Business could deliver two-thirds of emissions cuts needed for 2C

Madeleine Cuff

Industry action plans could drive $10tr of investment in low-carbon technologies over the next 15 years, new analysis shows

Climate action plans drawn up by a coalition of leading businesses could deliver up to 65 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to put the world on a two-degree pathway, according to new analysis published today by PwC.

The report, produced in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), analyses the climate ambitions of nine industries set out by business working groups as part of the WBCSD's Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative. 

More than 140 businesses - including global brands such as Kellogg's, Monsanto, PepsiCo, Shell and Unilever - have participated in round table meetings over the past year to develop nine industry-specific action plans for emissions reductions post-Paris.

The action plans cover low-carbon freight, renewables, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency in buildings, cement, chemicals, low-carbon transport fuels, climate smart agriculture, and forests.

Today's analysis of the action plans was written by PwC's sustainability and climate change team. It finds that if the plans deliver on their ambitions, they could drive up to $10tr of investment into low-carbon sectors of the global economy by 2030 and create up to 45 million jobs.

Speaking at the launch of the report in London later today, Peter Bakker, president of the WBCSD, will call on governments to deliver a strong climate deal that will provide a robust framework for businesses to meet their climate goals.

"Business leaders from around the world are taking action and showing governments their support in tackling the climate challenge," he will say. "However, business cannot do it alone: we can only safeguard the earth's future when business and policymakers act together. We urgently need an ambitious climate agreement in Paris to set the policy framework that will enable us to deliver on our mutual goals."

Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC, said any deal in Paris must provide businesses with "certainty and ambition" to invest in low-carbon opportunities over the long term. "It's clear from our analysis that business has both a critical role to play in achieving national level targets, and has a major opportunity to grasp," he said in a statement.

The nine working groups will meet today in London to take the next steps in finalising the action plans before they are formally presented to leaders in Paris later this month. The climate plans are currently at varying stages of development - although BusinessGreen understands that the plan for the renewables industry, which includes an ambition to support the deployment of 1.5TW of additional renewable power by 2025, is verging on completion.

As part of the renewables target, the renewables working group has outlined a series of investment-boosting actions for the sector, including developing low-carbon micro-grids, scaling green bond finance for renewable energy and improving grid integration for renewables.

The UN's climate chief, Christiana Figueres, welcomed the analysis, commenting that the potential levels of emission reductions are "game-changing" in terms of the support they provide to governments and international targets.

"The number of companies but also cities moving towards a low carbon world is of level, range and scope that is unprecedented. Paris offers an opportunity for more companies to come on board in order to accelerate a transition that has now become inevitable and irreversible," she added in a statement.

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

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