Business groups urge finance ministers to back strong climate deal

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Joint letter calls on finance ministers to ensure their countries are prepared for transition to low carbon economy

A group of 11 international business organisations have today called on G20 and EU finance ministers to "step up their efforts" to deliver a strong agreement at the UN climate negotiations in Paris later this month.

In a letter organised by the Prince of Wales' Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), ministers are also urged to play an active role in creating effective national policies to build low-carbon economies and increase resilience to the effects of climate change.

The letter is signed by 11 global groups including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), The Climate Group, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), Japan Climate Leaders' Partnership (Japan-CLP) and Brazilian business organisation Platforma Empresas pelo Clima (EPC). Collectively, the groups work with thousands of businesses around the world.

"As leaders from the global business community, we urge you to ensure your country is prepared for a smooth, just and rapid transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, and that you have the right measures in place to ensure financial stability in the context of climate change," the letter reads.

Philippe Joubert, chair of the CLG and former president of French firm Alstom Power, said strong leadership is needed from finance ministers to deliver effective national policies for the low-carbon economy. "With this letter we wish to ensure that finance ministers from around the world are clear that there is powerful business support for this transition and a Paris agreement," he said in a statement.

The letter highlights the need for a long-term global emissions goal that ensures that emissions reach net zero well before the end of the century. It also stresses the importance of ensuring that climate finance commitments are fulfilled, and outlines the conditions needed to accelerate private investment in low-carbon infrastructure and technology. It urges ministers to make clear moves towards fixing a robust price on carbon and to phase out "perverse" fossil fuel subsidies.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, chief-executive of CLG member EDF, said carbon pricing, combined with fossil fuel subsidy reform, represents a "significant pathway to real decarbonisation".  

"In order to catalyse change we are convinced that we need a carbon price to enable deep decarbonisation pathways through innovative low-carbon solutions as well as the elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas," he said in a statement.  

In related news, French president François Hollande and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have today released a statement in support of a strong Paris deal, including an agreement to push for five-yearly reviews to ensure countries are keeping up with their commitments.

Hollande has travelled to China - which is the world's biggest polluter - for a two-day state visit in a bid to try to persuade the country to give backing to a strong deal in Paris, saying Chinese support was "essential" to reaching an effective climate deal.

China has previously promised to generate a fifth of its electricity from clean sources and peak emissions by 2030.

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC.

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