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30 Nov 2010 10:11:49

Governments to spur carbon opportunities

Companies should engage government and lobby for regulation to speed up the development of low carbon solutions.

On the way up to the Cancun Summit, the world’s largest organizations are reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) that they see "significant" opportunities related to climate change, and that carbon is increasingly becoming a strategic management priority. Governments across the globe now need to support industry in realizing these carbon-related economic opportunities.

There is considerable economic potential for business in the shift to a low-carbon and energy-secure economy, and that is a force that is clearly driving innovation and progress. Companies like British Sky Broadcasting in the UK have reduced customers' carbon emissions by around 124,000 tonnes. However, while some companies are hesitating on taking action to manage carbon until regulation has set in, many other companies are already grasping opportunities.

However, despite businesses are moving towards a low carbon economy, an international agreement on long-term carbon reduction targets would give business the certainty required to stimulate the full level of investment that is needed to speed up the development of low carbon solutions.

Governments everywhere must understand where climate change opportunities lie and know how best to support industry in carbon mitigation and carbon reduction efforts, whereas it's up to businesses to communicate this message through their own case studies.

Although, an increasing number of companies are reporting on carbon reduction targets (a four-fold increase in 2010 since the CDP first started the corporate reporting process eight years ago), only 35% of the world's 500 largest companies are engaging with policy agencies and governments to drive climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change said "The green race has started and we are on the verge of a new industrial revolution which must succeed. The best course for business is to press governments to give companies and investors the regulatory framework and the incentives and benchmarks to push this new revolution forward on to a global scale."

After the disappointment at the Copenhagen summit last year, businesses have an opportunity in the lead up to Cancun to show government and lobby that carbon reduction efforts should be regulated and rewarded through international policy. Companies should engage government and lobby for regulation that drives both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Business has a key role to play in the race for green job creation and green growth that is now central to climate policy, and it is important that companies use greater engagement with policy makers to move us more quickly to a global agreement.

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