Irish business leaders call for strong COP21 agreement

Companies pledge to take action on climate change, including reducing emissions

 Minister for the Environment  Alan Kelly receiving the climate change pledges from  Aebhric McGibney,  Dublin Chamber of Commerce; Pat Barry, Irish Green Building Council; Brian O’Kennedy,  CDP Ireland; Aideen O’Hara,  ISI; and Lorraine Fitzgerald,  Business in the Community Ireland

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly receiving the climate change pledges from Aebhric McGibney, Dublin Chamber of Commerce; Pat Barry, Irish Green Building Council; Brian O’Kennedy, CDP Ireland; Aideen O’Hara, ISI; and Lorraine Fitzgerald, Business in the Community Ireland

 

Business leaders in Ireland have come together to urge politicians attending the COP21 global summit in Paris to reach a robust agreement on climate change.

Approximately 40,000 delegates from 195 countries, along with heads of state such as US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, are attending the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) summit this week.

The gathering is the first in which some 180 countries, that together account for about 90 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, have pledged to take action aimed at tackling global warming. However, the pledge is not legally binding and there are fears that the summit could end without a satisfactory outcome being reached that would signal a break with a rising reliance on fossil fuels, blamed by a UN panel of scientists for causing an increase in floods, heat waves and rising sea levels globally.

Some of Ireland’s leading companies joined forces on Friday to urge delegates at the gathering to agree to take strong action on climate change.

Senior industry figures here say such a move would enable a smooth transition to a low carbon economy and in the process could lead to the creation of more jobs.

Deloitte Ireland, Marks & Spencer, Musgrave Group, Ricoh Ireland, Roadbridge, Sodexo Ireland, SSE Airtricity, Transdev Ireland and Veolia are among the companies that have signed the ‘COP21 Commitment and call for action from Irish Business Leaders’ which calls for strong policy and regulatory certainty through a sound global agreement in Paris.

The pledges include action by Irish companies to reduce emissions, increase low-carbon investments and deploy more clean energy in the coming years. The pledges have been collected via a coalition consisting of the CDP Ireland Network ‘We Mean Business’ Coalition, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC), Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the International Sustainability & Investment Centre (ISI Centre).

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly was presented with the pledges on Friday. He welcomed the commitment from Irish business leaders and said the need to address climate change and reduce harmful emissions had become a priority for Ireland.