Last Thursday The Financial Times, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article which set out possible economic benefits that could be achieved by increasing the EU’s target of 20% to a more ambitious 30%. Ministers of the UK, Germany and France laid out their visions for simultaneously increasing those targets and achieving better results for businesses.
This week, there was a positive response from companies, many of them well-known brands like Asda, Barilla, BT, Deutsche Telecom, Lloyds Banking Group, Nestle, Philips, Skai, Tesco, Thames Water and Vodafone. Sector leader such as Acciona, Allianz, Beluga Shipping, Centrica, Otto Group and Kingfisher also showed support for moves towards higher GHG emission targets. Altogether 27 business leaders agreed that the EU can have higher impacts on carbon price and deliver the strong signals that will be necessary for companies to invest billions of Euros in low carbon products, services, technologies and infrastructure.
The European Commission presented analyses of cost and benefits for the increase of emissions reduction as compared to 1990 levels in May already, and found that since 2008 the absolute cost of meeting the 20% target has decreased from EUR70 billion to EUR48 billion per year by 2020. Further more, the EU has said that it will move to a higher target if other major economies will also take a fair share of the efforts and pledge these commitments under a global climate change agreement.
Last week, ministers of Germany, France and the U.K. called for the EU to slash previous targets in a move to avoid falling behind in this global race towards sustainable economies and green technologies. In the future, only those that are able to deal with this new situation will be successful, and ultimately only those will survive. In fact, as was presented in the Financial Times, the move to a higher target would not be much more difficult than sticking to current ones, but at the same time push Europe again at the forefront of development. On the other hand, if Europe misses its chance now, countries such as China, Japan or the US will take over in the race to create a more attractive environment for low-carbon investment.
The pleasing response from businesses shows that today it’s an accepted fact that the future is a low-carbon society, with many opportunities for those that manage to establish themselves as leaders of a new economy. This is a chance for Europe to take leadership and help rebuild the international momentum towards an ambitious, robust and equitable global deal on climate change, leaders agreed. The letter, an initiative of The , can be viewed as another milestone for businesses, governments and civil society addressing the most pressing global challenge. Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL)
The positive aspect is that change is accelerating now; Germany has really started to take up on the case now, and with the major countries Germany, France and the U.K. taking the lead Europe will be able to take advantage and offer opportunities for innovative firms and technologies.