The future of environmental policies: Paris COP21 begins

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The climate conference can also boost the circular economy. 200 Italian companies ask Italy to do its best.

The UNO COP21 climate conference just began in Paris, where heavy antiterrorism measures are still on. 147 heads of state and 40 thousand delegates are expected to participate. The main point in the agenda: global environmental policies.

The meeting could have revolutionary results, and business companies regard it as a fundamental moment that will decide the future of the environment as well as that of the global economy. This is why 200 small, medium and large Italian enterprises have submitted an appeal for the achievement of an effective climate agreement to the Italian minister for the environment, Gian Luca Galletti.

The climate appeal was launched by the Green Economy National Council, which consists of 64 organisations of green enterprises, and it was signed by several important companies, among which ER Renew, Poste Italiane, Terna, Gse, Barilla, Carlsberg, BioChemtex, Ferrovie dello Stato, Novamont, Philips Italia, Unilever Italia, and l’Oréal Italia. The appeal contains proposals to help fight the global warming, such as a fiscal reform including a carbon tax; the incentivisation of energy efficiency innovations; the development of renewable energies; the support of high quality agriculture; and of course, the request for the Paris meeting to adopt binding targets.

Gian Luca Galletti, the Italian minister for the environment, declared: “The engagement of so many prestigious Italian enterprises strengthens Italy’s and Europe’s position in the negotiations of Paris COP21. The virtuous and ambitious agreement achieved last October in the EU puts us in the position of being the promoters of a global agreement which strongly depends on the engagement of business companies towards a new development model. This document, which I am proud to take to Paris, shows that our enterprises, an example of excellence and talent in the field of environmental protection, are ready to take on the challenge of the circular economy.”

“Today, climate policies are what we need to fight the environmental crisis, a serious issue that could become catastrophic – affirmed Edo Ronchi, the President of the Foundation for sustainable development that supports the activities of the Green Economy National Council – Climate policies also offer us the opportunity to relaunch innovation and new investments, which means new jobs and development chances. The appeal of this important group of Italian companies confirms that the climate challenge nowadays is not just an issue concerning a minority, but rather demands the awareness and the active participation of the entrepreneurial world.”

In detail, these are the proposals of the appeal for an effective global climate agreement:

  • To strengthen the national measures for mitigation and adaptation, considering that Italy is particularly exposed to the impact of climate change;
  • To adopt legally binding targets as a result of the Paris Conference: these targets should be equally distributed among the participating countries and should aim at limiting the temperature increase below the “security threshold” of 2°C (according to the UNFCCC report, with the voluntary contributions offered until now, the temperature increase would be no less than 3°C);
  • To promote a serious tax reform that considers the real cost of CO2, through the introduction of some form of carbon tax and other carbon pricing systems. At the same time, the reform should ease the tax burden on work and business companies, and cancel the incentives that are harmful for the environment, such as the 510 billion dollar subsidies granted worldwide for the use of fossil sources, that could be better used for green purposes;
  • To develop the huge potential of effective energy efficiency innovations in all fields, starting with mobility, industry and constructions;
  • To promote the use of renewable sources, avoiding measures such as the ones adopted in Italy, which caused a drop of the production of electric power from renewable sources from 11,000 to less than 700 MW/year between 2011 an 2014;
  • To support the strategic role of agriculture for what concerns mitigation and adaptation, and to support the positive potential of eco-innovation, in particular innovation aimed at the circular economy, in order to help reduce carbon emissions with a higher resource use efficiency.

Not only Italian companies took on this cause: over the past few days, the CEOs of 79 big multinationals from Brazil, China, Europe (for Italy, the CEO of Enel), India and United States have signed a document in which they asked the world leaders to do their best effort in Paris to achieve “an ambitious climate agreement”. On their part, they undertook to adopt solutions for the reduction of carbon emissions.

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