Despite U.S. Uncertainty on Paris, Business Momentum for Climate Action Remains Strong

May 30, 2017
  • Aron Cramer portrait

    Aron Cramer

    President and CEO, BSR

  • David Wei

    Former Managing Director, Climate and Nature, BSR

At the G7 Summit concluded this past weekend, the United States was unable to join consensus on the Paris Agreement on climate change, with a decision postponed to this week. BSR urges the United States to remain in the Paris Agreement on climate change. In this we are joined by the CEOs of major American companies, by some of the largest companies operating in the United States, and by more than 1,000 companies that employ 1.85 million Americans who have reaffirmed their commitment to American participation in the Paris Agreement.

We are confident that the business community will continue to lead on climate action, following the vision of the Paris Agreement, informed by climate science, and driven by the business imperative for innovation, jobs, and growth. U.S. participation in and implementation of the Paris Agreement would speed our transition to a resilient, low-carbon economy, enable American and global businesses to face the future with confidence, and spark innovation that will create shared prosperity.

Although the U.S. administration is pulling back from its leadership at home and abroad, incredible momentum on climate action remains. The business community is increasingly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience in line with the Paris Agreement. We anticipate that this leadership will accelerate, as companies set and implement targets for their own operations and throughout the vast global footprint of their value chains, and protect workers in these value chains from inevitable climate impacts.

For example, Walmart’s Project Gigaton aims to remove one billion tons of emissions from its supply chain by 2030—equal to the annual emissions of Germany. And last week HPE launched a supply chain program based on climate science to remove 100 million tons of emissions—equal to the annual emissions of Greece. 266 companies have now committed to setting science-based targets which represent their share of keeping warming well below 2°C. General Mills has committed to a 28 percent reduction by 2025 across its value chain, from farm to fork to landfill.

The low-carbon economy will take the lion’s share of finance in coming years. Annual renewable energy investment has grown from US$45 billion to more than US$270 billion over the last decade—by a factor of six. Through 2040, US$7.8 trillion out of the US$11.4 trillion invested in power generation will go toward renewable energy.

The low-carbon economy will also generate innovation and jobs. For instance, Goldman Sachs predicts that electric vehicles will experience a compound annual growth rate of 32 percent in the next 10 years, and Tesla aims to produce battery cells by 2020 that are 30-35 percent cheaper than they are today. The solar and wind industries are both creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. Smart policy incentives will accelerate this low-carbon innovation, bringing wide economic benefits.

Together, we’re building a resilient, low-carbon economy that enables growth, good jobs, security, strong communities, and a healthy planet. We believe the business community understands the inevitability of the low-carbon transition and recognizes the opportunity it represents. U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and the withdrawal of domestic policies which implement the agreement, are major errors which would weaken our economy, our health, and our environment.  

Let’s talk about how BSR can help you to transform your business and achieve your sustainability goals.

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