Bienvenido a LimaWe Mean Business
From: We Mean Business
To: Government Ministers; Business Leaders
CC: Everyone else
Subject: Virtual Introductions: We suggest you meet to talk about climate
Dear Ministers and Business Leaders,
Welcome to Lima! We thought we would take this opportunity to virtually introduce you to one another. We know you are both in town right now and are concerned that you might not actually connect. A meeting would be so fortuitous, as we feel you have a common interest in a swift transition to a low carbon economy – both as a means to secure sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all.
Now that you are arriving for the High Level segment, we want to introduce you to a vast array of business leaders – from every sector and region of the world. These captains of industry may be able to help you resolve a long-standing dilemma in the climate negotiations. It seems that we may be on the cusp of reaching agreement by sacrificing ambition. Why are we being asked to set aside the need for targets in line with science? Why are we asked to choose a low ambition agreement when a high ambition pathway is within reach?
Bold climate action is not a burden; it is a historic economic opportunity that forward-thinking companies have already taken advantage of – in some cases seeing an IRR of 27% on low carbon investments. A recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance report investments in global clean energy rose from US$39 billion in 2004 to US$257 billion in 2011, representing more than a six-fold increase in seven years. Analysts at McKinsey further estimate that “if [energy efficiency measures are] executed at scale, gross energy savings worth more than US$1.2 trillion” annually could be achieved. A calculation from E3G suggests that climate policies and incentives around the globe collectively add up to around €3 trillion in additional low-carbon investment by 2030. And finally, UNEP estimates that the renewable energy sector already generates more jobs than employment in fossil fuels and that employment in alternative energy may rise to 2.1 million in wind power and 6.3 million in solar power by 2030. These typically well-paying jobs, in turn, contribute to stimulating the economy.
Now that the ministers are here, we want to encourage you to actively engage with them to help construct the new international climate regime. During these two weeks at COP, we have had a persistent feeling that business and government have been operating in parallel universes. At times, the private sector has appeared to be in Lima but not actually at COP. Many business leaders have been here for side events and to participate in the important trade fair component of the climate talks. Very few, however, have truly engaged with the nitty-gritty of the negotiations.
We feel it would be such a missed opportunity if you don’t get a chance to meet the ministers. After all, a new policy-enabling environment for low carbon development is being constructed all around you. Do you want to shape it or watch others shape it for you?
More than 90 countries have submitted formal pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Many have initiated domestic actions to make and as a result, different policy innovations and financial incentives are being tested around the world. A report produced by the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) International reveals significant climate action in 33 countries, including many developing countries. It includes 17 of the top 20 emitters of GHGs and 24 of the top 50, representing more than 85 percent of global emissions. And now we have progress towards a historic climate agreement that will involve emissions reductions in all countries for the very first time.
You will both benefit enormously from coming together to address these issues and effectively deploying your respective strengths. Here are a few areas you could focus on:
1. Reduce uncertainty by committing to a long-term decarbonization pathway: You both know that the goal of limiting average global temperature increases to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels requires ambitious greenhouse-gas emissions reductions consistent with climate science. You also understand that this requires net-zero emissions well before the end of the century. We suggest you work together in creating a policy environment that is consistent and predictable—factors that encourage long-term investments and coherent planning. Of course government and business both love metrics to measure progress. To that end, you might consider cooperating to set up effective mechanisms for transparency and accountability that will lead us to emissions reductions contributions that are quantifiable, comparable, and therefore capable of being aggregated to ensure consistency with the long-term goal of decarbonization.
2. Scale-up climate finance: You both know that new, additional, adequate, and predictable climate finance from both public and private sources is needed to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy. We encourage you to work together to ensure policies aimed at encouraging private-sector finance contain incentives for business to invest in climate projects and support for companies to manage financial risk.
3. Work together on short-term ambition: Currently, there’s a significant gap between the level of greenhouse gas emissions we are predicted to reach by 2020 and the current pathways that would limit the increase to below 2°C. Business wants governments’ help to close that gap. One workstream of the negotiations has helped identify ambitious policy options and opportunities for multi-stakeholder collaboration. This workstream, which is not as politicized as the negotiations for a new climate agreement, is focused on practical action and is the most accessible part of the UN process for business engagement. We suggest you discuss ways to make this workstream concrete and open for business.
As you can see, you have much to discuss with each other. We know that you are busy and have a lot on your plate while in Lima. But we really believe that you will both enjoy meeting – and that this connection could prove to be most fruitful.
We leave it to you to take it from here!
We Mean Business