Christiana Figueres, outgoing executive secretary of the UNFCCC, has said that businesses and governments must now have “more frank discussions” on climate issues if environmental targets are to be met.
Speaking on the opening day of this week’s Business and Climate Summit in London, Figueres said that the one thing she felt was necessary for environmental targets outlined at last year’s COP21 summit in Paris was closer collaboration between businesses and governments.
Figueres said that the COP summits “can’t help anymore” and have served their purpose, adding that the duty had now transitioned from ministers for the environment and foreign affairs and that sectoral ministers, such as those for transport, energy, business and finance, now “hold the lever”.
“Business has done an extraordinary amount [on climate change], but to go farther and further we do need policies to be able to stand up to what governments have said in their INDCs,” she said.
Her stance was backed by Michel Madelain, vice chairman at Moody’s Investors Service, who joined her on the panel discussing what the Paris Agreement means for business.
Madelain said that more visibility was needed over how much time it would take governments to transition policy pledges into “actionable investment plans”.
However Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO at Michelin, said that for country targets to be met action needed to extend beyond businesses and towards changes made by individual citizens of each country.
“Nothing will be done without business…but we’re now talking about a change in lifestyle, in energy habits, in culture,” he said.