Al Gore, former US Vice-president, and Connie Hedegaard: "Don't let those who cling to the past succeed in stalling sensible climate policies!"
"2011 has been an extraordinary year with abundant examples of extreme weather and climatic disruptions. Many people in Northern Europe – Britain, Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium – have seen roads closed and their basements flooded due to exceptional rainfalls, several countries in Central and Southern Europe have issued heat wave alarms. The US has experienced ten billion dollar disasters, Japan experienced the wettest August ever, central regions in China have suffered the worst drought for 50 years, and, at the Horn of Africa, millions are suffering from a famine which in part is caused by a prolonged and unusual drought.
It is clear now that the 90 million tons of pollution that we are emitting every day is already influencing the earth's climate system. The extreme weather events follow the pattern scientists have warned us about for years: increasingly extreme temperatures and weather events caused by the warming of the atmosphere. In short, climate change is not a future scenario. It is a reality.
In recent years, progress has been made in the international negotiations. But we are still far from a solution to the climate challenge. An ambitious and truly global agreement is still needed to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Although the pace of the international process is frustratingly slow, an international deal must be pursued. The advantages of a single global framework instead of numerous national ones are clear--not least for business.
Across the world companies large and small are increasingly acknowledging the importance of addressing the climate challenge and realizing that providing the solutions makes good business sense. A recent report showed that 68 percent of the world's largest companies have put climate and energy efficiency at the heart of their business model and that since 2005, companies with a strategic focus on climate change have provided their investors with a total return twice the size of the average Global 500.
Our call to the growing majority of global businesses is this: don't let those who cling to the past succeed in stalling sensible climate policies and joint international efforts to tackle this key challenge of the 21st century. Voice your support for progress in the international negotiations and ask of your business partners and political representatives that they become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Demand that they face reality and contribute to protecting our natural heritage for our children and grandchildren."