Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, told the organization’s 10th anniversary conference in London that, in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) call to accelerate investment in clean technologies, it was working with companies on a range of new initiatives to scale up climate finance, develop low carbon business models, and help governments replicate proven emissions reduction policies. He unveiled plans to recruit more companies to commit to a 100 percent renewables target by 2020, a new smart homes initiative, a programme to enable access to clean energy in rural India, accelerating the take-up of LED street lighting across cities, a major summit in China to promote networking among global cleantech businesses, and working with the UN Secretary General on a series of events around September’s Climate Summit in New York.
The Climate Group – launched exactly 10 years ago to work with businesses and governments to promote the positive business case around clean energy and technology – said the IPCC’s call for a ‘clean revolution’ was within reach. “About 80 percent of the energy, technology, finance and policy needed to make the transition to a low carbon economy is already in place,” said Mark Kenber. “We need to focus on scaling up and replicating the proven solutions. It’s a no-brainer for any smart business or political leader. The global clean tech market is already worth over US$2.5 trillion, and will grow to more than US$5 trillion in size within the next 10 years – about the same as the GDP of Germany and France combined.”
Speaking at the first major international conference of business and political leaders since the publication of the IPCC Working Group III report, UK Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Rt Hon Ed Davey MP, said that businesses were key to delivering emissions reductions before a new global treaty comes into force. He said: “As The Climate Group has consistently demonstrated, there is a huge business opportunity for those who grasp the green mantle. For a business to gamble that climate change won’t happen just doesn’t make commercial sense. No boardroom worth its salt can avoid making the long-term risk assessments climate change threats require.”
Addressing the audience via video, the First Minister of Scotland, Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, highlighted that global corporations were investing in Scotland and transforming it into a world-leading hub of wave, tidal and offshore wind energy. He said: “Our renewable energy targets aren’t just good for the environment, they’re good for the economy. They provide certainty for business and investors. Billions of pounds are being invested in infrastructure, and thousands of jobs are being created.”
In spite of the federal government’s current stance, the Premier of South Australia, Hon Jay Weatherill MP, announced that his state government was hitting its 2020 renewable energy target of 33 percent six years early, and that the state’s GDP had jumped 65 percent since it had decided to adopt the goal of building a low carbon economy. He stated: “Since 2003, there has been $5.5 billion in investment in renewable energy with some $2 billion, or 40 percent, occurring in regional areas.”
Suresh Prabhu, Ex-Federal Cabinet Minister of Industry, Energy, Environment and Forests, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Heavy Industry & Public Enterprises, Government of India, said: “When it comes to the impacts of climate change, millions of people across India are already being affected. In our efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, protect our livelihoods and people, India needs to take a proactive leadership role. There is incredible potential for India to become a hub for low carbon initiatives that will create jobs, lift people out of poverty, and increase access to education and health services for millions of Indians.”
Richard Kinley, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) told the conference: “This moment is our opportunity to create the future we want and need. The Paris agreement needs business and subnational government to show without doubt that the transition is doable, and the solutions are better than the problem. Clearly Paris needs you, but what is also clear is that you need Paris. We must inspire each other to act, to be bold and ambitious.”
The Climate Group is an award-winning, international non-profit. Our goal is a prosperous, low carbon future.