Businesses leaders met in Denmark on Sunday to try to unite behind a call for long-term climate policies on oil, power and technology ahead of a U.N. conference in December that aims to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
Many companies want clearer carbon emissions rules to plan investments around the world and capitalise on green technology. Some shareholders also want more climate-friendly business.
“We need a global decision” in December, said Philippe Joubert, president of Alstom Power, the electricity generation arm of the global French engineering firm which makes components for coal, gas and renewable energy power plants.
“We have to address the Chinese, Russian, U.S., the German markets all together,” he said.
The meeting of more than 500 business leaders was expected to call for a clear, long-term price on carbon emissions. Companies reliant on fossil fuels may lose out from measures to boost low-carbon alternatives and want to prepare for that.
Some U.S. authorities have refused coal plant permits on the basis of their future carbon emissions.
“It’s a short-term concern,” Joubert told Reuters, referring to the impact on coal plant financing, adding that Alstom was piloting technologies to cut carbon from fossil fuel plants.
Not all businesses believe that fighting climate change meant higher costs, organisers of the May 24-26 meeting said.
“You hear people saying ‘oh, we can’t agree, it will be bad for our business’. Well, here is a business voice that doesn’t think so,” said Tim Flannery, an Australian scientist and chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council, among organisers of the talks to be addressed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December aims to agree a treaty to fight global for after 2012 when the terms of the Kyoto Protocol expire.
The World Business Summit on Climate Change brought together top executives from energy and technologies companies as well as political leaders.
Many searched for signs that the worst of recession was over. A decline in the air cargo freight market following the financial crisis had probably hit bottom, the head of the International Air Transport Association told Reuters on Sunday.
“I would say, looking at the numbers, that it has hit bottom,” the global association’s Director General, Giovanni Bisignani, told Reuters, adding that the aviation industry wanted a global approach to fighting climate change.
Environment experts and lobbyists say “green” spending in national recovery plans can help re-build a leaner economy run on wind and solar power and avoid a future climate crisis and energy crunch even worse then the current financial crisis.
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