Climate change

ICC launches paper on sectoral approaches to climate change

  • 13 December 2007

The launch of an ICC discussion paper and a panel on sectoral approaches to climate change drew more than 100 participants on the penultimate day of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting, as scores more watched via a webcast on the UNFCCC’s website.

In the evolving debate over ways to address climate change, especially in the post 2012 period, sectoral agreements or approaches have gained increasing attention.

Sectoral approaches offer potential to address climate change risks and offer solutions across a range of climate change concerns, including the need for more research and education, more technological innovation, a larger skilled workforce and greater cooperation between business and government to develop technological solutions. Reducing global warming and adapting to the effects of climate change can also be addressed through sectoral approaches.

Different stakeholders have widely varying concepts about sectoral approaches, and how these approaches would work when implementing an international climate policy. Lack of clarity and assorted definitions of sectoral agreements and approaches make it difficult to evaluate these strategies.

For the event in Bali, ICC brought together panellists from a number of key sectors and associations for two discussions. They included:

Panel I: “Strategies to combat climate change from various industrial sectors”

Panel II: “How sectoral approaches stimulate the diffusion of advanced energy technologies”

In the policy debate, a sectoral orientation is appealing because companies competing in a given sector tend to produce similar families of goods and services and rely on common families of technologies. Panellists agreed that it makes sense to develop policies to address such a wide web of economic activity, because greenhouse gases are emitted from the use of these technologies. Several panelists gave examples of policies that should be considered to drive changes to these technologies which lead to higher efficiency with lower emissions, or to cleaner technologies.

Mr Christmas, who described the International Iron and Steel Institute’s new global steel sector approach to reducing CO2 emissions worldwide, highlighted the benefits as well as the challenges of the effort. “With steel consumption growing at 10 percent a year in China, just stabilizing emissions is a hell of a task,” he said. China accounts for approximately 50 percent of total steelmaking CO2 emissions.

ICC’s paper cautions that sectoral approaches are one significant element in a portfolio of actions to address climate change, but should not be considered in isolation.

ICC’s Commission on Environment and Energy develops business positions and represents business during intergovernmental consultations on these two issues.