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Press release: Business and subnational leaders call for long-term climate plans

last modified Aug 02, 2017 10:48 AM
16 November 2016, Marrakech, Morocco – Business and subnational leaders today called on governments to start planning for long-term climate strategies now in order to unlock the investments needed for the transition to a zero carbon economy.

2050 strategies needed now to support more immediate goals

Speaking at a press briefing organised by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and We Mean Business at the COP22 climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, representatives of leading global corporations and major subnational governments highlighted the importance for countries to develop plans with a 2050 horizon as a necessary complement to their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

The Paris Agreement invites countries to develop mid-century plans. Germany was the first to present its long-term strategy earlier this week and other announcements are expected at COP22.

Laurence Tubiana, French Ambassador for Climate Negotiations and Global Climate Action Champion, said:

“The ambitious goals adopted in the Paris Agreement set us on an irresistible pathway towards a net-zero carbon world. As we now turn to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, we need to focus on how we get there. This means that governments should develop their mid-century strategies. Without a plan for the long term, you can’t judge what a good strategy is today. This is a new and ambitious effort that will require the participation of all, not only governments, but also business, regions, cities and other non-state actors. Having a plan doesn’t make it all, but not having one is a recipe for failure.”

These new, science-based, longer term national strategies will give business a clear framework on which to plan future investments.

Thomas Lingard, Climate Advocacy & Sustainability Strategy Director at Unilever, a member of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders group, said:

“Business needs a long-term pathway to fully embrace the opportunities offered by a low carbon world. Unilever understands the business case for climate action and, as part of our Sustainable Living Plan, we have committed to become carbon positive in our operations by 2030, supporting the generation of more renewable energy than we consume. Corporate leaders are ready to work closely with policymakers to help develop 2050 climate strategies. What we need from governments are clear long-term policy frameworks to accelerate the delivery of our commitments."

Today The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group launched a new report detailing what business friendly long-term plans could look like. ‘Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies’ highlights the importance of long-term policy planning to deliver the vision of the Paris Agreement.

Eliot Whittington, Deputy Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, said:

“Setting out a credible, comprehensive, flexible long-term plan for your economy offers countries the opportunity to create an investment prospectus that can unleash even more business energy behind a zero carbon transition. To make sense such long-term plans needs to deliver on the 2°C goal while taking into account adaptation and sustainable development needs. They should also be flexible enough to enable, support and respond to innovation without trying to predict the future. Finally, to be credible with business, long-term plans need broad political support and should be developed through transparent and accountable processes.”

The Under2 Coalition, an ambitious network of states, regions and cities committed to limit their GHG emissions by 80–95 per cent on 1990 levels, or to 2 metric tons CO2-equivalent per capita, by 2050, is leading efforts to promote long-term deep decarbonisation at the subnational level.

Ken Alex, Senior Advisor to Governor Brown of California, who initiated the Under2 Coalition, said:

“The Under2 Coalition now represents over 165 sub national jurisdictions around the world across all continents, and 35 per cent of world GDP. A key area of our work is to support each other in developing decarbonisation pathways to 2050. California and other sub-nationals around the world will continue, individually and collectively, to be the leading edge of climate action.”

Teresa Ribera, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), a think tank that manages the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, said:

"Going through radical transformation is not an easy task but we need it. At IDDRI we have learnt how developing deep decarbonisation pathways is one of the best ways to provide a sound basis for an informed dialogue on how to combine measures to achieve the goal. I’m personally convinced that we will not succeed unless we develop instruments to support a well-informed and participatory decision-making process. We are building our common future, and that’s not a technical issue but a politically and socially sensitive one.”


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Watch the press briefing.

Read the report ‘Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies’.

Media contacts

For more information, to arrange interviews with participants and receive an advance copy of the report ‘Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies,’ please contact:

Sylvain Biville, The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group

+44 7771 894345 |  

Deborah McSkimming, We Mean Business      

+212 6 53 99 65 33 (Morocco) | +44 7391 512090 |

About The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group

The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) brings together 24 European businesses employing 2 million people worldwide, who work under the patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to advocate solutions on climate change to policymakers and business peers within the EU and globally. The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) provides the secretariat to the CLG.

Read more about CLG’s activities at COP22

Follow the CLG on Twitter @ClimateCLG

About We Mean Business

We Mean Business is a coalition of organisations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors. These businesses recognise that the transition to a low carbon economy is the only way to secure sustainable economic growth and prosperity for all. To accelerate this transition, we have formed a common platform to amplify the business voice, catalyse bold climate action by all, and promote smart policy frameworks. The CLG is a founding member of We Mean Business.

Follow We Mean Business on Twitter @WMBtweets