As the world prepares for the pivotal Paris COP21 summit meeting on climate change, the role of innovation – and the proper policies to catalyze the dissemination of greener technologies around the world – is emerging as a critical issue.
USCIB attended the 2nd Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF2) on October 6-7 in Tokyo. ICEF2, convened at the initiative of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, focused on promoting technological innovation as a means to address climate change. The two-day forum brought together 1,000 researchers, business representatives and policymakers from around the globe to present a broad range of innovative technologies, and discuss what innovative measures should be developed, how the innovation should be promoted, and how cooperation and public private partnership should be enhanced.
USCIB, as part of the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF), worked with the Japanese business organization, Keidanren, to attract business participation, and ensure private sector views were reflected.
USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson was invited to address the ICEF2 Plenary. Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for environment, energy and strategic international engagement also attended the Tokyo meetings. Robinson stressed the importance of strengthened enabling frameworks for innovation in the global marketplace – in policy, markets and institutions, both inside and outside the United Nations. In particular, a successful outcome in the UN climate negotiations would demonstrate work in synergy with trade, markets and intellectual property right protection.
Robinson emphasized that a successful UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) implementation for greenhouse gas reduction and societal adaptation and resilience would need to rely on innovation from business, across every sector and from multiple energy sources, in both developed and developing countries, from companies large and small.
At another ICEF2 session on business engagement, Robinson spoke about institutional evolution underway in the UNFCCC, which has changed significantly in the 20 years since its inception, especially in its interactions with business and other stakeholders.
Robinson said: “The challenge in Paris at COP21 is how to also reflect and integrate these non-state actor resources – in other words, can the Paris outcomes promote institutional innovation that features private sector engagement.”
He commented on the worrying absence of references to business in the current Paris outcome negotiating text, and highlighted the necessity for recognized business involvement in implementation and policy consultation.
While in Tokyo, Robinson also represented U.S. business at the 3rd meeting of the Paris Business Dialogue on technological innovation, convened by Laurence Tubiana, climate envoy, France and Gerard Mestrallet, CEO, Engie.