Friday, September 26, 2014

The We Mean Business Coalition: Low Carbon Economics

There are some powerful coalitions that are helping to make the case for a low carbon economy. One of those groups is the newly formed "We Mean Business" group. As they explain, climate change is not only a very serious threat it is a tremendous opportunity. They make the point that the business community is already feeling the impact of climate change and this is destined to get far worse if we continue with business as usual.

They enumerate the impacts of climate change which include damage to facilities, disruption of supply and distribution chains, threats to power supplies and global food and water resources. Climate change contributes to overall uncertainty to the marketplace thus increasing the cost of doing business.

In response to these threats companies need to "find new ways of doing business. The sooner this is accomplished, the less disruptive and more cost-effective the transition will be."

They show how companies can "unleash a wave of innovation in low carbon technologies, create new products and services, generate employment, reduce energy consumption and increase savings if the right policies are in place."

They also point to businesses which are contributing to solutions by setting ambitious targets, reporting emissions and scaling low carbon investments all of which are part of the clean industrial revolution.

The We Mean Business coalition advocates for the following five points by 2015:

1. A heightened sense of urgency by governments to stabilize emissions
2. Policies that encourage businesses to reduce their impact, including an elimination of fossil fuels subsidies; meaningful carbon pricing; an end to deforestation; robust energy-efficiency standards; support for scaling renewable energy; and trade incentives that encourage a low-carbon economy
3. Clearer long-term goals
4. More transparency and accountability related to climate issues
5. Public finance mechanisms to support investments in low-carbon and resilient infrastructure by the private sector

Their new report, THE CLIMATE HAS CHANGED (PDF), makes the point that a low carbon strategy makes good business sense. This report shows how forward-thinking companies all around the world are achieving strong financial returns and how policymakers can enable bolder action from the private sector. The report quantifies these efforts and shows that companies making investments in low-carbon technologies are realizing a 27 percent average internal rate of return.

"The [report] underlines that we do not have to choose between climate action and economic growth," said Unilever CEO Paul Polman. "The report shows this is a false dilemma. They can be achieved simultaneously. The next 15 years are critical. Around $90 trillion will be invested in cities, land use and energy infrastructure globally between now and 2030."

For more information or to join their initiatives click here.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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