Business Asks COP21 Negotiators for Specific Text in Paris Agreement to Ensure Ambition

November 24, 2015
  • Samantha Harris

    Former Associate Director, BSR

With less than one week until the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, the We Mean Business coalition (of which BSR is a founding member) has released a brief outlining specific language business leaders would like to see in the final diplomatic agreement in order to spur ambitious action from the private sector to advance a low-carbon economy.

To date, nearly 170 countries that are responsible for more than 93 percent of global emissions have established national country commitments, many organizations and companies have issued commitments to reduce climate impacts and build resilience, and there has been a significant increase in climate finance from both the public and private sectors. “The Business Brief: Shaping a Catalytic Paris Agreement” complements these efforts by seeking to ensure a strong diplomatic agreement at COP21. The brief sets out eight key text proposals that, if adopted in the final Paris Agreement, would send the necessary political signal that long-term decarbonization is inevitable—creating an opportunity for real change in the economy.

The brief proposes actual language climate negotiators can use in the agreement, offering two sets of possible text for each ask: a preferred option (“transformation”), and a less ambitious option (“landing zone”), that would nonetheless deliver much of what business needs to lead the transition to a new climate economy. The text was crafted in a way that should allow for government consensus.

The goal of We Mean Business is to be constructive partners in this process, aligning an understanding of business needs with the collective action that governments will undertake at COP21. The ultimate aim is to help shape an agreement that goes beyond a diplomatic settlement among nations and becomes a catalytic instrument for climate ambition for all stakeholders.

The “asks” cover eight areas where business has asked policymakers to help the private sector go further, faster:

  1. Net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before the end of the century
  2. Strengthen commitments every five years
  3. Enact meaningful carbon pricing
  4. New and additional climate finance at scale
  5. Transparency and accountability to promote a race to the top
  6. National commitments at the highest end of ambition
  7. Adaptation to build climate-resilient economies and communities
  8. Pre-2020 ambition through workstream 2

BSR and We Mean Business will fiercely advance these policy asks during the Paris climate negotiations to ensure that the most ambitious options are included in the new global climate change agreement. We aspire to contribute to an international agreement that stimulates the private sector and makes business a partner with governments in implementing ambitious climate action. We look forward to working with our members and others in the business community, as well as with policymakers, to shape 
a policy environment that accelerates climate leadership and shows that the transition to the low-carbon economy is inevitable, irreversible, and irresistible.

The full brief is available here.

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