Civil society & business reactions to Paris climate agreement

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Article
15 December 2015

Human Rights Watch reaction

Author: Katharina Rall, Human Rights Watch

"Dispatches: Climate Pact Recognizes Rights, Now the Work Begins"

…[T]he ultimate goal of this agreement is…to protect the most vulnerable people who are and will be most affected by the effects of climate change…[A] global agreement on climate change explicitly addresses some of these concerns. In its preamble, the new climate pact acknowledges “that climate change is a common concern of humankind” and that parties should “respect, promote and consider” human rights…[R]eiterating the importance of human rights in the response to climate change marks a shift in the understanding of climate change and the way that it needs to be confronted…[T]he integration of human rights into the agreement had been under fire…Only a strong push from civil society organizations…in support of the language saved the reference to human rights…As governments implement the agreement…efforts need to be made to ensure that marginalized populations participate in planning, that rights are respected, and that there is transparency and accountability…

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Article
15 December 2015

What Climate Change Means for Business Before and After Paris

Author: Sarah Cliffe, Harvard Business Review (USA)

…We checked in with H[arvard Business School] professor Forest Reinhardt, co-chair of the school’s Global Energy Seminar, for a backgrounder on how business people are thinking about sustainability…[Y]ou should never underestimate the actions that individual companies take in their own interests, but which also have positive social effects…[A]s China, India, and dozens of other countries become more prosperous, their citizens put pressure on their governments to pay more attention to the environment…[A] lot of the big sustainability issues…come down to pricing—putting a price on natural resources that we used to see as free…We’re…still subsidizing the oil and gas industries…But collectively we’ve just taken a big step toward addressing that…When people talk about “corporate social responsibility” they might be talking about either of two things. One is the purpose of the firm…A second question is how business people…can contribute to solving social problems and still make money…[Also refers to Heineken.]

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Article
14 December 2015

COP21: Business leaders react to UN climate deal

Author: Alex Pashley, Climate Home (UK)

Businesses and industry groups have given their seal of approval for a new global warming accord hailed as signalling the end of the fossil fuel era:

  • Jim Kim, President, World Bank Group “…[T]he historic agreement…leaves no one behind…sends the…signal to trigger the massive sums of…investments needed to drive economies toward a carbon neutral world…”…
  • Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business “…The Paris Agreement will turn the…investment we’ve seen so far into the trillions the world needs to bring clean energy and prosperity to all...”…
  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever “…The result is an unequivocal signal to the business and financial communities, one that will drive real change...”
  • Ignacio Galan, CEO, Iberdrola…“Efforts now must be focused on the implementation of the agreement…”…
  • John Danilovich, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce “…This agreement will give business and investors the long-term certainty needed to scale up innovation and investment in climate solutions…”

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Article
14 December 2015

Global Reporting Initiative statement

Author: Global Reporting Initiative

"The COP21 Paris Agreement: GRI Witnesses This Historic Landmark"

...GRI was present in Paris to witness the intense negotiations leading up to what is now being hailed as the most historic agreement for the future of our planet…Four essential elements for success…Transparency, measuring and reporting are central to this global agreement…Within the agreement, all governments must measure and track the implementation of their Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs)…The Paris agreement is not only about carbon…Although the main focus is on greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation, this is embedded within a broad sustainability context, with an eye for common but differentiated responsibilities…The role of business and other non-party actors is more central than in any other UN agreement…GRI welcomes the commitment to finance in the Paris agreement, for nations to build clean, resilient futures…Now that the Paris agreement has been made, the work for us all really begins. Solutions to the climate challenge will require innovations in sustainability…

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Article
14 December 2015

Greenpeace blog

Author: Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace

"COP21: shows the end of fossil fuels is near, we must speed its coming", 14 Dec 2015

…There’s much in this deal that frustrates and disappoints me, but it still puts the fossil fuel industry squarely on the wrong side of history. Parts of this deal have been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new temperature limit of 1.5 degrees…The transition away from fossil fuels is inevitable…When it comes to forcing real, meaningful action, Paris fails to meet the moment...There is also not enough in this deal for the nations and people on the frontlines of climate change…To pull us free of fossil fuels we are going to need to mobilise in ever greater numbers…We will push our beautifully simple solution to climate change - 100% renewable energy for all - and make sure it is heard and embraced…Finally, we will stand with those communities on the front lines of this struggle…

