Peter Bakker: Long term goal, five-year review and carbon price - the three things business wants from Paris

Ilario D'Amato
6 December 2015

Peter Bakker, President of the WBCSD

PARIS: The Climate Group’s digital channel Climate TV interviews Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), to gauge his reactions to progress in the negotiating rooms at COP21, and what businesses like those he works with want to see from a global climate deal by the end of next week.

“Business must take the lead in identifying and scaling up solutions that will transform the economies into a low carbon economy. All businesses in the world by now know the climate is changing, the science is undisputable,” says Pete Bakker.

“Risk in companies and global supply chains has increased significantly, and the technology that will move us to a low carbon economy has been identified. What we haven’t done properly yet is [plan] how do we scale up the implementation of these technologies, which is where business has a key role to play.”

Commenting on the ongoing negotiations in Paris, Peter Bakker says ‘non-state actors' are having a much bigger impact on international climate talks than ever before. “It’s too early to say what is going on in the negotiating room. The big win we have this year that started last year in Lima is that businesses, cites, the non-state actors, are much more involved in the conference itself. Many business leaders and mayors have been invited in the COP venue, so there is lots of momentum there."

More specifically outlining what business wants from COP21, Peter Bakker asserts it is three clear asks: “The business community is by now almost unanimous in its ask for Paris. First is to give us a clear long term target; the words are less important than the clarity and ambition level."

“The second thing we need is what we call a five year review process.” Peter Bakker explains that while countries have submitted their climate targets, or INDCs, businesses have also publicly made their own climate commitments. “Let’s all review progress toward these targets every five years and as we succeed let’s increase targets."

The third ask from business to COP21 according to the President is putting a price on carbon. “If we want to make the transition to a low carbon economy well and fast, we need to put a price on carbon.”

Pointing to the We Mean Business coalition, which The Climate Group and WBCSD are founding members of, Peter Bakker says thousands of companies are now asking for these three actions to scale up the transition to low carbon, and "hopefully negotiators will take this into consideration".

He reiterates simply: “What we need from this agreement is a clear, long term goal, a review mechanism to make sure we’re on track every five years, and the economic incentive of a carbon price. If those three are put in place, more businesses and financial institutes will join and we will actually be able to successfully move to a low carbon economy.”

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