Multinationals throw weight behind UN climate deal

Economic prosperity could be placed at risk unless countries agree ambitious carbon cutting pact, say business leaders

(Pic: DECC/Flickr)

(Pic: DECC/Flickr)

By Ed King

BT, Coke, Mars and IKEA are among a coalition of businesses calling for governments to agree a strong global climate change pact in Paris later this year.

In a letter addressed to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the companies say the agreement must limit warming to 2C above pre industrial levels.

“Failure to tackle climate change could put economic prosperity at risk.  But the right action now would create jobs and boost competitiveness,” they write.

The businesses also call on the government to set ambitious long term targets for emission cuts by to 2032 and set out a green investment framework to encourage low carbon growth.

The letter comes two days after the UK and its G7 allies agreed to aim for an end to greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century.

The group of seven industrialised nations – which includes the EU 28 – also agreed to target emission curbs of 40-70% on 2010 levels by 2050.

Unclear trajectory

Pressure is growing on the UK government – which has been in office for just over a month since the election in May – to outline how it will develop the country’s energy infrastructure.

Earlier this week five leading NGOs released a “UK climate plan” urging the government to show leadership ahead of December’s UN climate summit.

Ahead of the election Cameron signed a cross-party letter committing to an ambitious climate deal and the phasing out of dirty coal power plants, a move welcomed by green groups.

But critics point to a Conservative ban on new onshore wind farms – the cheapest form of clean energy – as evidence of muddled policymaking.

“As we approach international climate talks, Britain should be a global champion for change, but a lack of consistent long-term policies sends a confusing message to business and undermines our attractiveness to investors,” said WWF-UK chief executive David Nussbaum.

“The Prime Minister should send a clear message that the only way forward is a green economy, and support forward-looking firms that want to build a clean economy.”


Business leaders appear to be taking a heightened interest in a planned UN climate deal. In May networks representing 6.5 million companies offered their backing to a long term emissions reduction goal.

In the past few weeks Axa Insurance announced it was ditching €500 million of coal assets before 2016, and IKEA released plans for $1 billion of green investments around the world.

Leading oil majors Shell, BP and Total have also said they want a seat at the Paris talks, writing to the UN and offering help in developing a global price on carbon.

“Climate change is a critical challenge for our world. We stand ready to play our part,” they said.

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