Climate change

Predictable rules can unleash the power of the private sector, business tells climate negotiators

  • 7 December 2005

At the UN climate talks in Montreal, business representatives have put forward their perspectives on a long-term international policy approach to address global climate change.

As many delegates at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change begin to look beyond the Kyoto Protocol’s targets and timetables, they are considering more flexible ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2012. Executives attending under the banner of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) urged governments to take a long-term view of the climate challenge, saying that increased economic development in poorer countries would provide important opportunities for new technologies and new practices to curb emissions.

Presenting the business viewpoint were Nick Campbell (Environment Manager, Arkema S.A.), Brian Flannery (Science Strategy and Programmes Manager, Exxon Mobil Corp., Vice-Chair of the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy) and Masayuki Sasanouchi (Project General Manager, Toyota Motor Corp). They said business could contribute to society by promoting cleaner development, prosperity, job creation and an improved quality of life, but only if the appropriate policy frameworks are put in place.

“Business excels both in developing innovative technologies and in delivering the goods through commercialization and effective management,” said Mr Flannery. “In addition, global companies often form voluntary initiatives and partnerships to address the climate challenge.”

The executives said that the key to enabling the private sector to fulfill its potential most effectively lay in the hands of governments.

“Only governments can ensure good governance, transparency, protection of intellectual property, open markets, and safe and stable communities,” according to Mr Campbell.

“These are essential elements to unleashing the power of the private sector.

In light of these and other inherent difficulties in the current approach, ICC has urged parties to the UN Framework Convention to pursue a fresh approach on climate change, promoting global participation, addressing climate risks in the context of development priorities, and encouraging more rapid use of existing and future technologies.