Focus on possible trade ramifications of actions to curb warming
Cancun, Mexico and New York, N.Y., December 9, 2010 — As governments struggle to make progress at the UN climate change talks in Cancun, business groups from the leading economies have put forward recommendations on various aspects of a possible global agreement to curb global warming, according to the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which spearheaded the talks.
The Business Major Economies Forum (BizMEF), which groups top business federations from the G20 and other major nations, held talks in Cancun yesterday. Business leaders reviewed the current state of negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and determined where their initial position papers were most applicable to the state of talks at COP 16 as well as ongoing discussions in the Major Economies Forum, which groups the governments of the top emitters of greenhouse gases worldwide.
“BizMEF is unique in including business voices from both developed and developing countries,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “Indeed, both India and China sent business federation representatives to our meeting yesterday. We had a chance to present BizMEF to government representatives from the United States, the European Union, Germany, Canada and Denmark at the ensuing luncheon. We are seeking to open a channel of communications between BizMEF and MEF proper, to support their initiatives, and to inform their deliberations with the business community’s perspectives on the state of play in major markets.”
The BizMEF meeting was co-chaired by Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s Vice President for Energy and Environment, and Michael Basurto of the Mexican federation IDEAS. Brian Flannery, Science, Strategy and Programs Manager with Exxon Mobil Corporation and co-chair of USCIB’s International Energy Group, briefed the gathering on prospects for post-2012 negotiations in the four areas covered by the BizMEF papers: technology; markets; measuring, reporting and verification; and low-carbon pathways. In addition, the BizMEF website was officially launched at majoreconomiesbusinessforum.com.
USCIB was a founding member of BizMEF, which commenced its work in February 2009 at a meeting in Copenhagen. BizMEF members include leading national industry federations, including USCIB and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Also among BizMEF’s participating organizations are major multisectoral industry federations including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), USCIB’s affiliate under whose banner businesses from around the world are attending the UN climate talks in Cancun.
Implications for trade
USCIB’s Mr. Robinson also spoke at a meeting in Cancun today organized by the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development. He warned that a failure by governments to agree on binding rules to address global warming could have serious fall-out in the area of international trade.
“One issue that will have a direct impact on options for addressing climate change is the issue of competitiveness. If left unaddressed, this could cause an absolute train wreck, upending both efforts to address climate change and the urgent need to leverage trade and markets for economic development.”
Mr. Robinson said that, with national legislators under increasing pressure to protect industries and jobs, there is increasing danger of a collision between climate change and trade regimes. He appealed to UN negotiators to reaffirm and respect existing language in the UNFCCC calling for the avoidance of actions to combat climate change that arbitrarily or unjustifiably restrict international trade. He also called for the resumption of holding parallel meetings of national trade and environment ministers in concert with the COPs.
“Business and government have a common interest in ensuring the smooth and successful operation of markets to support both environmental improvements and economic development,” said Mr. Robinson. “Therefore, both the public and the private sectors will need to cooperate closely to ensure their activities work in concert.”
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, 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 at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
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