The Climate Group at COP25 – Helen Clarkson, CEO of international non-profit, The Climate Group

By Helen Clarkson, CEO at The Climate Group
Reading time: 2 minutes
4 December 2019

Businesses around the world are sending a strong signal to policymakers that more ambitious climate targets can be met – and now we need governments to take note.

This is something that we’re unmistakeably seeing through our corporate leadership initiatives on renewable electricity (RE100), electric vehicles (EV100) and energy productivity (EP100).

Leading corporations that are part of our RE100 initiative with CDP are increasingly using their purchasing power and influence to transform electricity systems at scale. Our latest RE100 Progress and Insights Annual Report, which tracks the progress of more than 200 member companies toward 100% renewable electricity, shows that one in three are already over 75% toward their goal. The biggest issue now faced by these multinationals is that in a small number of markets unfavorable policy and market structures are keeping renewable electricity prices higher, making it harder to switch. China, Russia, Argentina, Japan, Australia, India, Republic of Korea and the US were named as most problematic. We know the problem, and national governments have the solution.

Members of EV100 were delighted by the announcement in July that the initiative now has an International Ambassador: the UK government. With COP26 being hosted in Glasgow, and a key theme set to be transport, the partnership is designed to showcase mutual interests in international uptake of electric vehicles. Through the wide network of UK embassies, the EV100 initiative has already started to reach new markets and engage with more businesses. This level of support from a national government is a gamechanger; I will be discussing what businesses need from policymakers with two EV100 members and a UK government representative at COP in the UK pavilion on Monday 9 December.

Energy efficiency could enable the world to achieve more than 40% of the emissions cuts needed to keep global temperature rises to 1.5°C. EP100, delivered in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy, brings together major companies, who are committed to improving their energy productivity. To date, they have avoided using over 730 terawatt-hours of energy – more than twice the UK’s annual electricity consumption – and since joining EP100 have delivered more than US$131m in cost savings. Yet while these businesses are indicating demand at scale, regulatory and policy uncertainty have also been indicated as barriers to action, highlighting the important role of governments in accelerating energy productivity across the private sector. From appliance standards and buildings codes to financial incentives and programs, there are many policy tools to mandate or incentivize companies to become more energy efficient and we need to see these being implemented.

The next ten years will be the Climate Decade – the decade in which we must halve emissions to be in with a fighting chance at limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

To policymakers working on NDCs in the next few months, I say to you: we’ve shown the demand. It’s time for you to play your part.

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