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Shell and Unilever lead call for trillion tonne emissions cap

trillion tonne

A coalition of businesses are calling for governments to implement strong climate policies to cap emissions at 1 trillion tonnes. Creative Commons: 2009

Leading global companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, BT and Adidas have called on governments to cap cumulative carbon emissions below 1 trillion metric tonnes, in a bid to contain rising temperatures.

Over 70 companies from across five continents – accounting for a combined turnover of $90 billion – have signed the ‘Trillion Tonne Communiqué’, representing a growing call from businesses for governments to tackle climate change.

Eliot Whittington, Deputy Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said:

This communiqué sends a clear message from business at a critical time, when events in the Ukraine have refocused global attention on energy security, and just as the scientific consensus reminds us all of the imperative of collective action.

They are demanding a “rapid and focused response” to the threat of rising carbon emissions and the “disruptive climate impacts” associated with their growth.

Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer at BT said:

We need to get beyond the concept that progressive climate change policy is bad for business: it can be a huge driver of innovation and create opportunities for growth and prosperity. Conversely, there isn’t an organisation I know of which isn’t already being impacted by climate change at some level. Collective responsibility across governments, business and civic society is vital to ensure the world is on track for net zero emissions before the end of the century.

The Communiqué coincides with negotiations on the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change whose scientists have previously warned the world needs to limit its cumulative carbon emissions to a trillion tonnes to stay below governments’ internationally agreed threshold of a 2ºC temperature rise.

Over half of this has already been emitted and, at current rates, the world is on course to pass the trillion tonne mark in less than 30 years, with potentially devastating climate impacts.

The Communiqué wants governments to set a timeline for achieving net zero emissions before the end of the century and to ensure the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015 does not end up a missed opportunity in realising this goal.

Talking in London yesterday, Unilever CEO, Paul Polman insisted that tackling climate change will deliver “a better future for us all“.

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