Business poised to push governments on climate deal

By Oxfam

WASHINGTON, DC — On the eve of a global gathering of more than 800 business leaders in Copenhagen, international humanitarian organization Oxfam called on business leaders to make a significant contribution toward a fair and safe deal to tackle climate change by pushing wavering governments towards more ambition and leadership in the international negotiations.

"This is the time that big business must talk as one international voice to political leaders and we anticipate—for the first time—that it will be calling for both long- and mid-term targets for emissions cuts, and for money on the table to help developing countries adapt and pursue low-carbon futures," said Oxfam International executive director Jeremy Hobbs who will address the World Business Summit on Climate Change on Monday. "These are make-or-break issues. We could witness at this meeting the private sector wielding its power for the climate good. The outcome could not matter more to millions of poor people around the world who are already suffering first and worst from the impacts of climate change."

"It is crucial that the Summit's "Copenhagen Call" contains specific detail on these key issues and that it is not derailed by businesses that continue to resist the inevitability of a low-carbon future," Hobbs said. "At the moment, the private sector is a very mixed bag. There are companies providing world-class leadership, vision and action on climate change but others are just looking for loopholes and excuses."

"Companies have a powerful interest to tackle climate change because they have to secure their own markets and supply chains. And they must call for a fair and safe deal so that the future world economy is stable and sustainable," Hobbs said. "It is not only the future of business at stake, but that of human development."

Oxfam urged for the Summit's "Copenhagen Call" to specify at least 80 percent global emission cuts from 1990 levels by 2050 and acknowledge that emissions must peak by 2015 and fall to at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 in developed countries. Summit participants must also demand that rich countries commit the necessary resources for developing countries to adapt and mitigate, including at least $50 billion for adaptation on a yearly basis. Oxfam also warned participants to be wary of "red warning flags," such as voluntary sectoral agreements for target cuts—which could arise in discussions at the Summit.

A growing number of companies have recognized the business case for addressing the climate problem systematically, and they are now advocating for public policies that not only seek to curb dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, but also help developing countries prepare for and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. This includes companies who are part of the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), such as Gap Inc., eBay Inc., Symantec Corp., Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Sun Microsystems, Starbucks and The Timberland Co., which have advocated for the passage of strong US climate and energy policies.

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