Businesses, states, regions and cities declare climate leadership in Australia

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5 November 2015

LONDON: A dozen leading Australian companies have committed to climate action at the Australian Climate Leadership Summit today, signaling a robust business shift toward a low carbon economy in the country and supported by local sub-national governments.

The companies, including top banks and energy providers, have endorsed a total of 39 climate commitments, including adopting a science-based emissions reduction target, putting a price on carbon and procuring 100% electricity from renewable sources.

The initiative, hosted by CDP, is an action of the We Mean Business coalition and backed by the French government ahead of the crucial COP21 climate talks, which begin at the end of this month in Paris. Such commitments suggest Australian businesses are ready to back an ambitious global climate deal, in which all nations must agree a pathway to reduce global emissions.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

Businesses are increasingly recognizing how shifting to a low carbon economy is the only sensible way to stay competitive in the market. During Climate Week NYC last year, The Climate Group convened top companies around the world to launch the RE100 initiative, to encourage and support businesses switching to 100% renewable energy.

Investing in renewable power makes complete business sense,” confirmed Steve HowardChief Sustainability OfficerIKEA Group in September.

Image: Andy Vesey, CEO of AGL Energy, Australia’s largest carbon emitter, speaking at the Australian Climate Leadership Summit

SUB-NATIONAL LEADERSHIP

But tackling climate change is not just the business world’s responsibility. At the Summit this week, several city councils – including Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne – joined the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest coalition of city leaders committed to tackle climate change. To date, the signatories represent nearly 270 million people.

“This support reinforces our commitment to helping Australian businesses share success stories and drive significant action on climate change,” said Clover Moore, Lord Mayor, City of Sydney. “By showing leadership and working together, we can make a real difference.”

At this year’s Climate Week NYC, The Climate Group’s Compact of States and Regions announced a partnership with the Compact of Mayors to build a more coherent profile of climate efforts at the sub-national level. The Compact of States and Regions is the first-ever single, global account of greenhouse gas reduction targets made by state and regional governments

South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory are part of the Compact of States and Regions, which now counts 44 governments around the world, equaling 12.5% of the global economy and representing 325 million citizens.

Australian states are proving climate action leads to greater accountability and protection for both citizens and businesses, providing an example for central government to follow.

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