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Article
12 December 2015

350.org statement

Author: May Boeve, 350.org

"The Paris Agreement, and What the Future Holds", 12 Dec 2015

…The deal in Paris includes an agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, with an aim of 1.5 degrees, and…will require phasing out fossil fuels soon after mid-century. That’s not what we hoped for, but it’s still a deal that sends a signal that it’s time to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and for investors to cut their ties with coal, oil and gas by divesting…If followed to the letter, the agreement leaves far too many people exposed to the violence of rising seas, stronger storms and deeper drought. It leaves too many loopholes to avoid serious action…Paris isn’t the end of the story…Now, it’s up to us to strengthen these promises, make sure they are kept…Without pressure from ordinary people, world leaders would have gladly ignored this problem entirely. It’s pressure from people that will close the gap between what was signed today and the action we need…

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Article
12 December 2015

B Team statement

Author: B Team

"Business Leaders Welcome Historic Global Climate Agreement"

Today, in Paris, world leaders signed the Paris Climate Agreement. We applaud governments of the world for achieving an historic and ambitious agreement to address climate change and shift the world toward a thriving, clean and just economy…This sends a clear market signal to all companies and investors that governments and citizens of the world are demanding that the global economy achieves net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century…The business community is poised to work in partnership with governments and civil society to ensure its effective implementation. We now have the ability to unlock trillions of dollars of capital to transition towards a thriving clean energy future…We have the tools, resources and technology to accelerate the transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050…Solving climate change is fundamentally about upholding the rights of people around the world…[Also refers to Kering, Safaricom, Salesforce, Unilever, and Virgin Group.]

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Article
12 December 2015

CARE Intl. statement

Author: Viivi Erkkilä, CARE International

"Historic climate deal has not saved the world, but it gives a ray of hope for the world’s poorest people"

…[T]he world reached a landmark moment in the fight against climate change, but it is still not enough for the world’s poorest people, says…CARE International…Philippe Lévêque, Executive Director of CARE France said: “The Paris Agreement gives a ray of hope…but its significance depends on governments’ ability to deliver on the promises made...” Ruth Mitei, Advocacy Advisor CARE International’s Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa said: “…The inclusion of the 1.5°C temperature limit in the agreement is a big win…Now governments must…shift away from fossil fuels...” Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator of CARE International said:…“…Developed countries now leave Paris with an even higher moral obligation to rapidly cut their emissions...”…“Civil society and a broad coalition of countries fought hard to ensure that human rights and gender equality are enshrined in the Paris deal...”…“The next five years are critical for scaling up climate action across the world…”…

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Article
12 December 2015

Center for International Environmental Law statement

Author: Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

"A Powerful Signal but a Weak Agreement in Paris: Global Movement for Climate Action Must Accelerate"

…[G]overnments meeting in Paris sent a clear signal to the fossil fuel industry that its era of unlimited expansion must end…However, in adopting an Agreement long on vision but short on ambition, urgency, or concrete commitments, governments left it to people and markets to provide all three…For the first time ever in an environmental treaty, the Paris Agreement acknowledges that countries should respect and promote human rights in addressing climate change. Countries’ last-minute decision to pull an explicit reference to human rights obligations from the operative text does not lessen their duty to integrate those rights in all aspects of climate action…The Paris Agreement recognizes the critical role of forests in the fight against climate change…Critically, the Agreement incorporates a package on REDD+ and related safeguards…as a policy approach to protect forests…Yet, the parties made no commitments on the scale of the funding for forest conservation efforts…

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Article
12 December 2015

Ceres statement

Author: Peyton Fleming, Ceres

"Ceres and its Business Partners Applaud Historic International Climate Agreement in Paris"

Ceres president Mindy Lubber joined…U.S. investors and business executives today in praising the final international climate change agreement announced tonight in Paris. The historic agreement includes unprecedented GHG-reducing commitments from 186 countries…a binding commitment to limit global temperature rise to well under 2 degrees Celsius…and a long-term goal of achieving peak global emissions as soon as possible…Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk…[said] “Given the global reach of the agreement and the follow-up mechanisms behind it, I’m confident we could see trillions…pouring into the low-carbon economy worldwide every year…We must all collectively hold ourselves accountable for bringing this agreement to life.”…"We applaud this historic agreement, which we hope will not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also incentivize innovation and support sustainable growth for business,” said Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer and VP, Innovation Accelerator, at NIKE, Inc…[Also refers to PG&E Corporation.]

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