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Green Business After COP26

New global agreements notwithstanding, the world remains woefully behind in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions at the rate necessary to prevent catastrophic climate-change scenarios. Businesses are increasingly embracing the green challenge, but they need policymakers to meet them halfway.

POTSDAM – What is next on the global climate agenda? This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow certainly did not fail, but nor was it much of a success. While world leaders entered into some promising new agreements on targets, global greenhouse-gas emissions so far are not being reduced at the pace we need. And while some countries’ climate pledges have been strengthened, the lack of concrete measures for achieving them is a real worry. We still see a yawning policy gap.

Climate science clearly shows that future prosperity and equity lies in only one direction: toward a nature-positive, zero-carbon global economy. Between this year’s extreme weather events and the razor-sharp, science-based messages in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report, we do not need any more confirmation of the facts. The world is facing massive threats to biodiversity and nature. To remain on track to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, we must reduce emissions significantly before 2030.

Many policymakers continue to drag their feet, voicing concerns that climate action will burden businesses. But many top business leaders are increasingly putting their companies on a more sustainability-minded course. The vast majority of them have accepted the findings of climate science and moved beyond the phase of doubt and hesitation. This broader trend was clear to see in Glasgow, where senior executives from many of the world’s largest corporations were in attendance.

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