Thursday, February 22, 2007

Multi-Interest Group Issues Global Framework For Climate Action

Feb 20: The Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC), a group of companies and organizations from around the world has issued what they say is a bold post-Kyoto framework for affecting change at the levels of policy and industry, particularly in regard to creating sustainable energy systems necessary for achieving economic growth. The statement entitled, The Path to Climate Sustainability: A Joint Statement by the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, endorsed by Allianz, Bayer, Citigroup, DuPont, General Electric, Volvo, and many others; calls on governments to set scientifically informed targets for greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The agreement also urges governments to place a price on carbon emissions and to set forth policies aimed at addressing energy efficiency and de-carbonization in all sectors.

Calling climate change "an urgent problem," the statement lays out a proactive framework for global action to mitigate risks and impacts while also meeting the global need for energy, economic growth and sustainable development. It outlines cost-effective technologies that exist today and others that could be developed and deployed to improve energy efficiency and help reduce CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases in major sectors of the global economy. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Chair of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University said, "Leaders from key economic sectors and regions of the world have reached a consensus on the path forward to reduce human-made climate change. This initiative points the way to an urgently needed global framework for action. I congratulate the Roundtable signatories, and thank them for their bold leadership and contribution to global progress on this critical issue."

According to a release, the Climate Change Statement released has received endorsements from critical stakeholders and independent experts including leading corporations from all economic sectors; smaller firms with very different perspectives and concerns; an array of civil, religious, environmental, research and educational institutions; and a distinguished list of world-leading experts from the fields of climate science, engineering, economics and policy studies.

One key signatory, U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), plans to present the Joint Statement to Congress as a possible point of action on curbing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Senator Snowe said, “The Global Roundtable on Climate Change Statement is a vital tool to help all nations shape sound public climate change policy, and, as a participant in the Roundtable, I am acting as a conduit for getting the Joint Statement before the U.S. Congress to assist it in coalescing around and adopting scientifically informed and cost effective targets to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. must engage with a significant level of commitment so that the world’s largest emerging economies will participate in adopting a global strategy."

Some of the signatories include Air France, Alcoa, Allianz, American Electric Power, Bayer, China Renewable Energy Industry Association, Citigroup, DuPont, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, ENDESA, Eni, Eskom, FPL Group, General Electric, Iberdrola, ING, Interface, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Munich Re, NRG Energy, Patagonia, Ricoh, Rolls Royce, Stora Enso North America, Suntech Power, Swiss Re, Vattenfall, Volvo, World Council of Churches, World Petroleum Council, and many others.

Since 2004, the diverse members of the GROCC, an initiative of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, has convened more than 100 high-level stakeholders and experts twice a year to explore areas of potential consensus regarding core scientific, technological, and economic issues critical to shaping public policies on climate change. The Joint Statement is an outcome of these dialogues, and was built on careful discussion over the past three years.

The statement specifically calls on governments to set scientifically informed targets for global GHG concentrations, including ambitious but achievable interim goals for CO2, and to take immediate action in pursuit of those targets; to develop mechanisms that place a price on carbon emissions that is reasonably consistent internationally and across sectors in order to reward efficiency and emission avoidance and encourage innovation; establish policy initiatives to address energy efficiency and de-carbonization in all sectors; encourage the development and rapid deployment of low-emitting and zero-emitting energy and transportation technologies; and provide incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and harmful land management practices; as well as other related actions.

Access a lengthy release (click here). Access an Executive Summary of the Statement (click here). Access the complete 26-page statement which includes the complete list of signers from industry, institutions, and individual leaders from Business, Civil Society, Government, and Research Institutions (click here). Access the NextGenerationEarth website where individuals can sign the Climate Statement of Principles (click here). Access the GROCC website (click here). Access the Earth Institute website (click here). [*Climate]