Azara Blog: Chief executives demand action on climate change

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Date published: 2005/05/27

The BBC says:

A group of Britain's leading industrialists has written to the prime minister urgently demanding long-term policies to combat climate change.

The heads of the 12 leading firms say climate change is a huge challenge that needs serious investment by business.

But they say they cannot invest because they are not sure what future government policies on climate will be.

The letter is signed off by the heads of BP, Shell, HSBC Bank, BAA, John Lewis, Scottish Power and more.

Between them the firms employ tens of thousands of people and have a turnover of £452bn.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) successfully lobbied against proposed cuts last year. They said the measure would harm British business.

The Department of Trade and Industry and the prime minister have so far been backing the position of the CBI.

But in their letter the business leaders say they believe emissions cuts of 60% can be achieved in the UK without damaging competitiveness if firms use energy more wisely and harness new technology.

They believe measures to hold CO2 emissions to a safe level would reduce economic growth by no more than 2% by 2050.

They say bold policy action could actually boost Britain's profits by making the UK a world leader in low carbon technology.

The group say some of the technologies to achieve this goal already exist but need to be developed. Some are yet to be invented.

They point to a study showing that even if the UK starts seriously developing the market for zero emissions cars now, total emissions from cars will not start to fall until 2040.

The business leaders demand that the government establishes a long-term value for carbon emissions reductions and consistently supports and provides incentives for the development of new technologies.

Well that's one for the history books. You can ignore what so-called environmentalists say since they always claim it is the end of the world, and have zero experience actually doing anything (except writing Word documents and marketing their end-of-the-world hysteria). But business leaders have to be treated seriously. Of course big business loves nothing better than certainty, and a "level" playing field, so perhaps this letter is not that surprising. Especially given that they make the usual pleading for subsidies from government (now there is a surprise). And it's amazing that anyone can talk about the impact of measures in 2050 claiming that they know that the effect on economic growth of their (vague) proposals is exactly 2%. One should read this letter as a PR exercise from businesses keen to imply they are good citizens. Apparently Blair effectively asked for this letter to be written so he could cover his back side when he makes low carbon proposals. Needless to say, it will not be CEOs or Blair or so-called environmentalists who suffer from any such proposals. It will be the ordinary workers of Britain.

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