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Companies, Investors Call For Decisive Action at Climate Talks

Two separate initiatives this week urged governments to find a path forward at UN-sponsored climate talks beginning Monday in Doha, Qatar.

More than 100 international companies, including Shell, Unilever, Swiss Re and Skanska, called on policy makers to focus on achieving a clear global carbon price to underpin the investment needed to deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The companies endorsed a Communiqué coordinated by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, with contributions from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Emissions Trading Association.

The businesses believe a market-driven carbon price would offer regulatory certainty and create a level playing field to drive low-carbon investment and innovation. “A price on carbon [...] can open the door to increased ambition,” the Communiqué reads.

The Carbon Price Communiqué, was presented to the European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard. 

The Communiqué notes “a key lesson from existing systems is that without sufficient ambition the carbon price signal will not effectively drive investment or raise significant funds [...] carbon pricing is not a silver bullet, but in combination with other locally appropriate policies, the scope for change is enormous.”

Separately, investor advocacy group Ceres published an open letter addressed to the governments of the world’s largest economies, calling for a new dialogue on climate change policy in order to avert dangerous climate change and its resulting economic impacts. The letter calls for:

  • Clear, consistent and predictable policies that encourage low-carbon investment
  • Knowledge sharing between governments on effective climate and clean energy policies, building on successful existing national and regional measures
  • Stronger international agreements that send clear market signals about the future of climate policy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions

The re-election of President Obama in the United States, the leadership transition in China and the upcoming gathering of policy makers in Doha for the UN climate change conference provide an opportunity for investors and governments to begin a new dialogue on climate change, the group said.

According to the 2012 International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook, announced last week, current policies and recent trends will lead to a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6°C, a level which scientists have suggested could cause catastrophic and irreversible changes to the global ecosystem.

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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