The consensus has long been established. The 24th Conference of Parties – or COP24 – is a pivotal moment in the global effort to combat climate change. Taking place in the southern Polish city of Katowice three years after the landmark Paris Agreement was successfully negotiated, COP24 marks the deadline for Parties to agree on the ‘Paris Rulebook’. This implementing framework shows how governments plan on reaching the ambitious goals the agreement sets out – namely, keeping the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2°C.
Recent scientific research has shown just how urgent and fraught it is to reach these global climate goals. The latest special report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that urgent changes are needed to avoid the vast economic and social costs that global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels will entail.
As COP24 kicks off this week, here are four key business priorities:
1. Step up climate ambition
More companies than ever before are taking transformative climate action and the reason is simple: climate change is everyone’s business. A failure to mitigate the impacts of climate change would wreak catastrophic damage on things we all share —our common planet and the prospects for future generations. It would also be extraordinarily bad for business and the global economy as a whole. There are also great gains to be found in leading the charge towards emerging low-carbon markets. ICC is calling on Parties to raise the ambition of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and foster global efforts to reach net greenhouse gas neutrality as soon as possible.
“A failure to address climate change will hurt us all,” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO. “Countries must go beyond the bare minimum and take transformative action if we are to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.”
2. Adopt the Paris Rulebook
In order for companies to fulfil their positive potential for climate action, greater certainty on long-term climate policies and required investments is needed. This Paris Rulebook would allow business to increase their investments in innovation, research, infrastructure and new technologies and solutions that will be essential to achieving the emissions targets and ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
“We encourage all Parties at COP24 to finalise the key details that will enable full implementation of the Paris Agreement,” said Justin Perrettson, Head of Global Engagements at Novozymes and Chair of ICC’s Commission on Environment and Energy. “This will encourage more ambitious NDCs, as well as innovation to support climate change issues.”
3. Bring business to the table
The climate rules and policies that are agreed at the international and national levels will have an enormous impact on how business can help combat climate change, affecting companies’ domestic and international operations, supply chains, planning and investments. This means that business has uniquely relevant insights, technical expertise and case studies that will be critical to ensuring the effectiveness of NDCs.
While business is participating in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the dialogue could be much more effective. In the spirit of the Talanoa Dialogue – the Fijian tradition of inclusive, participatory and transparent decision-making – ICC urges Parties to include business in developing climate change policy, to accelerate and encourage private sector innovation in game-changing technologies through appropriate fiscal policies and de-risking flows of private capital into climate change adaptation and mitigation investment opportunities.
4. Design transformative climate policies that work for everyone, every day, everywhere
As the IPCC Special Report on 1.5° states, urgent and transformative policies are needed to reach the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Such changes will have dramatic implications for workers around the world and their communities – especially those in industries with larger carbon footprints. As we work to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, it will be necessary for all society’s stakeholders to set a sustainable path for communities, workers and the climate that leaves no one behind.
Business is a key agent in this regard and ICC has launched a new paper setting out the global business community’s principles for a just transition – safeguarding the economic and social viability of communities throughout the global shift to a net-zero emissions economy by working together with all stakeholders.
Visit the ICC website to view the messages we’ll be voicing at COP24 on behalf of businessand get the full business perspective on the Paris Rulebook: www.iccwbo.org/cop24
Follow us on Twitter throughout COP24 at @iccwbo
Photo by UNFCCC