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Blair says clear pathway needed for business to take action on climate change

Date
13 December 2009

Tony Blair BTCD speechThe Rt Hon Tony Blair told members of the Danish and international press that the ingredients for a global agreement on climate change were already on the table, but added that reaching an agreement was urgent, so that the private sector, the major transformer of a low carbon future, gets the direction it needs to invest.

"We need to move from campaign mode and into practical policy," Mr. Blair said. "We need to  go all out for an agreement. There is the basis for an agreement there," he also said. "We need to fret less about precise percentages, get as ambitious a deal as we can and focus absolutely on a realistic framework."

The former UK Prime Minister cited several practical solutions outlined in the report, that would provide the necessary underpinnings for a global pact. He was speaking midday to reporters from Reuters, the Associated Press, Bloomberg Television and CNBC.

Responding to a question on the current discussion under the UNFCC framework negotiations, to provide $10 billion in aid to help developing countries invest in clean technology, Mr. Blair said there is an immediate need to use these funds to address deforestation, which he said represents 20% of global emissions. "We need to work on it quickly. It could make a big difference," he said.  Mr. Blair also highlighted that the funds are needed  to help these countries invest in energy-efficient technologies, from more efficient motors to cleaner fuels, another strategy close at hand to significantly curb emissions.

Addressing a question on whether developed countries would invest $100 billion, the full amount seen necessary to help developing countries ramp up these investments, Mr. Blair said: "In The Climate Group report, we are recommending a review process," which he said would help the world meet this goal. Such a review he said would allow for an assessment to take account of future developments in climate science and clean technology:

"Right now, it is difficult for the developed world to make those commitments. However, we have built in a process for a review. I think you will get that commitment in the years to come. "

Mr. Blair underscored that a set of guidelines within a global climate agreement was absolutely essential to give business the necessary clarity to invest. He added: "The only way to get this to work is once business and industry start to make investments in smart grids and a new generation of nuclear (energy), in solar power. It'll be business and industry that makes this happen, that makes this investment.

"In the end, if you get the right framework, the private sector ends up changing the economy," he also said.

When asked what business should do to help the world meet its climate goals, Mr Blair said, "Provided with a realistic deal which sets a new direction, business will get behind it. Renewable energy, smart grids, and electric vehicles they will spend sums on these if you get a deal out of Copenhagen. Business will get behind that."

Click here to read the new Breaking the Climate Deadlock report in full.

Click here to read the news release on the launch of the new report. 

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