BusinessGreen is asking key green business leaders about their personal views on the importance of the climate change talks due to take place in the French capital at the end of this year.
This week we spoke to Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group.
What do you hope to see achieved in Paris?
What's important about Paris is that it provides solid foundations that the international community can build on to prevent dangerous levels of climate change. We need an initial agreement requiring all key emitting nations to start significantly reducing their emissions from 2020 onwards. Allowing for a review of the agreement in the near future, ideally before 2020, will be important so that countries can increase their ambition as the cost of clean energy continues to fall and low-carbon technologies improve.
What do you think will be agreed?
I think there will be an agreement in Paris but it won't be perfect and it's unlikely to initially deliver commitments that will prevent an increase in temperatures of more than 2C compared to pre-industrial levels, the threshold that the scientific community has urged us to avoid breaching. What matters here is that Paris delivers an agreement that moves the agenda sufficiently forward and which can then be reviewed in the near future to allow for an increase in ambition that will take us to the 2C target or very close to it.
How would a Paris deal impact your members?
An agreement in Paris that delivers sufficiently clear emission reduction targets for key emitters would send a very positive market signal to our corporate members. Many of them have increased their investments over the years in low-carbon goods and services and related innovation. A global climate agreement that confirms that the world is unequivocally moving towards a low-carbon economy would increase the attraction of low-carbon investments and provide a further incentive to accelerate the roll out and cost reductions of these goods and services.
Do you think green businesses are making themselves heard?
The business case for the low-carbon economy has never been stronger but as the absence of any mention in the recent UK Summer Budget shows, the sector does not yet occupy the mainstream position in the political and economic debate that it so clearly deserves.
In the UK, recent figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that the low-carbon economy had grown by 25 per cent in turnover between 2010 and 2013, with a value added of £26bn in 2013, roughly equivalent to that of the food and drinks industry. Globally, the latest report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate showed that the global low-carbon goods and services market is already worth $5.5tn. There is no doubt that we are already transitioning towards an efficient and low-carbon world economy and that this sector is key to countries' future growth and competitiveness prospects. It's time for our political leaders to recognise this.
In 240 characters what would your message be to the lead negotiators?
Please don't lose sight of the big picture. An agreement in Paris that delivers an initial step change in global emission cuts and which can then be strengthened in the near future is in the interest of the world economy, global stability, human health and the environment.
Are you going to the Paris summit and how are you getting there?
Many of our members will be going to Paris but we will remain in London focusing on activities following Paris. To be successful, Paris must be a starting point leading to a gradually more ambitious global effort to tackle climate change.
Our focus will therefore be on building positive momentum so that the Paris talks are followed by continued efforts to cut emissions domestically in the UK and that the vital climate diplomacy work done to date by officials in the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is continued as part of international efforts to rapidly implement and develop what is agreed in Paris.