Global Business Must Be United in Pushing for an Ambitious Climate Change Deal

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Matt Grainger, Head of Media, Oxfam International, tel +44(0)1865-339128, cell +44(0)7730-680837, matt.grainger@oxfaminternational.org

Global Business Must Be United in Pushing for an Ambitious Climate Change Deal

WASHINGTON - Big business is
maneuvering to increase its influence on international climate change
negotiations which could make the difference between an ambitious UN
deal in December and a fatally flawed one, says international agency
Oxfam.

Two influential international business lobby groups will issue
separate and, Oxfam fears, potentially contradictory calls today (Sept
22), the day President Obama gives a key speech in New York on climate
change.

Oxfam today publishes a paper called 'Now or Never - Climate change: time to get down to business'
showing how companies must help to tackle climate change. Oxfam
believes that climate change is today’s biggest threat facing poor
people and human development.

“It is in business interests to lead the fight against climate
change, to protect their supply chains, drive new technologies and
stimulate jobs. Business can help to unblock these talks by calling
with one voice for ambitious emission cuts and sufficient investment in
adaptation and clean technology,” said Oxfam International executive
director Jeremy Hobbs.

In separate initiatives this week, the Corporate Leaders Group – led
by the Prince of Wales – will present its “Copenhagen Communiqué” to UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in New York on Sept 22, signed by around
500 companies including eBay, BSkyB, BT, Starbucks, Nike and Coca-Cola.
Oxfam welcomes the group’s statement that calls for global warming to be limited to 2°C and 50-85% carbon emission cuts by 2050. It also acknowledges the need for interim targets and climate financing. Oxfam says that up to $150 billion a year must be mobilized for developing countries, additional to aid.

At the same time as the Corporate Leaders Group meeting, the US
Chamber of Commerce is inviting similar business lobby groups from the
G8 “major economies forum”, such as the Australia Industry Group and
UK’s Confederation of British Industries, to a meeting in Washington
D.C. on Sept 21-22. US oil company ExxonMobil and vocal opponents of
climate change action in the US Congress will address the meeting.
Oxfam warns that this initiative could muddy the water by supporting a
much less ambitious deal or no deal at all.

“Both in the US and EU, some business interests lobbied hard to
water down crucial climate legislation. Now eyes are turning to
Copenhagen and the global deal, we urge big business to be united in
pushing for a fair and safe deal. Contradictory business messages at
this stage could be extremely damaging to prospects of a deal in
Copenhagen,” Hobbs said.

Oxfam says that companies need to do more to cut their absolute
emissions and to develop new technologies to help developing countries
tackle climate change. “Companies can reduce their emissions even as
they prosper and grow. Big business must see a global deal as providing
opportunities for low-carbon growth, rather than a threat to their
entrenched interests that must be resisted,” Hobbs said.

Companies are already way off-track in reducing their emissions
enough to ensure global warming stays below 2°C. The world’s top 100
companies are only reducing emissions by 1.9% per annum – they need to
be at 3.9%, according to a recent report by the Carbon Disclosure
Project. At current rates, they will be 39 years too late in reaching
the scientific targets that give the world the greatest chance of
avoiding dangerous climate change.

“Some companies are blazing the trail in tackling climate change,
going far further than today’s political rhetoric and showing it is
possible to slash carbon emissions and prosper. But they are the
enlightened minority. It is time for big business to step up,” Hobbs
said.

Download our 'Briefing for Business no3: 'Now or Never - Climate change: time to get down to business'

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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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