UN Climate Agreement in the Balance: Role of Business in Innovation and Investment

Virtual BizMEF Dialogue at COP-26

As the second week of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) was underway in Glasgow, USCIB and its members continued to make the case for outcomes at a critical turning point to enable business investment, energy security and ambitious and cost-effective climate action.

According to USCIB Senior Vice President Norine Kennedy, who is on the ground in Glasgow to lead the USCIB delegation, governments are now negotiating the final crunch issues that include: carbon instruments and markets and completing the Paris Rulebook; increasing finance for developing countries, particularly for adaptation, as well as loss and damage; and transparency and credibility of pledge implementation.

“The UK government serves as the President of the COP26 meeting, and is now leading negotiations to reach conclusions on these and other remaining political matters, with involvement of ministers to break any logjams,” said Kennedy.

Last Friday, November 5, USCIB joined the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) in convening a virtual Business Dialogue at COP26, which included White House, government, the UN, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and business participants. The meeting included thematic sessions on transparency and the global stock-take, involving business for ambition, as well as trade, transition and recovery.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson opened the BizMEF meeting, stating that the UN climate process should evolve to a more practical and inclusive multilateralism in which business is directly and substantively involved.

BizMEF virtual dialogue participants also heard presentations on the business implications and WTO viability of border carbon adjustments proposals, and the ways in which business can contribute to reviews of the effectiveness of overall government implementation of climate pledges – a process that sets the stage for new targets under the Paris Agreement.

Building on the momentum of the BizMEF event, USCIB then held a virtual side event the following Monday, November 8, titled “Mobilize: Infrastructure, Innovation and Investment for a Sustainable Recovery,” which was part of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) virtual COP26 Conference, “Making Climate Action Everyone’s Business.”  Presenters included:

  • Elizabeth Losos, Duke University Nicholas School of Environment
  • Scott Jacobs, CEO Generate Capital and
  • Kristen Siemens, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Motors

Kennedy led the roundtable discussion on how to create enabling frameworks for “shovel worthy” projects with due attention to responsible business behavior, multi-sectoral climate considerations and capacity building.

According to Kennedy, in spite of COVID restrictions, COP26 has become the largest climate meeting in UN history, beginning with a three-day World Leaders Summit, where President Joe Biden and over a dozen Administration Cabinet members were in attendance, alongside other heads of state and CEOs.

Staff Contact:   Kira Yevtukhova

Deputy Director, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 202.617.3160

Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is currently pursuing an MBA at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.
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