Copenhagen and New York, N.Y., December 9, 2009 – With some $10 trillion needed to fund improvements in global energy infrastructure by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency, financial measures to spur action on global warming are among the most contentious topics at the UN climate talks. Against this backdrop, a leading U.S. industry group has put forward recommendations to leverage public and private funds for climate adaptation and mitigation.
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents top American multinationals, this week submitted a paper on public and private finance for climate change to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. In a cover letter, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson said that available funding mechanisms for climate change “have been slow, narrow in scope and difficult to access.”
USCIB said the role of public finance should be to leverage private-sector investment in developing nations. “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.”
USCIB’s global affiliate, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), is coordinating business and industry representation at the Copenhagen climate conference. ICC is putting forward its own recommendations to UN negotiators on improving the global financial framework to more effectively tackle climate change. These will be explored at a side event in Copenhagen today. Mr. Robinson and a number of executives from USCIB member companies are attending the climate conference under the ICC umbrella.
“The private sector responds to specific signals,” noted Mr. Robinson. “The goal should be to mobilize financial and technological resources in developed nations for deployment in the developing world, primarily through private investment. This means that both home and host countries must implement the appropriate policies and incentives to spur innovation and investment.”
Mr. Robinson said the recent global economic crisis highlighted the need for cooperative international action to develop appropriate policy and financial incentives. “We need to apply those lessons to the climate challenge,” he stated.
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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