COP15: World Business Leaders Must Set Example Against Climate Change

In December, world leaders will converge on Copenhagen to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012. Leading up to the new agreement governing global action on climate change, the World Business Summit on Climate Change kicked off yesterday in Copenhagen to bring together business and science leaders for a three-day conference.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the opening session of the World Business Summit on Climate Change to take action immediately, saying, "As business leaders, you must make it clear that doing the right thing for the climate is also the smart thing for global competitiveness and long-term prosperity," he said. "We may never get a better opportunity. And if the world's scientists are right, we may not get a second chance."

Organized by six of the most influential business initiatives on climate change including 3C (Combat Climate Change), the Climate Group, the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Economic Forum and the Copenhagen Climate Council, the summit is intended to encourage business leaders to create a global economy that is "cleaner, greener and more sustainable, Ban told 700 attendees from the world's business community that "climate change is the defining challenge of our time."

Citing a recent study, Ban said that rising greenhouse gas emissions could lead to a five percent drop in global Gross Domestic Product. He also cited projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that it could cost as little as 0.1 percent of global GDP annually until 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safer levels.

Nobel Peace Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore told the delegates, "We hear the voices of the next generation now. They are ready for us to meet this challenge. They will live in the world shaped by the decisions are made in Copenhagen less than seven months from now. And those decisions in turn will be shaped by the advice and deliberations of the world's business community gathered here in Copenhagen this week."

Today, the UN will put out a "Copenhagen Call" appealing to the international private sector to use its power to raise awareness of climate change. Ban Ki-moon went on to insist that big business must mobilize employees, partners and associates and demand quick action to find ways to combat climate change issues.

"Your customers and your shareholders will reward you," said secretary-general Ban, "and your children will thank you one day."

 Read the six action items in the "Copenhagen Call".
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