WARSAW: Sensing that government alone won’t be able to usher in climate change breakthroughs, the UN climate bodies on Tuesday launched a first-of-its kind-platform, where chief executives of major MNCs will join top government officials to share solutions, commitments and plans towards feasible action at the ongoing green talks which may end up as a robust deal in Paris in 2015.
India is also one of the participants at the inaugural Caring for Climate Business Forum, where it is being represented by Tata Cleantech Capital.
Though this attempt is seen as a step to involve private sector in co-creation of climate change solutions, profile of participating companies, including Dow Chemicals, will surely raise an eyebrow across the developing world, including India.
Dow currently owns Union Carbide, the company responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. Although Dow did not have any ownership in Union Carbide until 16 years after the Bhopal tragedy, its presence at any such forum always creates flutters in India.
The Forum is a joint initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat and UN Environment Programme. All Caring For Climate signatories, including companies participating in the forum, are first and foremost required to be signatories of the UN Global Compact.
It is expected that the CEOs of the participating companies will, during their two-day meet, showcase to diplomats, policymakers and world leaders the contributions that business and investors are making towards climate action.
Seriousness of such effort may be known later as currently this move is being debated: whether it is merely an instrument of rich nations, led by the US, to emphasize on market-based mechanism to deal with climate change that has been responsible for several natural disasters across the globe.
“COP (Conference of Parties) 19 is a pivotal moment to both step up and showcase climate action,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of UNFCCC.
“Businesses must be heard, leveraged and invited to develop scalable climate change solutions to drive climate action. This can create the political space for more ambition in the UN climate process, which as part of a virtuous cycle can in turn catalyze more business action,” she said.
The UNFCCC claimed that the Forum will showcase some of the most innovative commitments and solutions for climate change from businesses, including plans by world’s largest furniture retailer Ikea to use 100% renewable energy by 2020, and a new global framework by Dow to mitigate the footprint of large-scale events and help produce the first carbon neutral Olympic Games.
Dow’s participation as one of the sponsors of 2012 London Olympics was resisted vehemently by India. New Delhi had even wanted that the company be dropped as sponsor of the London Games because of its links to the Bhopal tragedy.
) had, however, rejected Indian demand, arguing that the Dow Chemicals neither owned nor operated the plant at the time of the Bhopal gas leak disaster.
The two-day Business Forum will conclude here with a report-back segment and a formal announcement of new commitments to action.
( Originally published on Nov 19, 2013 )