Can We Accelerate Momentum to Fight Climate Change? A Call for Lighthouse Projects

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Can We Accelerate Momentum to Fight Climate Change? A Call for Lighthouse Projects

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Can we accelerate momentum to fight climate change? A call for Lighthouse Projects

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 10:45am

CAMPAIGN: Corporate Governance

CONTENT: Article

By Thomas Kerr, Director, Climate Change Initiatives 

(World Economic Forum) — Climate change is today a clear and present danger.  Last year, the cost of weather-related disasters in the United States alone was over US$ 110 billion. By 2030, the cost of climate change and air pollution combined is estimated to rise to 3.2% of global GDP, with the world’s least-developed countries expected to bear the brunt, suffering losses of up to 11% of their GDP.[1]  It is also evident that things will get far worse if the world stays on the current emissions trajectory. The World Bank’s recent Turn Down the Heat report warned starkly that business as usual development will result in a four degrees Celsius temperature rise by the end of the century, and we will live in a world marked by intense heat-waves, life-threatening sea level rise, and extreme weather.

Last December’s UN climate talks in Qatar saw small but important steps towards a comprehensive 2015 climate agreement with a new Green Climate Fund that aims to mobilize US$ 100 billion annually by 2020.  However, it is clear that the scope and scale of ambition must be stepped up so that the world has a chance of staying below the agreed maximum temperature rise of two degrees Celsius. This requires concerted and mutually reinforcing action across the international negotiations, national legislation and business action.

Given the urgency of the environmental challenge and the limitations many governments face in creating change at scale, coalitions of business, governments, international organisations and civil society organisations are advancing a new partnership agenda. A number of substantive, bottom-up initiatives are delivering innovation—and climate finance—where it is critically needed. Attracting and scaling up private sector investment in climate-friendly growth is a particular area of focus and innovation.  The UN Global Compact, United Nations Environment Programme and the UNFCCC are leading the Caring for Climate Initiative, aimed at advancing the role of business in addressing climate change.  Long-term investors—a critical group—are also stepping up their efforts through the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change, which will host its first high-level meeting this June.  And the Green Growth Action Alliance was launched at last year’s G20 with the goal of unlocking private investment in green growth. These groups are already driving change through demonstrations of proof of concept and providing global best practices.

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Keywords: climate change | sustainability

CAMPAIGN: Corporate Governance

CONTENT: Article

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