Monday, December 8, 2008

Global business leaders call for tougher emissions targets

ABC News Online, Posted Mon Dec 8, 2008 9:47am AEDT 

Updated Mon Dec 8, 2008 10:07am AEDT

Global business leaders have joined forces to call on governments around the world to bring in tougher carbon emissions reduction targets.

One hundred and forty international business leaders have taken out a double-page advertisement in today's Financial Review to issue a communique to coincide with the ongoing international climate change talks in the Polish city of Poznan.

Australian-based businesses supporting the communique include the National Australia Bank (NAB), Price Waterhouse Coopers, Lend Lease and Linfox.

The communique says the Poznan conference "must establish a long-term global emissions reduction pathway" and adds that "developed countries need to take on immediate and deep economy-wide emission reduction commitments."

"Climate change poses global social, environmental and economic risks and demands a transformational change in how we manage our global economy," it says.

"We must deliver deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate severe climate change, and must adapt to cope with the climactic changes we are already experiencing and those we are predicted to face."

In return for action from governments, the business leaders say they "pledge to engage positively with governments to help develop the policies and measures that are needed internationally and nationally for the business sector to contribute effectively to the shift to a low carbon economy."

Environment Business Australia chief executive Fiona Wain says greater action is required by developed nations to bring about immediate and deep reduction commitments.

"We're still studying history for examples instead of looking at what the science is telling us, and what the commercial opportunities are telling us," she said.

"We need to seize these opportunities and that means that we need really steep targets taken by developed countries, so that we can begin to build a new commercial carbon bridge into the future."

Ms Wain says there are many more things governments can do.

"Not just emissions trading, although we think that is a really good cornerstone, but a strong regulatory framework, international standards, national standards, and of course fiscal incentives and penalties," she said.

"We need to throw everything that we possibly can at this, to make sure that we get meaningful action."

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