in the past 12 months, and all solid recommendations. The thing that really grabs me though is the fact that with less than three months to go until the COP15 talks this sort of reiteration has to go on -- specifically in terms of emission reduction targets.
The developing world says they support the sort of short- to mid-term cuts recommended here and will participate in a global agreement if the rich world agrees to them. Climate scientists say that these are what are needed to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. Now, a whole slew of bottom-line thinking business people say this is what is needed, and it will be profitable to make them.
Yet, with few exceptions, the rich countries of the world can't get past their fear of losing economic privilege -- even though by all indications that won't happen -- and do what both environmental and economic science says the moment and the future needs.
Read the full policy statement: 2009 Investor Statement on the Urgent Need for a Global Agreement on Climate Change
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