In letter to president, USCIB urges ambitious agreement, support for innovation
New York, N.Y., December 4, 2009 – As nations prepare to gather in Copenhagen for crucial global climate talks, a leading U.S. industry group said the Obama administration’s leadership has put an ambitious and workable agreement within reach.
In a letter to President Obama, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s top global companies, said it believes the administration’s leadership over the past year “has made a difference.“
USCIB’s president and CEO, Peter M. Robinson, wrote: “The innovative and collaborative approaches of the United States have been instrumental in progress made” since the 2007 climate conference in Bali, which set the stage for the final push toward a post-2012 global framework on climate change.
Mr. Robinson wrote that U.S. leadership had moved the UN climate talks forward in areas that are central to U.S. business objectives. These include obtaining an inclusive global agreement with action by all major emitting nations, support for intellectual property rights to speed the development of new technologies, and “robust and ambitious national strategies” to address global warming.
The statement came as business representatives from around the world prepare to converge on the Copenhagen talks. USCIB’s global affiliate, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), is once again coordinating business and industry representation. Mr. Robinson will lead a delegation of USCIB members attending the conference.
ICC yesterday released the results of a survey indicating upbeat business expectations for a future, greener global economy. Depending on their region, between 60 and 78 percent of industry experts surveyed around the world agreed that the transition to a low carbon economy would bring new opportunities to businesses in addition to cost reductions.
In its letter to President Obama, USCIB identified financing as a critical element in the negotiations. “From a business perspective, the available funding mechanisms relevant to climate change have been slow, narrow in scope and difficult to access,” the letter stated. USCIB said it had offered concrete suggestions to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on how public funding options could be shaped to increase their effectiveness, and to create synergies with private finance.
“In many cases, the most effective use of public finance will be to leverage and enable action by the private sector,” stated Ann Condon, director of environmental health and safety with General Electric and chair of USCIB’s Environment Committee. “It should also seek to lower some of the risks associated with business activities and investments, particularly in developing countries or in connection with new technologies.”
The pro-trade group also said that post-Copenhagen negotiations “should engage business as much as possible, and far more than in the past.” USCIB said it hopes to see the creation of more effective ways for UN negotiators to benefit from American business expertise “through opportunities to collaboratively define mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and effective policies to promote them.”
USCIB promotes international engagement and prudent regulation in support of open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of the economy, and with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, VP Communications, USCIB
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