As governments and businesses gear up for the COP21 global climate talks in a few weeks, countries and industry alike are setting ambitious goals to help achieve a low-carbon economy. Or not: the US Senate voted yesterday to block the Clean Power Plan. US Senate aside, here are some highlights leading up to the Paris climate deal.
Following the US Senate’s resolutions to cripple the power plant carbon rule, the White House promptly announced President Obama would veto the resolutions. Today, speaking to some of the world’s biggest companies at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Manila, Obama said a climate deal in Paris will benefit bottom lines by creating new investment opportunities in clean technology, Bloomberg reports. “An ambitious agreement in Paris will prompt investors to invest in clean energy technologies because they will understand that the world is committed” to a clean energy future, Obama said.
Also today, the British government announced plans to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025 and restrict their use by 2023. “It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50-year-old coal-fired power stations,” Amber Rudd, the minister for energy and climate change, said in a statement.
With an eye to Paris, the US Green Building Council has joined with other councils around the world to advance the green building sector by 2030 and achieve by 2050 two major goals: net-zero-carbon new building in addition to energy efficiency and deep refurbishment of existing stock. For the first time, COP will feature a Buildings Day to highlight the importance of green buildings as a critical piece of the climate change response. USGBC, in the next five years, commits to scaling up to support certification of a projected over 5 billion square feet of green building with LEED and EDGE.
And Kering today published its 2014 Group Environmental Profit and Loss Account (E P&L) results as well as a tool other firms can use to measure and value the impacts on the environment resulting from the business activities across the entire supply chain and its resulting cost to society. The metrics analyzed include direct operations and supply chains, from raw materials through to manufacturing, and include greenhouse gas emissions, water use, water and air pollution, waste production and land use changes. “Ahead of COP21, it is essential that businesses share solutions that can help reduce our collective impact on the environment and replenish our natural resources,” says François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering.