Climate change

Growing world demand for energy will impact climate policy, business says

  • 7 December 2005

In its submission on behalf of world business to the United Nations’ conference on climate change, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said today that the basic challenge was to meet the world’s growing demand for energy, “essential to sustain economic growth and improve living standards, while also addressing long-term concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the environment.”

The business submission was made to the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The statement added: “ICC believes the development and global utilization of both existing and new cost-effective, efficient energy technologies with low greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors is the most effective way to improve access to energy, to promote energy efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

This could best be facilitated through a variety of approaches, including, for example, research and development incentives, voluntary initiatives, market-oriented measures, and steps to promote technology transfer and eliminate existing barriers that inhibit more widespread use and transfer of existing efficient technology.

The ICC submission said the scale of effort and investment needed to meet growing energy needs was enormous. “The International Energy Agency, in its World Energy Investment Outlook, projects the need for 16 trillion dollars of investment in energy supply and distribution systems over the next 30 years.

“These investments, or their deferral, have important economic, social, environmental and political implications today and even more so for the future,” ICC said. “Energy investments will affect the viability of all businesses, and, indeed, national economies.”

ICC said decisions on the substantial investments necessary to secure energy supply and distribution would not wait for consensus in climate negotiations and the development of modalities to implement commitments. “Current uncertainty already affects investment plans, costs and outcomes.

“Choices made by governments, businesses and policymakers now and in the future hold the potential to alter national competitiveness and future investment and employment trends as well as the ability to respond to future environmental concerns.”