Authored by Jen Austin, Policy Director at the We Mean Business coalition, on behalf of signatories

At the UN Climate Conference in Poland (COP24), the thousands of leading businesses, investors, cities, states and regions collectively working towards a zero-carbon future have made an urgent call on policy makers involved in the negotiations to deliver the bold outcomes required to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement.

The businesses, cities, states and regions – or non-state actors – are highlighting in a statement how critical it is that policymakers agree at the negotiations to take ambitious climate action, in order to accelerate the transition to zero-carbon across the entire global economy. A strong outcome from COP24 would give the clear policy signals needed to allow the investment and long-term planning required for rapid progress.   

“Ambitious policies at all levels of governments, complementing and reinforcing each other, are necessary to ensure the decarbonization of economy and society,” the statement said. 

The statement highlighted the urgency of a strong outcome, given the clear signal from the latest IPCC 1.5°C report that net-zero emissions by 2050 is both necessary and possible to achieve the goals of Paris Agreement.

“The urgency of acting on climate action has never been clearer. According to the IPCC, keeping global temperatures to 1.5°C of warming will require rapid and far-reaching transformations in all sectors, particularly in cities. Mayors around the world are hearing this alarm bell and acting decisively to reach emission neutrality by 2050, like Oslo which will achieve 95% emission reduction by 2030,” said Lan Marie Berg, Vice Mayor of Oslo.  

“Today we unite our voices with businesses, investors and regions to call on national governments to be as ambitious as us, and make COP24 deliver the decisions needed to stay on course with the 1.5°C trajectory.”

A just transition to a resilient, zero-carbon future will have many benefits for our economies and societies, the non-state actors added.  

According to the New Climate Economy, the zero carbon economy has the potential to generate economic benefits of $26 trillion, avoid over 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution, and create over 65 million new low-carbon jobs by 2030.    

“The transition to a low-carbon economy has a big potential for job creation. A pragmatic example can be found in the naval shipyards that have managed to reinvent themselves by constructing different components of offshore wind power plants. The search for novel, imaginative and synergistic solutions is crucial,” said Carlos Sallé, Senior Vice-President of Energy Policies and Climate Change at Iberdrola.

The statement, which is signed by a host of organizations representing businesses, investors, cities, states and regions, calls on parties at COP24 to:

  • Welcome and accept the findings of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathway;
  • Adopt an ambitious decision that includes a clear commitment from countries to launch domestic multi-stakeholder participatory processes, drawing on the Talanoa Dialogue, that will enable the communication of strengthened new or updated NDCs by 2020;
  • Develop and communicate as early as possible, robust long-term plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 to inform these and subsequent NDC revisions;
  • Stress that a just transition to a resilient, zero-carbon future will have many benefits for economies and societies, and trigger the creation of millions of new low carbon quality jobs
  • Adopt a robust and effective Paris Agreement Work Programme that will provide clarity and transparency on countries’ plans and progress, to build confidence among parties and non-party actors in the effective implementation of NDCs, and help drive ambition and action for years to come

​​​​​​​Read the full declaration here. 

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