The Most Important UN Climate Initiative for BusinessRyan Schuchard & Edward Cameron
The UN climate framework is crucial to increasing the level of government ambition to enact new climate policies and, in the process, to strengthening coordination among governments. In particular, the framework seeks to develop a global treaty, starting in 2020, to set targets and determine which countries will be required to do what.
This effort, known as “Workstream 1,” typically happens behind closed doors, where negotiators representing national state departments and foreign affairs ministries make decisions, largely without input from business.
Now, a new effort, dubbed “Workstream 2,” is giving business the chance to provide substantive input, demonstrate leadership, and gain support for promising international initiatives. This program—which aims to scale up technologies and new initiatives rapidly—will allow companies to participate in collaborative initiatives and contribute technical information to projects focused on a range of topics: emissions reductions, energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy supply, transportation, land use, waste, and short-lived climate pollutants.
While details are still being debated in Lima, there are two clear ways company leaders can get involved with Workstream 2 after COP20:
- Participate in current initiatives: Business leaders in the renewable-energy, energy-efficiency, land-use, and urban-environment sectors can participate in “technical expert meetings,” which allow them to showcase best practices, gain access to UN institutions that can help scale initiatives internationally, and work with peers to evaluate climate-related solutions.
- Start new initiatives: Workstream 2 administrators are seeking ideas for new initiatives, especially to expand low greenhouse-gas transportation fuels, help major energy users partner with governments to expand renewable energy access, develop regional collaborations to build adaptive capacity, and scale up existing supply chain efforts. To facilitate this, BSR will be working with policymakers and business leaders to create explore and create new opportunities.
For companies, Workstream 2 will offer numerous opportunities to contribute to positive climate action, including the chance to provide input into analysis of technology and policy, highlight where emerging markets need help, and shape how new resources can support ongoing initiatives.
As Workstream 2 evolves, BSR will act as a conduit and information source for member companies. We will share updates and opportunities via our blog.