Experts are saying 2015 may turn out to be the hottest year on record. But thankfully, as my colleague Tom Murray predicted earlier this year, 2015 is also shaping up to be a year for action – by businesses and governments alike – to bend the curve on the emissions that cause climate change.
This year, the Obama administration introduced important new regulations to cut GHG emissions from the electric power, oil and gas and transportation sectors. And businesses are standing behind them. Investors representing $1.5 trillion in managed assets supported federal limits on methane emissions. PepsiCo, Ben & Jerry’s and other companies called for stronger fuel economy and emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks. And 365 companies and investors wrote to state governors urging timely implementation of the Clean Power Plan, our nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants.
A watershed moment for climate action is approaching in December, when the United States and other nations gather in Paris for the COP21 climate negotiations. A strong agreement in Paris could put the world on a path towards greenhouse gas reductions that science tells us are necessary for a stable climate. Business leadership will be critical, both to embolden the negotiators to reach a strong deal, and to ensure that the U.S. delivers on the commitments made in Paris.
Amplifying business support for climate action
Right now, there is a wealth of opportunities for businesses to voice their support for a strong outcome in Paris, and showcase their own efforts to cut climate pollution. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) recently organized a webinar to present those opportunities and clarify how companies can get involved.
- The American Business Act on Climate Pledge, launched by the White House in July with 13 signatories including Apple, Google, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Walmart. By signing the pledge, companies call for a strong climate deal in Paris and commit to reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions. The White House is now inviting companies of all sectors and sizes to take the pledge and will announce a new round of commitments in the fall.
- The We Mean Business Coalition is calling on companies to make climate commitments in advance of COP21, including setting science-based emission reduction targets, sourcing renewable energy, putting a price on carbon and engaging constructively in climate and energy policy. Commitments made through We Mean Business will also register on the NAZCA Portal, where so far over 1500 companies, investors, cities and regions around the world have pledged to set GHG reduction goals.
- Companies wanting more in-person interaction can attend Climate Week NYC (September 21-28 in New York City), a series of high-profile meetings on climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy. And the Caring for Climate Business Forum (December 7-8 in Paris) will give businesses and investors a venue to meet with government officials and the United Nations right before the COP21 talks.
- Finally, the Corporate Renewables Partnership, an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, BSR, the World Resources Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute, offers resources and assistance for companies that want to increase their use of renewable energy.
We’re excited by the many ways in which companies can show their support for the negotiations in Paris and their commitment to climate action at home. Listen to the webinar, click through the links and see which ones make sense for your company. Most have deadlines in September or October to publicize participation prior to Paris, so the time to act is now.
Every company that calls for action makes business’s voice at the Paris talks stronger, empowering our leaders to strike a strong deal and see it through. And that’s something worth shouting about.
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