Let’s succeed together
Two weeks ago, We Mean Business came to Paris calling for a new climate agreement that made business sense. A deal that provided ambition, confidence and created a level playing field across all geographies. And one which, most of all, would accelerate the transition to the thriving, clean economy we all want to see.
Since then, aided by the constructive engagement from all Parties, the French Presidency has expertly steered COP21 through extensive consultations and late nights. All sides deserve credit for how they have conducted themselves and we now find ourselves on the verge of a universal climate agreement.
The current draft Paris agreement already includes clear signals which provide the confidence, ambition and level playing field the business community was seeking a fortnight ago. These signals now need to be locked in, including:
- The purpose of funneling financial flows to the low emission and climate resilient economy.
- Voluntary long-term low emission development strategies from countries.
- Updating national targets every five years, including five years from now.
- Future commitments which progress beyond previous ones and reflect each country’s highest possible ambition.
- A strong Workstream 2 to accelerate pre-2020 ambition, led by two high-profile champions, and addressing both mitigation and adaptation.
The long-term goal
But we are not quite there yet. The crucial missing signal is the long-term goal.
As Ministers move into the end game, they must resolve crunch issues like finance and differentiation, in order to secure a strong deal. This will smooth negotiations on the remaining and most important signal which provides certainty to the real economy – the long-term goal.
We understand that differentiation must be resolved to achieve a diplomatic settlement among countries. But in the real economy we call on every company, no matter which sector, to act to the limit of its capabilities. That is the only way we can tackle the climate challenge.
We ask Ministers to be bold in reaching a strong, ambitious agreement which enables business to create a thriving global economy.
We also understand that scaling up the US$100 billion pledge from Copenhagen is key to a strong deal. But we remind governments that a strong Paris deal is itself the bigger finance package, which sends signals to unlock trillions of low-carbon dollars.
To do this, the key signal we still need to see is a long-term goal with three parts: a clear destination, on a time frame which matches science, and which operationalizes a collective temperature goal. It matters less what we call it, and more how soon we get to zero.
Our commitments to you
Business and investors are already acting. The We Mean Business campaign has picked up speed during COP21. Now we have 360 companies with over US$7 trillion in revenue, and 160 investors with US$20 trillion in assets under management, making 850 ambitious commitments to climate action.
We came to Paris asking for signals to accelerate the transformation to a thriving clean economy. We see those signals coming into place.
To the governments who conclude a strong deal, we make three commitments:
- We commit to being your partners in implementing the Paris Agreement.
- We commit to accelerating business action on climate.
- And we commit to work with you to progressively increase our collective ambition.
We will succeed together
On 30 March 1885, Gustave Eiffel presented plans to the Société des Ingénieurs Civils for a monument to be built in the center of Paris. He concluded by saying the new tower would symbolize:
"The century of industry and science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude."
Parties now stand on the precipice of creating a new Paris monument for the 21st century and beyond, one which lays the foundation of a new era of clean jobs and greater prosperity for all. Ministers should recognize their place in history. We ask them to be bold in reaching a strong, ambitious agreement which enables business to create a thriving global economy.