As major world governments meet in Paris this month to talk climate, businesses across the globe are stepping up to meet the challenges posed by a warming globe.
As President Barack Obama meets with world leaders in Paris to discuss the ever-present threat of climate change today, the world remains focused on what type of deal major countries will reach regarding the ongoing problem of runaway carbon emissions.
According to a report from NPR, however, it isn’t just governments that have a long month of hard work ahead of them in Paris; business leaders from around the world will meet to discuss what contributions the private sector could make to the effort to address climate change.
The business community will attend the conference in full force, discussing positive solutions to climate issues. The main driver behind our changing climate is greenhouse gas emissions from human economic activity, and many businesses are in a position to make meaningful, lasting changes.
The last conference intended to address climate change took place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 1992, and nations have struggled to meet the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions thus far. Businesses were one of the biggest obstacles to implementing policies that would lead to a drop in greenhouse gas emissions because of the heightened costs of mitigation efforts.
2015 is a different time, however, and businesses have undergone a monumental shift in the way they perceive the effects of a changing climate on their bottom line. In 1992, only 13 people out of 5,500 delegates were representing the business community in Brazil. Today, there are more than 1,000 business representatives currently attending the conference in Paris.
According to Edward Cameron, a representative of We Mean business, a nonprofit that works with companies to address their climate impact, “There are always going to be pockets of agreement and pockets of disagreement. But what I think we see going into Paris is a far greater level of support from the business community writ large and far more willingness to speak out publicly about this.”
Businesses are beginning to realize that a failure to prevent some of the more catastrophic scenarios laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will ultimately hurt them. In other words, the cost of inaction now is greater than the short-term costs of taking steps to reduce environmental impact by as much as possible.
A press release from the United Nations addressing the business community at the conference in Paris can be found here.