Corporations and Cities Lead on Climate Action
In the wake of the Paris climate talks, 400 companies, 120 investors, and 50 cities from around the world have committed to the Paris Pledge for Action, promising to move quickly to implement the climate agreement and accelerate the changes needed to meet our climate challenge. Kellogg’s and Unilever are among the corporations who have signed on, and cities like Hong Kong, New York, and Rio de Janeiro have pledged their dedication as well. As stated in this article, together the signatories represent 150 million people and over $11 trillion in investments and capital.
The signatories have promised to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level and build resilience against those changes already occurring,” and to transform the climate agreement into the moment when a “low-emission and climate resilient economy became inevitable, irreversible and irresistible.”
These commitments are significant not only because of the progress promised, but also because they send an important message that the world is ready to embrace a future driven by clean energy. The fact that the world’s largest corporations are embracing this multi-billion dollar opportunity to transition to a cleaner, more resilient world sends a clear message to all that climate action is happening. And while it is easy for climate skeptics and conservatives to dismiss the claims made by liberals or environmentalists, climate messaging from the world’s biggest corporations carries a weight that is not as easily rejected.
Additionally, the commitment of major cities across the world is important for implementing climate strategies to reach the targets set by the Paris climate agreement. Climate action plans are increasingly including collaborative efforts between local municipalities and business leaders, who can work to improve the lives of residents; bring clean, stable, high paying jobs to their cities; and open up new markets for green businesses – important sustainability co-benefits that everyone supports.
By James Murray, contributor to businessGreen
Just days after world leaders celebrated the signing of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, over 400 businesses, including many of the planet’s largest firms, have signed a joint declaration pledging to support the goals of the new deal.
The Paris Pledge for Action or L’Appel de Paris has already been signed by over 400 businesses, 120 investors, 150 cities and regions representing 150 million people and $11tr. Businesses, cities, regions, NGOs, and trade unions are now being invited to sign onto the pledge.
The new commitment welcomes the Paris Agreement, which this weekend saw over 190 countries commit to keeping global temperatures well below 2C, ensuring emissions peak as “soon as possible”, delivering net zero emissions this century, and backing a system of national climate action plans that will be reviewed every five years.
“We welcome the adoption of a new, universal climate agreement at COP21 in Paris, which is a critical step on the path to solving climate change,” the pledge reads. “We pledge our support to ensuring that the level of ambition set by the agreement is met or exceeded.”
Signatories to the pledge include multinational giants from a wide range of sectors, including Diageo, Ericsson, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Swiss Re, Tesco and Verizon. It has also been backed by business groups, such as the We Mean Business coalition, faith groups, leading city governments, such as London and Los Angeles, and top investors and pension funds.
The signatories commit to taking “concrete steps” to deliver on the Paris Agreement with immediate effect.
“We will [be] taking concrete steps now, and without waiting for the entry into force of the agreement in 2020, both individually and cooperatively, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level and build resilience against those changes already occurring,” the group said. “We will look back at this moment as our turning point, when the transition to a low-emission and climate resilient economy became inevitable, irreversible and irresistible. We must, we can and, together, we will solve climate change.”
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