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Companies warn Trump over need for low-carbon economy

Published 16/11/2016

Donald Trump has been urged to back the Paris Agreement
Donald Trump has been urged to back the Paris Agreement

Top international companies have warned US President-elect Donald Trump that failing to build a low-carbon economy will put prosperity at risk.

More than 360 businesses and investors, including Nike, Mars, Unilever, Kellogg Company, Starbucks and L'Oreal USA, issued a statement of support for the Paris Agreement, the world's first comprehensive treaty on tackling climate change.

Concerns have been raised that Mr Trump's presidency could derail international efforts to drive down the greenhouse gas emissions behind rising global temperatures.

He has previously labelled climate change as a hoax by the Chinese, promised to pull out of the Paris Agreement, which entered into force earlier this month, and boost US coal.

The treaty commits countries to take action to limit temperature rises to "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to keep them to 1.5C, which would require cutting emissions to net-zero in the second half of the century.

A statement released by businesses, as countries meet for the latest round of United Nations climate talks in Morocco, focused on implementing the Paris Agreement and called for action to continue the shift to a low-carbon economy.

The call comes from companies ranging from major firms to small, family-owned businesses across more than 35 US states.

They called for American leaders including the president-elect to continue low-carbon policies to allow the US to meet its commitments to cut emissions, and increase the country's future ambition.

The statement also urged leaders to continue i nvestment in the low-carbon economy at home and abroad, to give clarity to investors and boost confidence worldwide.

And there should be c ontinued US participation in the Paris Agreement, in order to provide the long-term direction needed to keep global temperature rise below 2C, they urged.

The statement said: " Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement will enable and encourage businesses and investors to turn the billions of dollars in existing low-carbon investments into the trillions of dollars the world needs to bring clean energy prosperity to all.

"Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk."

Barry Parkin, from Mars Incorporated, said: "It is vital that the business community demonstrates its ongoing commitment to tackling climate change.

"This is an important moment in global political and economic history, and we absolutely must come together to solve the immense challenges facing the planet.

"Climate change, water scarcity and deforestation are serious threats to society. It is imperative that global businesses, like Mars, do their part to face down those threats."

Lara Birkes, chief sustainability officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said: "The Paris Agreement was a vital step forward, but its power is in our collective action.

"Business and government leaders must urgently work together to drive a thriving, low-carbon economy."

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