In December 2015, the United Nations concluded what was possibly the most important environmental meeting in history, when 194 countries agreed to a long-term climate treaty designed to curb global greenhouse gas emissions. The climate negotiations in Paris (COP21) saw unprecedented support and involvement from the business community, with USCIB and member companies on the ground at COP21 to demonstrate their commitment and stake in the accord.
Thanks to sustained advocacy from USCIB and other business organizations, the final climate agreement recognizes the need for policy frameworks to foster investment in greener technology, as well as policies necessary to mobilize business innovation across all borders. Innovation, enabling frameworks for cost effective and scientifically sound policy design, and the need to work with business in partnerships are priorities for USCIB’s ongoing involvement in UN environmental work.
One of the most contentious issues during the COP21 negotiations revolved around intellectual property rights (IPRs), as some countries and activists sought to frame IPRs as a barrier to the spread of green technologies. USCIB and other business organizations on the ground at COP21 successfully prevented the framing of IPRs as a barrier to environmental growth. In fact, the climate agreement makes no reference to intellectual property, which was one of the business community’s primary objectives going into the climate negotiations.
Looking ahead, we expect to see a shift of UN discussions towards elaboration, implementation and tracking of country climate pledges. The private sector will be a central participant, and there will be many opportunities for the U.S. business community to contribute to these global endeavors with the right enabling frameworks, and with recognized options for business involvement. USCIB and its members are ready to demonstrate what we are ready to bring to this global effort, and look forward to working with governments, the UN community and society as a whole.
Please see our Annual Report for more information on USCIB’s work in Sustainable Development.