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Over 600 companies call on G20 to halve emissions by 2030, end support for coal power

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on September 30, 2021

Urge governments to redirect spend to keep the 1.5ºC climate goal within reach

Many of the world’s largest companies are among and hundreds of business leaders who have appealed to the G20 to collectively agree to strengthen their national climate targets at the pivotal G20 and COP26 talks.

Following the “code red for humanity” warning recently issued by the UN, the businesses, representing over $2.5 trillion (£1.8 trillion) in revenue and employing more than 8.5 million people worldwide, signed an open letter to the G20 leaders. The signatories, which include Unilever, Netflix, Volvo Cars, Iberdrola and Natura & Co span sectors from power and transport to fashion and construction.

Businesses are urging the world’s biggest economies to deliver on the existing commitment to $100 billion in climate finance annually for developing countries, to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and to put a price on carbon.

“Our businesses recognise the benefits of climate action,” the signatories said in the letter, published a month before G20 leaders meet in Rome, and the COP26 climate talks begin. “The right policy decisions taken today can drive investments and spur business decisions in favour of climate solutions across G20 countries.”

End to coal power

The calls from business leaders was to end new coal power development and financing with plans for phasing out coal-fired power generation by 2030 for advanced economies, and 2040 for other countries.

“It’s essential that governments take confidence from this letter – the biggest and most ambitious call for policy action from business that we’ve seen- and step up their climate action plans,” said María Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, which coordinated the letter.

“Ahead of COP26, countries should renew their national plans and turn them into concrete policies. Decisive government and business action can trigger a transition of our energy system to help build a resilient and carbon-free future.”

The letter, which is open for companies to sign over the coming month, also calls for scaling up electrification of transport and renewable energy across sectors, including removing barriers to corporate purchasing of 100 per cent renewable electricity to “enable companies to go quicker in their clean energy transition.”

Not on track

A recent analysis by the Climate Action Tracker found that no G20 country is currently on track to contain global warming to the 1.5ºC target. G20 countries represent approximately 90 per cent of global GDP and almost 80 per cent of global trade and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Time is running out to keep 1.5 degrees within reach,” said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. The private sector is already taking bold action as the business case for resilient, net-zero economies is crystal clear. Ee can only get there if governments set ambitious climate goals.”

Public finance

The letter called for public finance to align around a1.5ºC trajectory by ensuring that existing public climate finance commitments are met. Alongside this were calls for climate-related financial disclosure of risks, opportunities and impacts to be made mandatory for corporations.

The We Mean Business Coalition is a group of seven non-profit organizations– BSR, The B-Team, CDP, The Climate Group, CERES, Corporate Leaders Group Europe and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development working to catalyze business and policy action to halve emissions by 2030 and accelerate an inclusive transition to a global net-zero economy by 2050.

Published on September 30, 2021

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